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The Twins bullpen is certified bad at this point and outside help seems like a long shot. The Twins have been trying a lot of the same arms in relief but the time may be coming soon to try some new names. Here are 3 internal arms that could make a big impact in the bullpen.

 

Shaun Anderson

Anderson was acquired by the Twins for LaMonte Wade Jr. this winter because of their excess of fringe outfield types. He has some control and command issues with over 4 BB/9 in his short MLB career but the stuff is there. He posted a 10.5 K/9 in 2020 for San Francisco along with a 3.52 ERA in 15 innings. It seems the Twins are already at the point of giving Anderson some run considering he pitched two innings on Wednesday in Chicago and they have yet to option him again. He gave up four hits and four runs (one earned) but struck out three and only walked one which was encouraging.

Anderson obviously already has a 40 man spot and while he has options left, it’s easy to argue that his mid 90s fastball and biting slider are deserving of an extended look with how the rest of the bullpen has performed. He may be sent down in a pinch if the Twins need a fresh arm, but if the Twins let him settle in and find some consistency he could easily pitch himself in some important innings. 

Yennier Cano

Fellow TwinsDaily contributor Steve says all you need to know right here. Cano was signed as an international free agent out of Cuba a few years back and is already 27 years old. He has very limited minor league experience, only throwing 20 2/3 innings so far but he’s been nothing short of dominant out of the bullpen at the AA level. On Wednesday night he even threw an immaculate inning and has allowed one run in 5 2/3 innings on the season with 11 Ks and no walks so far.

At 27 years old, Cano is already approaching the prime of his baseball career. He brings a mid 90s fastball with a nasty slider and a splitter to go along with it. As far back as 2019 shortly after he signed there was a question as to whether Cano would shoot up to the MLB squad that very season because of his advanced skills. He quite simply doesn’t have a ton of time to slow cook in the minor leagues and his raw stuff alone may be deserving of a look at this point.

Dakota Chalmers

Chalmers was acquired from Oakland in the Fernando Rodney trade. The Twins have tried to develop Chalmers as a starter so far despite injury troubles and some control issues (never posted a BB rate below 12.4%). For many pitchers, such a history points to them not being long for the rotation, and plenty of these arms wind up having effective careers in the bullpen. His nasty stuff doesn’t hurt his chances either, as Chalmers has posted a 33%+ K rate in every season since 2017.

Chalmers already has a 40 man spot which is important given the turnover the Twins have already had. It may be a longshot for the Twins to fast track a starting pitching prospect to the majors from AA, especially as a reliever. That being said, Chalmers already being on the 40 man makes the move pretty convenient and such a gamble could pay off big for this struggling group.

Something clearly has to change with the bullpen and I think these three names offer a good variety of risk/reward for the Twins to gamble on. Are there any names you’d want to see brought up? Will any of these names be enough to fix what’s been an unmitigated disaster? Let us know below.

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Shaun did not look good, when you make exceptions in a performance everyone looks good, but he also did not look that good in ST or they would have kept him up.  I believe they wanted to the way they used him.  

Cano is perfect.  At his age the only reason to keep him in the minors is because he will always be in the minors.  Use his arm now while it has life.  The peak comes and goes quickly.  

Is Chalmers really the third choice?  If these are the top three I am not hopeful.  And no more retreads.  We have already seen how that works this year.  I assume we started with the best and are working down - go no further.  Get fresh young arms into the BP.  And that is not Smeltzer, Dobnak, or Thorpe.  We need better. 

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For what it's worth, Callis, Dykstra and Mayo agree on Chalmers: https://www.mlb.com/news/these-prospects-could-be-future-closers?t=mlb-pipeline-coverage

I think they all make sense for the reasons you describe, but I doubt we see them all at once. For now, Alcala, Colome, Duffey, Robles, Rogers, seem like locks, with Thielbar, Law and Anderson the other three. With their past histories, Duffey and Colome are going to have long leashes, and the latter has started to look better.

With the 17 games in 16 days stretch they are in, I suspect we'll see heavy use of the Light Rail Shuttle. I wish they'd keep either Dobnak or Thorpe around for a time to serve as a true multiple inning reliever. When a starter goes five and they are still in the game, it would be nice to go to one of those and think that they might have a shot at finishing the game. 

Thielbar was so good last year, but with such a small sample in 2020 and his being 34, I suspect he's the next DFA candidate. If he continues to struggle to the point of being cut loose, I think it makes sense to go to Cano next, unless Stashak has bounced back to the point of getting another shot. And of course, an injury speeds up the tryout list.

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Sounds like can only promote to MLB from AAA this year, hope Twins get Cano up to AAA soon. Twins desperately need to develop some of their own pitchers. Cannot rely on FA market every year, there are reasons players are available as FAs. Wes cannot fix everyone. I like a few AAA possibilities, but think ceiling higher for Chalmers, Cano, and Hackimer in AA. 

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21 minutes ago, Vanimal46 said:

I’ll keep banging this drum. Thorpe should be in the bullpen and up on the Twins. 

I’d rather see Shoemaker in the pen and Thorpe in Shoemaker’s rotation spot.

If this team is going to be hot garbage, they should do it using young players in key roles so they know what they have in 2022. 

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6 minutes ago, Brock Beauchamp said:

I’d rather see Shoemaker in the pen and Thorpe in Shoemaker’s rotation spot.

If this team is going to be hot garbage, they should do it using young players in key roles so they know what they have in 2022. 

This is what I want....get experience for some players for 2022......

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12 minutes ago, Brock Beauchamp said:

I’d rather see Shoemaker in the pen and Thorpe in Shoemaker’s rotation spot.

If this team is going to be hot garbage, they should do it using young players in key roles so they know what they have in 2022. 

Couldn't agree more. Move Thorpe into the rotation (or Dobnak) and move Shoemaker to the bullpen.

On the reliever side, how about Andrew Vasquez? He was good in the minors until 2019 and now seems to gotten back to his previous self. He's 27. It's time to see if he can throw at the MLB level. He  would need to be added to the 40 man but my sense is we have some AAAA guys on that roster that we can take a chance with, or we can DFA Cave. 

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9 minutes ago, Brock Beauchamp said:

I’d rather see Shoemaker in the pen and Thorpe in Shoemaker’s rotation spot.

If this team is going to be hot garbage, they should do it using young players in key roles so they know what they have in 2022. 

I’m cool with him getting innings either way. They’ll need to make decisions on Thorpe and Smeltzer who are both out of options next year IIRC. I’d like to find out if either one has the chops to start, or else move them to the pen. 

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12 minutes ago, Vanimal46 said:

I’m cool with him getting innings either way. They’ll need to make decisions on Thorpe and Smeltzer who are both out of options next year IIRC. I’d like to find out if either one has the chops to start, or else move them to the pen. 

Smeltzer to me is an AAAA pitcher, may need to be on a rebuilding club.  Thorpe needs to be here or on the shuttle.  Because of the 40 man spot, Anderson and Chalmers will probably be looked at first.

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16 minutes ago, beckmt said:

Smeltzer to me is an AAAA pitcher, may need to be on a rebuilding club.  Thorpe needs to be here or on the shuttle.  Because of the 40 man spot, Anderson and Chalmers will probably be looked at first.

Smeltzer could be AAAA material, but he’ll continue getting opportunities. He’s blessed with the magical abilities of being left handed and breathing. 

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3 hours ago, Vanimal46 said:

Smeltzer could be AAAA material, but he’ll continue getting opportunities. He’s blessed with the magical abilities of being left handed and breathing. 

We could DFA a few of these lower end relief types and start bringing up the kids, not getting any better quickly

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14 hours ago, 4twinsJA said:

Sounds like can only promote to MLB from AAA this year, hope Twins get Cano up to AAA soon. 

Sounds like this rule is pretty easy to work around — promote them to AAA for one day, then promote to MLB. Even easier for the Twins than most teams, with their AAA club often playing next door to the MLB club.

On Cano, he is intriguing but it doesn’t take much to generate Ks these days — and I imagine that is even easier when you are way older than the other guys at your level. Remember Nik Turley’s crazy K numbers in the minors a few years ago? Still, probably worth pushing to AAA at his age and going from there, but I won’t try to project too much from his minor league K numbers at this point.

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The friggin' pain is the Twins have four arms on the injured list taking up 40-man roster space, and all four will probably NOT pitch in the majors this year (Smeltzer has to be on the bubble for sure when he comes off). 

 

There is not a lot of play on the 40-man unless the Twins start jettisoning outfielders.

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I'm tired of guys with nasty stuff they can't command game in and game out. The coaching state of the art is pretty high and it's getting harder and harder to find gems in someone else's trash pile.

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Guys with command issues generally will not make it in the majors. Cano seems to be the best bet to try. there doesn't seem to be much available around the league but this disaster of a season is a team effort- not just the bullpen blowup.

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9 minutes ago, TopGunn#22 said:

I'd be much more in favor of DFA'ing Shoemaker.  I've seen enough.  Unless he's PERFECT he's practically an HR an inning guy.  Cut bait.  Move on.  

I don't know how much this means but maybe it's possible Shoemaker could be an effective reliever. The first inning is the hardest to get through, as it's the only inning the opposing team can control who bats. And Shoemaker's OPS against tells a pretty damning story of what happens when batters get multiple looks at him in a game. Those OPS against numbers in innings 4-6 are just brutal.

Of course, this could also be statistical noise, but it's enough that I think putting Shoemaker in the pen is worth a shot, if only because it's so hard to be worse than what the Twins have been putting out there in relief this season.

By Inning
Split G IP ER ERA PA AB R H 2B 3B HR SB CS BB SO SO/W BA OBP SLG OPS TB GDP HBP SH SF IBB ROE BAbip tOPS+ sOPS+
1st inning 7 7.0 4 5.14 30 25 4 5 3 0 0 0 0 2 5 2.50 .200 .267 .320 .587 8 0 1 0 2 0 1 .227 39 62
2nd inning 7 7.0 2 2.57 25 23 2 4 0 0 1 1 0 2 4 2.00 .174 .240 .304 .544 7 1 0 0 0 0 0 .167 28 57
3rd inning 7 7.0 3 3.86 31 29 3 7 0 0 2 1 0 2 4 2.00 .241 .290 .448 .739 13 1 0 0 0 0 1 .217 70 101
4th inning 7 5.2 7 11.12 29 26 5 9 2 0 2 1 0 3 4 1.33 .346 .414 .654 1.068 17 0 0 0 0 0 0 .350 145 207
5th inning 5 5.0 3 5.40 22 19 3 6 0 0 2 0 0 2 6 3.00 .316 .381 .632 1.013 12 0 0 1 0 0 0 .364 131 180
6th inning 4 2.1 6 23.14 14 13 6 6 1 0 3 0 0 1 0 0.00 .462 .500 1.231 1.731 16 0 0 0 0 0 0 .300 278 369
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/15/2021.

 

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