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  • 4 Better Options Than Emilio Pagán for the Minnesota Twins Bullpen


    Matthew Taylor

    It’s no secret that Emilio Pagán has been bad for the Minnesota Twins. The good news is that the Twins have four more than capable in-house options to replace him, should the Twins decide to move on from the man they acquired in exchange for Taylor Rogers this offseason.
     

    Image courtesy of Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

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    Emilio Pagán has not only been bad this season for the Minnesota Twins, but has been one of the worst relievers in baseball going on three seasons now. Our friend Aaron Gleeman said it best:

    Continuing to trot out Pagán every few days is actively harming the Minnesota Twins. He continues to harm the team and his upside is certainly not high enough to warrant the catastrophic performances we see from him on a weekly basis. Additionally, the Minnesota Twins have plenty of players just 15 minutes away from Target Field who could fill in for Pagán. There’s a great chance that these players would perform better than Pagán, and would give each of them valuable experience with an eye toward sticking in the bullpen for years to come.

    These four players are better options for the Minnesota Twins’ bullpen than Emilio Pagán:

    Jovani Moran
    Jovani Moran should be a familiar name for Minnesota Twins fans as he has been up with the Twins many times this season. In his time with the Twins, Moran has been more than solid, owning a 1.93 ERA in 23 1/3 innings in 2022. Moran is a left-handed pitcher who possesses a nasty changeup that can neutralize right-handers. Moran is certainly a pitcher who has a future in this Twins bullpen and the fact that Emilio Pagán is getting more play than him isn’t right.

    Ronny Henriquez
    Ronny Henriquez was acquired from the Texas Rangers in the Mitch Garver/Isaiah Kiner-Falefa swap early in the 2022 offseason. Henriquez has not been amazing for the Twins in 2022, owning a 5.90 ERA for the AAA affiliate, but he has been better as of late. In 26 innings since June 21, the right-hander owns a 3.12 ERA with a 29/8 K/BB ratio. What makes Henriquez an intriguing option for the Minnesota Twins bullpen is that he has yet to be tested in a true 1-2 inning bullpen role. Henriquez can get to the upper 90s with his fastball and his pitch repertoire might just be one that thrives in a bullpen role rather than the 4-5 inning stretches that he has been pitching with the Saints this season. Henriquez is currently on the 40-man roster with the Minnesota Twins.

    Evan Sisk
    The Minnesota Twins acquired Evan Sisk in its trade with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2021 for J.A. Happ. Sisk performed extremely well this season in Wichita and was moved up to the St. Paul Saints where he has continued his great pitching out of the bullpen. In 14 innings with the St. Paul Saints in 2022, Sisk owns a 2.57 ERA with a K/9 of 9.6. Sisk is not currently on the 40-man roster for the Twins so would need to be added if he were to be called up to the big-league club.

    Drew Strotman
    Acquired from the Tampa Bay Rays in the Nelson Cruz trade last summer, Drew Strotman struggled mightily as a starting pitcher with the Minnesota Twins in 2021. Coming into 2022, the Twins opted to convert Strotman into a reliever and he continued to struggle in the early months of this season. Over the past month and a half, though, Strotman appears to have turned a corner and become somewhat of a weapon for the St. Paul Saints. Over his last 10 appearances, Strotman has a 1.32 ERA and opponents are hitting just .180 off of him. On the season, Strotman has demonstrated the ability to miss bats, boasting a K/9 in the double digits. 

    Control can be an issue for Strotman, but when he’s able to locate his pitches, he can be really solid. Strotman is already on the 40-man roster, so no roster finagling would need to be done with a Strotman call-up. 

    Do you agree that these options would be better for the Twins’ bullpen than Emilio Pagán? How would you rank your confidence in these names? Leave a comment below and start the conversation!

     

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    Yes, totally agree. Matthew is speaking truth.

    Personally I hesitate on Strotman, would rather see an extended period of success in BP, but his transition is promising. If he comes up though I wouldnt scream.

    Good with any of the others, even if a 40 man adjustment is needed.

    It's mid-August and we're still doing tryouts in the BP, but it has to be done, they need to release Pagan, today would be good.

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    Yes all are better options!

    Moran will be back up as soon a his 10 day wait period is over from being sent down from the OF injuries and trade deadline, was just a roster shuffle casualty.

     

    Stotman if they think he has found control, but what i saw of him he was no where around the plate and wouldnt last in the mlb.

     

    Henriquez has gotten shelled at AAA maybe a consistant 2 pitch mix and fastball sits consistant high 90 to 100 might work.

     

    Sisk is a side arm lefty, which dont traditionally last long in the MLB, but has put up great number consistantly since being brought to the twins organization.  You have to make a decision on him at seasons end because he needs to be added to the 40 man roster and he would get picked in rule 5 if left unprotected.

     

     

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    4 minutes ago, Game7-91 said:

    It's mid-August and we're still doing tryouts in the BP, but it has to be done, they need to release Pagan, today would be good.

    Like it or not they are going to need Pagan today considering Baldelli's management (or lack thereof) of the BP this weekend and the fact we know Archer is only going 4. 1 of those 4 can fly west with the team (or even all 4, fill that taxi squad).

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    I agree with you.  Not sure about Strotman but Pagan has been terrible.  Then we can send Rocco out with Pagan. I know that's not going to happen.  Looks like a b team lineup again today at home.  No Buxton, No Correa, some players playing out of position.  They have tomorrow off they don't need two days off in a row IMO.  Although I must admit they have both been terrible anyway for the past 4-5 weeks.  Looks like a Toronto blowout today.  I notice they thought the game was important enough to have their regular players in

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    2 minutes ago, mnfireman said:

    Like it or not they are going to need Pagan today considering Baldelli's management (or lack thereof) of the BP this weekend and the fact we know Archer is only going 4. 1 of those 4 can fly west with the team (or even all 4, fill that taxi squad).

    Right!!! if they dont piggie back Sand today with Archer and let both go 4 innings. They can then send Sand back down after game and cut Pagan and can bring up 2 of them.

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    27 minutes ago, ashbury said:

    Henriquez got taken deep in his first inning of work last Thursday, by Brent Rooker.  So much for "better as of late"

    Not an option in 2022, in my book.  Ditto for Strotman, and he isn't even young anymore and should be offseason trade/dfa fodder.

    "Moran, then Sisk, after that you're taking a risk."

    Concur. 

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    Moran is the only one with an argument for being a better option than Pagan. And I'd actually take Moran over Pagan right now. But "better of late" in AAA does not equal better option than Pagan. He'd likely be quite good in AAA. "Can't throw strikes, but throws hard so could be good" is Pagan. Not sure why we think an inconsistent, can't throw strikes pitcher in AAA would jump to the bigs and be good.

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    My dead grandma is a better option than Pagan.

    No, seriously, I would rather see Gordon, or Kepler, or Correa, or Buxton, or... You get the idea. Yes, I know, position players can't pitch anymore except in certain situations, but I'm just trying to make a point. ANYBODY other than Pagan!

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    I guess they see something in the analytics for Pagan, but the eye test says otherwise.  So does the score.   

    And every game when the starter is pulled early (which is literally just about every game), I feel a sense of existential threat when it could be Pagan time.   It diminishes a bit when we're leading by seven runs or more.

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    I would even welcome a return of Cotton. Moran will be back after he spends a few more days in days in the minors although the flip side is they can’t option him out again fir the season I believe.

    if Pagan is basically regulated to mop up, even Strotman can fulfill that role and probably face at least 9 batters..

    Pagan seems to still have rusted life to try and make the Padres deal look okay although San Diego has jettisoned their end of the deal.

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    So Pagan has almost inarguably been the worst RP in all of MLB over a 3yr time span. He's very possibly the Twins #8 reliever now, 7th at best and is confined to a middle inning role. And he has no future with the club.

    Literally, would ANYONE be worse? At least someone younger could learn on the job and gain experience at the ML level for 2023 and beyond.

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    I'd consider Moran over Pagan, IMO the others are no better. But our more desperate need is long relief so I'd go with pitchers that I'd trust (A Sanchez, Smeltzer, Cotton now and later Winder & Ober) than any short RP that I do not.

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    Cotton, A. Sanchez, Moran, even Smeltzer are all better. Pagan has a good arm though, misses bats with strikes one and two, and Falvey's romance with Paddack included Pagan, so it might be tough to separate.

    I guess the Twins wait for one or two of Winder, Ober, and Maeda to be ready. In the meantime, Pagan might get used in blowouts or just put on the IL

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    There aspects of Pagan that are quite good. He has 55 SO in 38 IP (13K/9).  This is slightly better than Duran’s 61 SO in 48 IP (11.4K/9). I am not sure all the reasons this doesn’t translate into results. Too many BB and too many balls that are crushed when he is ahead in the count are some of his issues. Poor command and too predictable pitching selection also contribute.  It will be interesting to see if Pagan improves with Leon behind the plate.

    data is from Fangraphs. 
     

     

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    It’s hard to relegate Pagan to mop up duty when the starters aren’t allowed to pitch more than 4-5 innings. Every game they need at least four relievers and every other day they will need Pagan because of how Rocco handles the staff. They need to see Henriquez be consistent and successful in the BP before bringing him up. That leaves Moran and Sisk. I hope Pagan is a free agent after this season. Another year of him pouring gasoline on the game is too much to watch.

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    Pagan has simply not got it done despite a large number of opportunities. I agree, sadly it is past time to give another pitcher Pagan's role/spot on the roster.

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