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  • Twins Tidbit: Bullpen Platoon Splits


    Creating favorable matchups is the key to successful bullpen management. Can we get our best southpaw lined up against their left-handed hitters? Which pitchers can be trusted to face both left- and right-handed hitters? Analyzing the platoon splits of each of the bullpen arms will help answer those questions.

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    The graph above plots the platoon splits for each member of the Twins bullpen. OPS against vs. right-handed batters is on the x-axis, so points further to the left are successful against right-handed batters. OPS against vs. left-handed batters is on the y-axis, so points further toward the bottom are successful against left-handed batters. Points closest to the diagonal line are equally effective (or ineffective) against both types of batters.

    A few takeaways:

    • Caleb Thielbar is on fire. Among relievers, he is at the 88th percentile for strikeout rate 98th percentile for exit velocity. Does that call for a promotion to a bigger role where he faces more right-handed batters? Perhaps. Right-handed batters own an OPS below 0.700 against Thielbar. In fact, his OPS against opposite-sided batters is better than that of Jorge López, who allows a 0.711 OPS to left-handed hitters. And nobody would call López a specialist against right-handed batters.
    • The Twins deadline acquisitions, López and Fulmer, are death to righties allowing a 0.471 and 0.438 OPS respectively. Fulmer, however, is an absolute liability against lefties, allowing an 0.830 OPS to opposite-sided hitters. He meets the definition of a specialist.
    • Emilio Pagan has insane reverse splits, with righties boasting a debilitating 1.075 OPS against. Pagán has never had significant reverse splits in prior seasons, so that may be an anomaly. But with the way things are going for Pagán, who's to say?
    • Jhoan Duran, Trevor Megill, and Griffin Jax all appear to be matchup independent. And Megill's splits so closely mirroring Duran's suggest he deserves to keep getting chances


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    This is fascinating... Amazing what Pagan's splits are now... that's definitely not normal. Surprised on Fulmer too. 

    Good to see Thielbar get his due. He's been terrific. And, it's nice to see that what I've seen from Megill appears to be shown in this chart as well. He's one to watch going forward. One to keep around at the end of the offseason! 

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    As stated, the Pagan splits this season may be an anomaly. That said, Pagan himself is an anomaly.

    When checking his Statcast page he looks like a really solid, borderline elite, pitcher. And he is for 93% of his pitches. He is elite.

    And then, every 12th pitch he forgets how to throw like a big leaguer, and he throws a cement mixer middle-middle and it gets obliterated. 

    It's been that way for 3 seasons now. His K% is elite and his BB% is great, but in his last 127.2 innings he has given up 30 HRs. 

    That is good for the 3rd worst HR/9 of all MLB players still active since the start of 2020, minimum 120 IP. The two guys above him are both young SP that are learning the ropes of MLB that will probably be converted to RP roles, a la, Griffin Jax.

    Pagan really is an anomaly. That is why he keeps getting chances. Fixing that 12th pitch is like chasing the dragon.

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