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  1. There has been much turnover on the Twins' 2021 pitching staff. It is a near certainty that several hurlers who got the ball for the team this year will not be back in 2022. Many have failed--Garcia, Waddell, Burrows--and very few have succeeded. Somewhere in the middle is a subset of relievers who have done "okay", that is an ERA plus of 100 or better, but are over 30 years of age. The chance of a breakout by any of these guys is very small, but as 2021 has shown, even okay relief pitchers are better than sending out arsonists. I've included Caleb Thielbar with this group, he is the most unlike the others in that he's been with the club all season and is nearly certain to get a major league contract from someone in the offseason, as long as there is a bargaining agreement. The rest of the players have not had a full season with the Twins and if they aren't on the team would have to be released or designated for assignment (no options). Here's my list, with my two-minute analysis of each: Derek Law. Derek Law has logged only 15 low-leverage innings with the Twins this year. He impressed many with a good run in spring training, featuring lots of strikeouts. From what I've seen during the regular season, he has average stuff and no one dominating pitch. Law is currently on the major league IL, but is on rehab assignment in St. Paul. Law will have accrued over three years of major league service after this year meaning that he would be eligible for arbitration (under current rules). Danny Coulombe. Lefty Danny Coulombe has been with the Twins since June and has logged a 3-1 record with a 3.04 ERA. Coulombe has given up a majority of his runs as a result of the home run ball. He's fanned more than a batter per inning and his FIP is over a run higher than his ERA. Coulombe hasn't shown any real platoon splits this year (SSS), but in his career has done better against left handed hitters. Coulombe throws a lot of breaking balls and throws a fastball in the low 90s. Coulombe will be 32 in October. Juan Minaya. Minaya was signed by the Twins in 2020 and was on the roster for a few days, but didn't pitch. This season he has been up and down at least a few times and outrighted to St. Paul when sent back. His most recent stint with the Twins has been his most effective. Minaya throws the fastball up to 96 mph, and has a decent slider. Control seems to be his biggest hurdle and thus far this year, he's walked 14 in 25 innings. Under current rules, Minaya would be a Super2, eligible for arbitration this winter. He turns 31 next month. Luke Farrell. The right handed Farrell has good numbers in limited work with the Twins this year. In 15 plus innings, he has a 1.76 ERA, 2.97 FIP and a 1.17 WHIP. Farrell doesn't throw particularly hard (low 90s) but features a lot of breaking balls. He is also currently rehabbing at St. Paul. Farrell wouldn't be eligible for arbitration this offseason. Farrell wouldn't be eligible for arbitration this winter under the current bargaining agreement. Caleb Thielbar. As I mentioned earlier, Thielbar fits less with this list than any of the others. He's been with the Twins all season, except for time on the IL and is now considered one of their high-leverage bullpen arms. Thielbar has thrown over 50 innings this season and has an ERA below 4 (3.18 FIP), he's struck out 64 in 51 innings and has won six games, losing none (FWIW). Caleb features a variety of big breaking balls along with a sneaky low-90s fastball. He'll turn 35 this winter, It doesn't make sense for a team rebuilding their pitching staff to have all of these over-30 arms on the 40-man roster over the winter. That said, a case for each can be made that they could help the Twins in 2022. How many should stay on the roster? Should the Twins attempt to sign any of them to a minor league contract? Are there any who should be DFAed/released with no look back? IMHO, no more than two should be on this winter's 40-man. The lock is Thielbar and the one in doubt is Minaya. I think any of the five who aren't tendered a contract should be offered a minor league deal.
  2. Randy Dobnak Using Randy Dobnak as a reliever didn’t exactly go as planned at season’s start and he was sent to St. Paul to get stretched out as soon as the Triple-A season began. In the last couple weeks, Michael Pineda and Kenta Maeda have both ended up on the injured list so Dobnak’s spot in the rotation looks to be safe. In his first start, he pitched six shutout innings with a five to two strikeout to walk ratio. What might be the most encouraging sign is his 12 groundball outs including inducing a double play. When Dobnak is at his best, he is working quickly and using his sinker to get batters to hit the ball on the ground. Minnesota’s improved defense can certainly help Dobnak especially since he is using his sinker almost 50% of the time, which is a 6% jump from 2020. J.A. Happ and Matt Shoemaker both have ERAs north of 5.40, so Dobnak has the opportunity to take a rotation spot and run with it. Rob Refsnyder Entering the 2020 season, Refsnyder was an afterthought that bounced around through four different organizations. He was a career .217/.205/.297 (.602) hitter with nearly twice as many strikeouts as walks. The Twins signed him to a minor league deal this winter, but injuries to Byron Buxton and Jake Cave made it necessary for Refsnyder to be added to the roster and he’s taking full advantage of the opportunity. Entering play on Monday, Refsnyder is hitting .375/.429/.542 (.970) in nine games with the Twins. Kyle Garlick has been dealing with a groin injury that may continue to hamper him and this means even more time for Refsnyder. He’s 30-years old and doesn’t exactly fit into the team’s long-term plans, but there’s hope the team can ride his hot streaks as long as possible. Maybe he can turn into the 2004 version of Lew Ford? Luke Farrell Minnesota’s bullpen has struggled through most of the season and Farrell shouldn’t be seen as a savior, but he can certainly add depth. He is being used exclusively as a reliever for the first time in his career and there have been some positive signs. With St. Paul, he pitched 4 2/3 innings and allowed one run on two hits with two walks and nine strikeouts. He needs to prove he can translate those strikeout numbers to the big-league level. Guess what Wes Johnson has done with Ferrell? If you said increase his slider usage, you are correct. His slider usage has been increasing each year, but he took a big jump from 41.2% in 2020 to nearly 60% in 2021. His curveball has hardly been used at all as he almost exclusively uses his fastball and slider. His walk rate has been high throughout his big-league career so that will be something to keep an eye on moving forward. Do you think these three players can help the Twins through their recent rash of injuries? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  3. Injuries have hit the Twins hard over the last week and now the club is entering a soft part of their schedule. All teams deal with injuries, but these three players showcase the Twins depth and will be key for the team’s success. Randy Dobnak Using Randy Dobnak as a reliever didn’t exactly go as planned at season’s start and he was sent to St. Paul to get stretched out as soon as the Triple-A season began. In the last couple weeks, Michael Pineda and Kenta Maeda have both ended up on the injured list so Dobnak’s spot in the rotation looks to be safe. In his first start, he pitched six shutout innings with a five to two strikeout to walk ratio. What might be the most encouraging sign is his 12 groundball outs including inducing a double play. When Dobnak is at his best, he is working quickly and using his sinker to get batters to hit the ball on the ground. Minnesota’s improved defense can certainly help Dobnak especially since he is using his sinker almost 50% of the time, which is a 6% jump from 2020. J.A. Happ and Matt Shoemaker both have ERAs north of 5.40, so Dobnak has the opportunity to take a rotation spot and run with it. Rob Refsnyder Entering the 2020 season, Refsnyder was an afterthought that bounced around through four different organizations. He was a career .217/.205/.297 (.602) hitter with nearly twice as many strikeouts as walks. The Twins signed him to a minor league deal this winter, but injuries to Byron Buxton and Jake Cave made it necessary for Refsnyder to be added to the roster and he’s taking full advantage of the opportunity. Entering play on Monday, Refsnyder is hitting .375/.429/.542 (.970) in nine games with the Twins. Kyle Garlick has been dealing with a groin injury that may continue to hamper him and this means even more time for Refsnyder. He’s 30-years old and doesn’t exactly fit into the team’s long-term plans, but there’s hope the team can ride his hot streaks as long as possible. Maybe he can turn into the 2004 version of Lew Ford? Luke Farrell Minnesota’s bullpen has struggled through most of the season and Farrell shouldn’t be seen as a savior, but he can certainly add depth. He is being used exclusively as a reliever for the first time in his career and there have been some positive signs. With St. Paul, he pitched 4 2/3 innings and allowed one run on two hits with two walks and nine strikeouts. He needs to prove he can translate those strikeout numbers to the big-league level. Guess what Wes Johnson has done with Ferrell? If you said increase his slider usage, you are correct. His slider usage has been increasing each year, but he took a big jump from 41.2% in 2020 to nearly 60% in 2021. His curveball has hardly been used at all as he almost exclusively uses his fastball and slider. His walk rate has been high throughout his big-league career so that will be something to keep an eye on moving forward. Do you think these three players can help the Twins through their recent rash of injuries? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
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