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  • Who Will the Twins Closer Be?

    Cody Christie

    In each of the last two seasons, Taylor Rogers has been the team’s primary closer, but his performance suffered through different parts of 2020. Can another pitcher become the team’s saves leader in 2021?

    Image courtesy of © David Berding-USA TODAY Sports

    To be clear, the Twins and manager Rocco Baldelli aren’t going to name a closer. As baseball continues to rethink how bullpens can best be utilized, the Twins are going to look at matchups and put their players in the best opportunities to succeed. That being said, the four players below are the likely candidates to be considered the team’s closer.


    Taylor Rogers, LHP

    Career Saves: 41

    Rogers was one of the most dominant relievers during the 2018 and 2019 seasons as he took over Minnesota’s closer role. Even with struggles last season, his peripheral numbers point to some bad luck leading to his poor performance. His .400 BABIP was over 70 points higher than any other season. Also, his 10.8 SO/9 was his second highest rate of his career. One pitch to keep an eye on is his slider and the results have been good so far this spring. Twins fans can hope he is back to his old self and the rest of the players on this list are used as set-up men leading into Rogers.


    Alex Colome, RHP

    Career Saves: 138

    Chicago’s loss is Minnesota’s gain as Colome has been one of the best relievers in recent years. He has the most saves of any player on the Twins staff and he won’t shy away from a late-inning role. With uncertainly surrounding other players on this list, Colome seems like the natural choice to pick up most of the team’s save opportunities. However, relief pitchers can be fickle and maybe there is a bigger reason the White Sox let him go. His 6.4 SO/9 mark from last year was his lowest total since becoming a full-time reliever. If Wes Johnson can work his magic, Colome has a chance to be the team’s leader in saves.


    Tyler Duffey, RHP

    Career Saves: 1

    Duffey was the team’s best relief pitcher in 2020 and the second half of 2019, but he has been given limited save opportunities. One of the reasons he hasn’t gotten those chance is because he has been so successful being used in a fireman role. Because of the other names on this list, he will likely stay in that role. So far this spring, his velocity has been lower than the team might like, but there is still time to figure it out before the team heads north. If he can’t figure it out, the Twins will have to rely on other arms to take over his important innings.


    Hansel Robels, RHP

    Career Saves: 27

    Robels struggled in 2020 and that’s one of the reasons the Twins were able to sign him for a relatively cheap deal. Back in 2019, he compiled strong numbers as the Angels primary closer with a 2.48 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 9.3 SO/9. Last year, albeit in on 16.2 innings, he allowed 19 earned runs, but he posted a career high 10.8 SO/9. It seems more likely for the players listed above to get the majority of the save opportunities, but Robels has some experience, and the Twins can always turn to him if other relievers are struggling at some point during the season.


    Who do you think will be considered Minnesota’s primary closer in 2021? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.



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    Need a different title here: I believe Rocco when he says the Twins don't have a designated closer (and I think that's a good thing). Who will lead the team in saves is a different question than who will be the "closer".


    Who will be the closer? No one.


    Who will lead the team in saves? I'd bet on Colome, just because I think he's going to get the 9th more often. Taylor Rogers is going to be deployed in the 7th or 8th inning more often when you see a couple of LH hitters coming up close & late.


    I don't see any relievers on this team getting 40 saves, though and I'm not sure anyone will clear 30, just because you're not going to see a single guy held back to pitch the 9th in the LaRussa mode of "closers". This is good news to me.


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    I agree with old nurse that the Twins view the fireman role as most likely more important than the closer role.  If you are asking which arm do they trust the most going into the season then I would say it is a tossup between Rogers and Colome.  It might come down to lefty righty splits or who is most effective but right now I would say it is between those two.


    It will likely change as the season moves on as well.  Alcala has looked pretty good in limited time and could get better. While Duffy has been brutal this spring he could turn it on for the start of the season.  Spring doesn't bring a ton of clarity.  The only guy I haven't liked and it is partially because I don't know that much about him and partially because his pitches are too straight is Robles.  I am not sure he belongs on this list but we will see.

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    Rodgers was feasted on last short season, Robels even more. Duffey looks horrible this spring. Colome is trying to redeem himself after a horrible first outing. 


    Yet......... folks are reveling in the potential of the bullpen. Well..... I hope they all find it by opening day, and become what people hope. I believe Baldelli. And I don't see a closer yet, anyway.

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    Rocco and front office has said for years they do not subscribe to "closer" role.  Rodgers did kind of fall into that roll second half of 2019 and all of 2020, with a few exceptions of others getting spots.  However, I do believe them when they say no "closer" because they know if a string of lefties are coming up in 7th or 8th that rodgers would be best to get out they would bring him in.  They know to not let your best option sit on bench because it is too early in game.  Of course, there will be one or two main late inning guys that will start to come in.  It is not like they will go on a rotation of who pitches 9th inning, but it will be game specific each game I believe. 

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    If Duffey crashes back to earth with a dead arm, we’re in some trouble.


    I was concerned about this bullpen when I thought Duffey was one of the best relievers in the AL. If Duffey is bad, that is a massive swing.

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