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  1. Minnesota’s bullpen has plenty of question marks heading into the 2022 season. Tyler Duffey is supposed to be one of the team’s most reliable late-inning options, but his 2021 campaign showcased some worrisome signs. From 2019-20, Duffey had been one of baseball’s best relievers. Across 80 games, he posted a 2.31 ERA with a 0.94 WHIP and 12.5 K/9. In fact, MLB.com ranked Duffey as one of baseball’s best relievers entering the 2021 season. Minnesota used Duffey as a fireman out of the bullpen, and he was successful in this role. Things changed in 2022 as he struggled for the first time since becoming a full-time reliever. So, what are some concerns with his 2021 performance? Concern 1: Surrendering Hard Hits Giving up hard contact is never a good trait for a pitcher, and this problem can be even more apparent with relievers and a smaller sample size. During the 2021 season, Duffey’s average exit velocity (4th percentile) and hard hit% (7th percentile) were among the lowest in baseball. Back in 2019, his hard-hit % ranked in the 48th percentile, so this was quite the drop from the last full season. Last season, his four-seam fastball was one of the pitches that resulted in the aforementioned changes. His slugging percentage on his fastball was .289 in 2020, and he allowed a .374 slugging percentage in 2021. Duffey was pitching from behind more regularly in 2021, which meant he saw an increase in his fastball usage by 5%. His fastball velocity isn’t elite, so good hitters will be able to square it up and make hard contact. Concern 2: Decrease in Strikeouts Another concern with Duffey’s 2021 season was the significant dip in strikeout percentage. During 2019-20, his 12.5 SO/9 is exactly what teams want from a late-inning reliever. His K% ranked in the 92 percentile or higher in each of those seasons. Last season, his K% dropped to the 54th percentile as he posted an 8.8 SO/9 which was a career-worst since moving to the bullpen. Last season, Duffey posted a 40 K% with his four-seamer, but that dropped to 22% in 2021. In the previous three seasons, his curveball has averaged nearly 35 K%, but he only got a 25.4 K% in 2021. His Whiff% with his curveball also dropped almost 14%. Since he was behind in the count more regularly, there’s a good chance he couldn’t use his pitch mix to the best of his advantage. Concern 3: Change in Pitch Usage Duffey also saw increased use in his sinker last season, which doesn’t cause issues on the surface. Using a new pitch can keep batters off-balance, but Duffey’s sinker didn’t do that at all. Opponents posted a .444 batting average with a .556 slugging percentage when facing his sinker. It also had the lowest Whiff% of any of his pitches. Luckily, he only threw his sinker 44 times, but the results were lacking. His other pitches also saw some change in usage. In his first two seasons as a reliever, he saw increased curveball use. Last year, he decreased usage of his curveball by nearly 5%. Some of this change in pitch usage was related to being behind in the count more regularly. This forced him to cut back on his curveball and turn to his fastball, which had disastrous results. Duffey is entering a critical year of his professional career. Next winter, he will hit the free-agent market, and he is coming off a career-worst season. In a contract year, the 2022 campaign will go a long way in determining the kind of market he will face in his first taste of free agency. Relief pitchers can be fickle, and Minnesota hopes that Duffey can alleviate these worries in 2022. What are you most worried about with Duffey’s 2021 performance? 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
  2. From 2019-20, Duffey had been one of baseball’s best relievers. Across 80 games, he posted a 2.31 ERA with a 0.94 WHIP and 12.5 K/9. In fact, MLB.com ranked Duffey as one of baseball’s best relievers entering the 2021 season. Minnesota used Duffey as a fireman out of the bullpen, and he was successful in this role. Things changed in 2022 as he struggled for the first time since becoming a full-time reliever. So, what are some concerns with his 2021 performance? Concern 1: Surrendering Hard Hits Giving up hard contact is never a good trait for a pitcher, and this problem can be even more apparent with relievers and a smaller sample size. During the 2021 season, Duffey’s average exit velocity (4th percentile) and hard hit% (7th percentile) were among the lowest in baseball. Back in 2019, his hard-hit % ranked in the 48th percentile, so this was quite the drop from the last full season. Last season, his four-seam fastball was one of the pitches that resulted in the aforementioned changes. His slugging percentage on his fastball was .289 in 2020, and he allowed a .374 slugging percentage in 2021. Duffey was pitching from behind more regularly in 2021, which meant he saw an increase in his fastball usage by 5%. His fastball velocity isn’t elite, so good hitters will be able to square it up and make hard contact. Concern 2: Decrease in Strikeouts Another concern with Duffey’s 2021 season was the significant dip in strikeout percentage. During 2019-20, his 12.5 SO/9 is exactly what teams want from a late-inning reliever. His K% ranked in the 92 percentile or higher in each of those seasons. Last season, his K% dropped to the 54th percentile as he posted an 8.8 SO/9 which was a career-worst since moving to the bullpen. Last season, Duffey posted a 40 K% with his four-seamer, but that dropped to 22% in 2021. In the previous three seasons, his curveball has averaged nearly 35 K%, but he only got a 25.4 K% in 2021. His Whiff% with his curveball also dropped almost 14%. Since he was behind in the count more regularly, there’s a good chance he couldn’t use his pitch mix to the best of his advantage. Concern 3: Change in Pitch Usage Duffey also saw increased use in his sinker last season, which doesn’t cause issues on the surface. Using a new pitch can keep batters off-balance, but Duffey’s sinker didn’t do that at all. Opponents posted a .444 batting average with a .556 slugging percentage when facing his sinker. It also had the lowest Whiff% of any of his pitches. Luckily, he only threw his sinker 44 times, but the results were lacking. His other pitches also saw some change in usage. In his first two seasons as a reliever, he saw increased curveball use. Last year, he decreased usage of his curveball by nearly 5%. Some of this change in pitch usage was related to being behind in the count more regularly. This forced him to cut back on his curveball and turn to his fastball, which had disastrous results. Duffey is entering a critical year of his professional career. Next winter, he will hit the free-agent market, and he is coming off a career-worst season. In a contract year, the 2022 campaign will go a long way in determining the kind of market he will face in his first taste of free agency. Relief pitchers can be fickle, and Minnesota hopes that Duffey can alleviate these worries in 2022. What are you most worried about with Duffey’s 2021 performance? 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. Minnesota's relief core improved in the second half of 2021, but there are questions about who will comprise the 2022 bullpen. There are plenty of bullpen options throughout the Twins system. Current Relief Pitchers: Taylor Rogers, Tyler Duffey, Jorge Alcala, Caleb Thielbar, Ralph Garza Jr., Cody Stashak, Jovani Moran, Jharel Cotton Some of the team's veteran pitchers will again figure prominently into the team's bullpen. After a late-season injury, Rogers is a question-mark at the back of the Twins bullpen. It's the first time on the injured list during his big league career, and doctors believe surgery wasn't necessary. After two dominating seasons, Duffey had some minor struggles in 2021, but he still posted a 134 ERA+. After nearly retiring and joining the college coaching ranks, Thielbar has been one of the team's most valuable relievers. Three less experienced arms have a chance to earn late-inning roles with the 2022 Twins. Last season, Alcala had a triceps injury but still made 59 appearances and finished 15 games. Moran dominated the minor's upper-levels with 109 strikeouts in 67 1/3 innings on his way to being named the TD Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Year. His plus changeup is an elite pitch that will make him dangerous at the big-league level for years to come. Stashak missed most of 2021 with a back injury that limited him to fewer than 16 innings. Two waiver claims have survived Minnesota's offseason roster purge and will get a long look for the Opening Day bullpen. Cotton was claimed off waivers from the Texas Rangers in November. Last season at Triple-A, he pitched 42 innings and posted a 57 to 17 strikeout to walk ratio. Minnesota hopes he can start producing those types of strikeout numbers at the big-league level. The Twins claimed Garza Jr. from Houston back in August. In 18 appearances with the Twins, he posted a 3.26 ERA with 1.03 WHIP. 40-Man Roster Options Some of the team's top pitching prospects are considered starters, but many of them missed time during the 2021 season due to injury. There wasn't a 2020 minor league season and more missed time last year likely means these young arms will be on an innings limit. If Minnesota needs a bullpen boost in the second half, young arms can be added to get big-league experience. Lewis Thorpe and Randy Dobnak are two other pitchers on the 40-man roster that may see time in the bullpen. Thorpe is out of minor league options but hasn't found big-league success as a starter. Dobnak started last year in the bullpen, and it ended up being his worst professional season. Right now, Thorpe and Dobnak are in the starting rotation, but the team may sign or trade for other starters. On the Farm Options Not all of the players listed below are guaranteed to be on the team's roster at the start of next season. Still, it offers some insight into the organization's relief pitching depth. Minnesota has multiple relief pitching options populating the rosters throughout the minor leagues. In the upper-minors, Danny Coulombe is a non-roster invite to spring training. Last season, he made 29 appearances for the Twins and posted a 3.67 ERA with a 1.22 WHIP. Minnesota claimed Trevor Megill and Argenis Angulo off waivers in November. Yennier Cano is an intriguing option as he was signed out of Cuba back in 2019. During 2021, he struck out over 11 batters per nine innings at Double- and Triple-A. Ryan Mason has pitched in the Twins system since 2013. Last year he split time at the organization's two highest levels with a 2.67 ERA and a 63 to 28 strikeout to walk ratio. Melvi Acosta made all but one of his appearances at High-A last year, where he struck out 10.3 batters per nine innings. Zach Neff, a 31st round pick in 2018, posted a 4.78 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP in 31 Double-A appearances. At Double-A, Minnesota acquired Alex Scherff in July for Hansel Robles. Last season was his first as a full-time reliever, and he had a 2.45 ERA with 46 strikeouts in 29 1/3 innings. Like Scherff, Evan Sisk was acquired at the deadline, but he was part of the J.A. Happ trade. Sisk struggled in his first taste of Double-A (4.24 ERA) and allowed nine earned runs in 10 AFL innings. Zach Featherstone was knocked around (8.10 ERA) like Sisk in the AFL after posting a 2.13 ERA at High-A. Jordan Gore, a former infielder, is transitioning to a relief role. Last season was his first as a full-time reliever, and he posted a 2.39 ERA in time split between High- and Double-A. Minnesota left him unprotected from the Rule 5 Draft, so some other team may take a flyer on him. Denny Bentley, a 2018 33rd round pick, had a sub-2.80 ERA with 13.4 strikeouts per nine. His walk rate was high, with over five free passes per nine innings and a 1.42 WHIP. Osiris German, Samuel Perez, and Steven Cruz are three names to watch in the lower minors. German and Cruz split time between Low- and High-A. German had 90 strikeouts in 59 1/3 innings, and Perez struck out 14.4 batters per nine innings. Perez signed with the Twins out of independent baseball and had a 1.45 ERA with the FCL Twins. Besides the names mentioned here, many other pitchers at each level can impact the upcoming season. Overall, Minnesota has questions in next year's bullpen, but some young arms can step up in 2022. What do you think about the organization's relief pitching depth? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. OTHER POSTS IN THE SERIES — Catchers — First Base — Second Base — Third Base — Shortstop — Center Field — Corner Outfield — Starting Pitching View full article
  4. Continuing the theme of keying in on current assets and their focus for the season ahead, the Twins next area to come under fire for 2022 resolutions is the bullpen. The group wasn’t as expected last season, as was the case for most of the team as a whole, but where do we go from here? After ranking 24th as a whole when it came to pitching in 2021, the Minnesota Twins were 20th in terms of fWAR for just relievers. While slightly better than the starting staff being 25th, relief efforts took a significant step backward last year. In 2020 Wes Johnson coached the 2nd-best bullpen in baseball, and his group was 3rd overall in 2019. Getting back to that level is where things need to be focused for 2022. How can we get there? New Years Resolutions: Starting Pitching Taylor Rogers He’s here because he’s the best thing Minnesota’s bullpen has going. They could’ve decided to non-tender him if there was fear Rogers’ injury situation was grave, but that doesn’t appear to be reality. He was named an All-Star for the first time and got to show up for the game in his home state. In 2020 Rogers didn’t benefit from a season that allowed his numbers to normalize. In 2021, his 2.13 FIP was the best number of his career, and the strikeout rate was unmatched. If there’s something that Rogers needs to do in 2022, it’s be healthy and repeat as a dominant force. Lefties this good don’t grow on trees, and the Twins have one. Cody Stashak Once looking like a substantial bullpen piece, Stashak fell off the tracks significantly last year. He posted a 25/1 K/BB in his first 25 big-league innings and followed that up with a 17/3 K/BB in 15 innings during 2020. In 2021 Stashak had a 26/10 K/BB, and his ERA ballooned to 6.89. The homers and hits didn’t get out of whack, and his FIP was still solid at 3.62. In short, the pitcher he once was is still there, and we’re still dealing with a small sample size as a whole. Minnesota needs Stashak to again be a high command, big strikeout arm that can pitch in the middle innings. Tyler Duffey It wasn’t that Duffey was awful in 2021, but the pitcher Duffey became in 2019, and 2020 looked a whole lot different. Although Duffey did allow the lowest home run rate of his career, he also walked four batters per nine, easily a career-high, and his strikeouts dropped below double-digits per nine. Duffey is now 31, and while his velocity isn’t what it was in 2019, it did stay consistent from a year ago. Adding back to that number or staying consistent is a must. Generating chase swings again on his curveball has to happen, and if it’s not coming by pairing fastball velocity, then sequencing and tunneling are avenues he can further explore. Jorge Alcala We’ve been waiting for Alcala to break out over a whole year for a while. It looked like it would happen in 2021 after a strong showing in 2020. Pitching in nearly 60 innings last year, Alcala sat with a 5.54 ERA through his first 42 appearances. From there, he made 18 more appearances and tallied a 0.87 ERA and a 26/3 K/BB. That stretch was dominant and where Minnesota needs him to come out starting the season. At 26, Alcala isn’t exactly young anymore, but he certainly could be coming into his own. Juan Minaya This is maybe less about Minaya than the concept of his addition. The Twins did a good job finding the former White Sox arm as they also did with Danny Coulombe. Minaya contributed 40 innings with a 2.48 ERA. He’s always walked too many guys, but the strikeouts were there. Jharel Cotton was claimed by Minnesota, while Ralph Garza Jr. was a late-season addition. It’d be great for the Twins to hit on a handful of these types, especially if they aren’t going to add a higher tier reliever or two. At this point, these aren’t non-roster guys, and being correct on a few wouldn’t hurt. We’re now through the pitching side of things and will turn it over to the bats for the final installment. 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
  5. After ranking 24th as a whole when it came to pitching in 2021, the Minnesota Twins were 20th in terms of fWAR for just relievers. While slightly better than the starting staff being 25th, relief efforts took a significant step backward last year. In 2020 Wes Johnson coached the 2nd-best bullpen in baseball, and his group was 3rd overall in 2019. Getting back to that level is where things need to be focused for 2022. How can we get there? New Years Resolutions: Starting Pitching Taylor Rogers He’s here because he’s the best thing Minnesota’s bullpen has going. They could’ve decided to non-tender him if there was fear Rogers’ injury situation was grave, but that doesn’t appear to be reality. He was named an All-Star for the first time and got to show up for the game in his home state. In 2020 Rogers didn’t benefit from a season that allowed his numbers to normalize. In 2021, his 2.13 FIP was the best number of his career, and the strikeout rate was unmatched. If there’s something that Rogers needs to do in 2022, it’s be healthy and repeat as a dominant force. Lefties this good don’t grow on trees, and the Twins have one. Cody Stashak Once looking like a substantial bullpen piece, Stashak fell off the tracks significantly last year. He posted a 25/1 K/BB in his first 25 big-league innings and followed that up with a 17/3 K/BB in 15 innings during 2020. In 2021 Stashak had a 26/10 K/BB, and his ERA ballooned to 6.89. The homers and hits didn’t get out of whack, and his FIP was still solid at 3.62. In short, the pitcher he once was is still there, and we’re still dealing with a small sample size as a whole. Minnesota needs Stashak to again be a high command, big strikeout arm that can pitch in the middle innings. Tyler Duffey It wasn’t that Duffey was awful in 2021, but the pitcher Duffey became in 2019, and 2020 looked a whole lot different. Although Duffey did allow the lowest home run rate of his career, he also walked four batters per nine, easily a career-high, and his strikeouts dropped below double-digits per nine. Duffey is now 31, and while his velocity isn’t what it was in 2019, it did stay consistent from a year ago. Adding back to that number or staying consistent is a must. Generating chase swings again on his curveball has to happen, and if it’s not coming by pairing fastball velocity, then sequencing and tunneling are avenues he can further explore. Jorge Alcala We’ve been waiting for Alcala to break out over a whole year for a while. It looked like it would happen in 2021 after a strong showing in 2020. Pitching in nearly 60 innings last year, Alcala sat with a 5.54 ERA through his first 42 appearances. From there, he made 18 more appearances and tallied a 0.87 ERA and a 26/3 K/BB. That stretch was dominant and where Minnesota needs him to come out starting the season. At 26, Alcala isn’t exactly young anymore, but he certainly could be coming into his own. Juan Minaya This is maybe less about Minaya than the concept of his addition. The Twins did a good job finding the former White Sox arm as they also did with Danny Coulombe. Minaya contributed 40 innings with a 2.48 ERA. He’s always walked too many guys, but the strikeouts were there. Jharel Cotton was claimed by Minnesota, while Ralph Garza Jr. was a late-season addition. It’d be great for the Twins to hit on a handful of these types, especially if they aren’t going to add a higher tier reliever or two. At this point, these aren’t non-roster guys, and being correct on a few wouldn’t hurt. We’re now through the pitching side of things and will turn it over to the bats for the final installment. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  6. Current Relief Pitchers: Taylor Rogers, Tyler Duffey, Jorge Alcala, Caleb Thielbar, Ralph Garza Jr., Cody Stashak, Jovani Moran, Jharel Cotton Some of the team's veteran pitchers will again figure prominently into the team's bullpen. After a late-season injury, Rogers is a question-mark at the back of the Twins bullpen. It's the first time on the injured list during his big league career, and doctors believe surgery wasn't necessary. After two dominating seasons, Duffey had some minor struggles in 2021, but he still posted a 134 ERA+. After nearly retiring and joining the college coaching ranks, Thielbar has been one of the team's most valuable relievers. Three less experienced arms have a chance to earn late-inning roles with the 2022 Twins. Last season, Alcala had a triceps injury but still made 59 appearances and finished 15 games. Moran dominated the minor's upper-levels with 109 strikeouts in 67 1/3 innings on his way to being named the TD Minor League Relief Pitcher of the Year. His plus changeup is an elite pitch that will make him dangerous at the big-league level for years to come. Stashak missed most of 2021 with a back injury that limited him to fewer than 16 innings. Two waiver claims have survived Minnesota's offseason roster purge and will get a long look for the Opening Day bullpen. Cotton was claimed off waivers from the Texas Rangers in November. Last season at Triple-A, he pitched 42 innings and posted a 57 to 17 strikeout to walk ratio. Minnesota hopes he can start producing those types of strikeout numbers at the big-league level. The Twins claimed Garza Jr. from Houston back in August. In 18 appearances with the Twins, he posted a 3.26 ERA with 1.03 WHIP. 40-Man Roster Options Some of the team's top pitching prospects are considered starters, but many of them missed time during the 2021 season due to injury. There wasn't a 2020 minor league season and more missed time last year likely means these young arms will be on an innings limit. If Minnesota needs a bullpen boost in the second half, young arms can be added to get big-league experience. Lewis Thorpe and Randy Dobnak are two other pitchers on the 40-man roster that may see time in the bullpen. Thorpe is out of minor league options but hasn't found big-league success as a starter. Dobnak started last year in the bullpen, and it ended up being his worst professional season. Right now, Thorpe and Dobnak are in the starting rotation, but the team may sign or trade for other starters. On the Farm Options Not all of the players listed below are guaranteed to be on the team's roster at the start of next season. Still, it offers some insight into the organization's relief pitching depth. Minnesota has multiple relief pitching options populating the rosters throughout the minor leagues. In the upper-minors, Danny Coulombe is a non-roster invite to spring training. Last season, he made 29 appearances for the Twins and posted a 3.67 ERA with a 1.22 WHIP. Minnesota claimed Trevor Megill and Argenis Angulo off waivers in November. Yennier Cano is an intriguing option as he was signed out of Cuba back in 2019. During 2021, he struck out over 11 batters per nine innings at Double- and Triple-A. Ryan Mason has pitched in the Twins system since 2013. Last year he split time at the organization's two highest levels with a 2.67 ERA and a 63 to 28 strikeout to walk ratio. Melvi Acosta made all but one of his appearances at High-A last year, where he struck out 10.3 batters per nine innings. Zach Neff, a 31st round pick in 2018, posted a 4.78 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP in 31 Double-A appearances. At Double-A, Minnesota acquired Alex Scherff in July for Hansel Robles. Last season was his first as a full-time reliever, and he had a 2.45 ERA with 46 strikeouts in 29 1/3 innings. Like Scherff, Evan Sisk was acquired at the deadline, but he was part of the J.A. Happ trade. Sisk struggled in his first taste of Double-A (4.24 ERA) and allowed nine earned runs in 10 AFL innings. Zach Featherstone was knocked around (8.10 ERA) like Sisk in the AFL after posting a 2.13 ERA at High-A. Jordan Gore, a former infielder, is transitioning to a relief role. Last season was his first as a full-time reliever, and he posted a 2.39 ERA in time split between High- and Double-A. Minnesota left him unprotected from the Rule 5 Draft, so some other team may take a flyer on him. Denny Bentley, a 2018 33rd round pick, had a sub-2.80 ERA with 13.4 strikeouts per nine. His walk rate was high, with over five free passes per nine innings and a 1.42 WHIP. Osiris German, Samuel Perez, and Steven Cruz are three names to watch in the lower minors. German and Cruz split time between Low- and High-A. German had 90 strikeouts in 59 1/3 innings, and Perez struck out 14.4 batters per nine innings. Perez signed with the Twins out of independent baseball and had a 1.45 ERA with the FCL Twins. Besides the names mentioned here, many other pitchers at each level can impact the upcoming season. Overall, Minnesota has questions in next year's bullpen, but some young arms can step up in 2022. What do you think about the organization's relief pitching depth? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. OTHER POSTS IN THE SERIES — Catchers — First Base — Second Base — Third Base — Shortstop — Center Field — Corner Outfield — Starting Pitching
  7. There is no doubt that bullpens get much more usage in recent years, and that is true of the Twins as well. If the season started today, who would be in the Twins bullpen, and could they be successful? Bullpens have become the most overworked position in baseball in the last five years, and the Twins bullpen was a perfect example of overworked relievers in 2021. Of the 1,419 1/3 innings pitched from the Twins pitching staff in 2021, Twins relievers pitched approximately 617 2/3 innings pitched, or 43.5% of innings pitched. Relief pitchers making up around 40% of an MLB team's innings pitched is not uncommon in baseball today. However, it depends on who is in each team's bullpen which sets the postseason competitors, the tanking teams, and those in-between apart. The 2021 Twins bullpen falls into the in-between category, and how the front office decides to gear up the bullpen for 2022 post-lockout may be a deciding factor for how they sit in the AL Central for 2022. The Closer The Twins bullpen is far from being the worst in baseball. They have an all-star high-leverage reliever with Taylor Rogers. Rogers did miss the final two months of the season due to his finger injury in August, but he expects to be ready to go by the season's start (whenever that may be). Rogers was not the consistent closer for the Twins last season, as many remember the shuffling between him, Alex Colome, and Hansel Robles. Before his thumb injury, Rogers was beginning to see more save opportunities in games than he had earlier in the season, having three of them in his final six appearances. Suppose the Twins front office does not intend to check in on free-agent closers, such as Ian Kennedy or Richard Rodriguez, after the lockout then Rogers will likely get the nod to be the closer again in 2022. Reliable Veterans The Twins had two reliable veteran relievers in 2021 that will carry over into the same roles for 2022. Those pitchers are Tyler Duffey and Caleb Thielbar. Both Duffey and Thielbar posted solid numbers in 2021, even with some shaky outings at the start of the season. Duffey ended the season with a 3.18 ERA, .216 opponents batting average, and 8.8 K per 9. Going into his age-31 season, Duffey still looks to be one of the primary setup men for the Twins bullpen to start the 2022 season. Thielbar was the most reliable left-handed reliever for the Twins throughout the 2021 season and will likely maintain that role alongside Rogers for 2022. Thielbar's return to the big leagues full-time in 2020 was one of the best feel-good stories in a season that was really needed in the year that was. And thanks to his 3.23 ERA, 10.8 K per 9, and 1.17 WHIP from 2021.Thielbar will likely be the go-to lefty for the Twins bullpen in 2022 depending on Rogers’ role.. Bounceback Players If there's one Twins pitcher who would like to put 2021 behind him above all the rest, it would be Randy Dobnak. Dobnak's injuries throughout 2021 were already keeping him off the field. And when he was healthy, Dobnak was not the same pitcher Twins fans became accustomed to seeing from their homes in 2020. As the Twins rotation currently sits, Dobnak is more likely to see time as a starter than a reliever with only one rotation addition in Dylan Bundy. Still, Dobnak could see some time in the bullpen whether the Twins decided to add another starter or not. If he does, it's not only a matter of getting more appearances out of the bullpen when healthy but also proving his 2021 numbers were a temporary fork in the road. Dobnak is not the only pitcher in the Twins bullpen looking for a bounceback in 2022. One of the Twins' new additions, Jharel Cotton, fits into this category too. Cotton returned to the Majors for the first time since 2017, getting time with the Texas Rangers in 2021. Cotton had not pitched back-to-back seasons professionally since 2016-17 because he had Tommy John surgery in 2018 and missed all of 2020 with no minor league season. Cotton's return to MLB in 2021 was not too bad. Cotton posted a 3.52 ERA and 8.8 K/9 in 23 relief appearances with the Rangers. The big question is if he can repeat and improve upon his 2021 numbers in 2022? The Twins claimed him off waivers, believing that he can, and willing to provide him the opportunity. Young Faces Wanting to Prove Themselves Two younger relievers in the Twins bullpen are still wanting to prove themselves as big-league relievers. They are Jorge Alcala and Ralph Garza Jr. Alcala has accumulated just over two years of MLB service time . In that time, he has pitched in 77 games over parts of three seasons. 2021 was Alcala's first full season, and he was streaky. There were times when Alcala was an excellent option for the Twins, and there were others where he struggled. At season’s end, Alcala had 9.2 K/9, a .214 opponents batting average, and 0.97 WHIP. Alcala has the talent to improve in 2022 to become one of the more reliable Twins relievers. Garza Jr. was an unexpected contributor last season who showed moments when he could be a reliable option for the Twins as the 2021 season dwindled. He had nine relief appearances with the Astros before the Twins claimed him off waivers on August 4th. Garza totaled 18 relief appearances as a Twin, putting together a 3.26 ERA, a .186 opponents batting average, and a 1.03 WHIP. Garza Jr. hopes to have his first full season in the majors for 2022 and show that his brief time with the Twins so far won't just be a flash in the pan. Minor League Options Three notable players signed to minor league deals with the Twins are likely to be seen in their bullpen sometime in 2022. Those three players are Danny Coulombe, Jake Faria, and Trevor Megill. All three have an invitation to spring training with the hopes of making the Twins Opening Day roster. If Coulombe pitches in a game for them in 2022, it will be his third season in a row with appearances for the Twins. Coulombe had two relief appearances in 2020 and made 29 more in 2021. He posted a 3.67 ERA and 8.7 K/9 in 2021.. Hours before the lockout, the Twins signed Jake Faria. Faria missed the 2020 season and pitched for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2021, making three starts and 20 relief appearances. In 2021, he had a 5.51 ERA, 1.59 WHIP, and 2.46 K/BB ratio. However, Faria is still a no-risk, high-rewarded signing for the Twins. Finally, there's Trevor Megill. Megill's time with the Twins started oddly as the Twins released him hours after claiming him off waivers from the Chicago Cubs. A few days later, on Megill's birthday, the Twins re-signed him to a minor-league deal. The burly right-hander made his MLB debut in 2021 and struggled in his 28 relief appearances. Megill is big and strong. He throws hard and has a good slider. The Twins will work with him, presumably, on his mechanics and possibly his pitch mix and hope he can make a breakthrough in 2022. How does the Twins Bullpen Stand as of today for 2022? Grading the Twins bullpen as it is right now, they are an average bullpen, and that is assuming health and that generally everyone in their bullpen will be at their peak performance in 2022. Realistically, they're more of a C- bullpen without any further additions after the lockout. As mentioned earlier and in other Twins Daily articles, Richard Rodriguez would be a fine addition to the Twins bullpen. Other names in the reliever free-agent market that might be worth pursuing include Brad Boxberger, Joe Smith, and Joe Kelly. Any reliever who has had postseason experience would be a great addition for the Twins, even if they don't compete in 2022. But having another reliever with that experience with a different to mentor Twins relievers who will be around after 2022 will pay off for the future. So if the season started today, how do you think the Twins bullpen as currently constructed? View full article
  8. Bullpens have become the most overworked position in baseball in the last five years, and the Twins bullpen was a perfect example of overworked relievers in 2021. Of the 1,419 1/3 innings pitched from the Twins pitching staff in 2021, Twins relievers pitched approximately 617 2/3 innings pitched, or 43.5% of innings pitched. Relief pitchers making up around 40% of an MLB team's innings pitched is not uncommon in baseball today. However, it depends on who is in each team's bullpen which sets the postseason competitors, the tanking teams, and those in-between apart. The 2021 Twins bullpen falls into the in-between category, and how the front office decides to gear up the bullpen for 2022 post-lockout may be a deciding factor for how they sit in the AL Central for 2022. The Closer The Twins bullpen is far from being the worst in baseball. They have an all-star high-leverage reliever with Taylor Rogers. Rogers did miss the final two months of the season due to his finger injury in August, but he expects to be ready to go by the season's start (whenever that may be). Rogers was not the consistent closer for the Twins last season, as many remember the shuffling between him, Alex Colome, and Hansel Robles. Before his thumb injury, Rogers was beginning to see more save opportunities in games than he had earlier in the season, having three of them in his final six appearances. Suppose the Twins front office does not intend to check in on free-agent closers, such as Ian Kennedy or Richard Rodriguez, after the lockout then Rogers will likely get the nod to be the closer again in 2022. Reliable Veterans The Twins had two reliable veteran relievers in 2021 that will carry over into the same roles for 2022. Those pitchers are Tyler Duffey and Caleb Thielbar. Both Duffey and Thielbar posted solid numbers in 2021, even with some shaky outings at the start of the season. Duffey ended the season with a 3.18 ERA, .216 opponents batting average, and 8.8 K per 9. Going into his age-31 season, Duffey still looks to be one of the primary setup men for the Twins bullpen to start the 2022 season. Thielbar was the most reliable left-handed reliever for the Twins throughout the 2021 season and will likely maintain that role alongside Rogers for 2022. Thielbar's return to the big leagues full-time in 2020 was one of the best feel-good stories in a season that was really needed in the year that was. And thanks to his 3.23 ERA, 10.8 K per 9, and 1.17 WHIP from 2021.Thielbar will likely be the go-to lefty for the Twins bullpen in 2022 depending on Rogers’ role.. Bounceback Players If there's one Twins pitcher who would like to put 2021 behind him above all the rest, it would be Randy Dobnak. Dobnak's injuries throughout 2021 were already keeping him off the field. And when he was healthy, Dobnak was not the same pitcher Twins fans became accustomed to seeing from their homes in 2020. As the Twins rotation currently sits, Dobnak is more likely to see time as a starter than a reliever with only one rotation addition in Dylan Bundy. Still, Dobnak could see some time in the bullpen whether the Twins decided to add another starter or not. If he does, it's not only a matter of getting more appearances out of the bullpen when healthy but also proving his 2021 numbers were a temporary fork in the road. Dobnak is not the only pitcher in the Twins bullpen looking for a bounceback in 2022. One of the Twins' new additions, Jharel Cotton, fits into this category too. Cotton returned to the Majors for the first time since 2017, getting time with the Texas Rangers in 2021. Cotton had not pitched back-to-back seasons professionally since 2016-17 because he had Tommy John surgery in 2018 and missed all of 2020 with no minor league season. Cotton's return to MLB in 2021 was not too bad. Cotton posted a 3.52 ERA and 8.8 K/9 in 23 relief appearances with the Rangers. The big question is if he can repeat and improve upon his 2021 numbers in 2022? The Twins claimed him off waivers, believing that he can, and willing to provide him the opportunity. Young Faces Wanting to Prove Themselves Two younger relievers in the Twins bullpen are still wanting to prove themselves as big-league relievers. They are Jorge Alcala and Ralph Garza Jr. Alcala has accumulated just over two years of MLB service time . In that time, he has pitched in 77 games over parts of three seasons. 2021 was Alcala's first full season, and he was streaky. There were times when Alcala was an excellent option for the Twins, and there were others where he struggled. At season’s end, Alcala had 9.2 K/9, a .214 opponents batting average, and 0.97 WHIP. Alcala has the talent to improve in 2022 to become one of the more reliable Twins relievers. Garza Jr. was an unexpected contributor last season who showed moments when he could be a reliable option for the Twins as the 2021 season dwindled. He had nine relief appearances with the Astros before the Twins claimed him off waivers on August 4th. Garza totaled 18 relief appearances as a Twin, putting together a 3.26 ERA, a .186 opponents batting average, and a 1.03 WHIP. Garza Jr. hopes to have his first full season in the majors for 2022 and show that his brief time with the Twins so far won't just be a flash in the pan. Minor League Options Three notable players signed to minor league deals with the Twins are likely to be seen in their bullpen sometime in 2022. Those three players are Danny Coulombe, Jake Faria, and Trevor Megill. All three have an invitation to spring training with the hopes of making the Twins Opening Day roster. If Coulombe pitches in a game for them in 2022, it will be his third season in a row with appearances for the Twins. Coulombe had two relief appearances in 2020 and made 29 more in 2021. He posted a 3.67 ERA and 8.7 K/9 in 2021.. Hours before the lockout, the Twins signed Jake Faria. Faria missed the 2020 season and pitched for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2021, making three starts and 20 relief appearances. In 2021, he had a 5.51 ERA, 1.59 WHIP, and 2.46 K/BB ratio. However, Faria is still a no-risk, high-rewarded signing for the Twins. Finally, there's Trevor Megill. Megill's time with the Twins started oddly as the Twins released him hours after claiming him off waivers from the Chicago Cubs. A few days later, on Megill's birthday, the Twins re-signed him to a minor-league deal. The burly right-hander made his MLB debut in 2021 and struggled in his 28 relief appearances. Megill is big and strong. He throws hard and has a good slider. The Twins will work with him, presumably, on his mechanics and possibly his pitch mix and hope he can make a breakthrough in 2022. How does the Twins Bullpen Stand as of today for 2022? Grading the Twins bullpen as it is right now, they are an average bullpen, and that is assuming health and that generally everyone in their bullpen will be at their peak performance in 2022. Realistically, they're more of a C- bullpen without any further additions after the lockout. As mentioned earlier and in other Twins Daily articles, Richard Rodriguez would be a fine addition to the Twins bullpen. Other names in the reliever free-agent market that might be worth pursuing include Brad Boxberger, Joe Smith, and Joe Kelly. Any reliever who has had postseason experience would be a great addition for the Twins, even if they don't compete in 2022. But having another reliever with that experience with a different to mentor Twins relievers who will be around after 2022 will pay off for the future. So if the season started today, how do you think the Twins bullpen as currently constructed?
  9. By 7:00 pm tonight, the Twins and the other 29 MLB teams will have to make the decision whether or not to tender 2022 contracts. The decision has been made on several players, including Byron Buxton, but there are still decisions to be made. This article will be updated as we learn about each player's situation. Check each player's section for updates. For more on each of these arbitration-eligible players, you can read much more in The Question: To Tender or Not To Tender. Here is the quick summary: John Gant cleared waivers and became a free agent. Rob Refsnyder was DFAd and became a free agent. Willians Astudillo was DFAd, cleared waviers and was released. Jake Cave signed a one year, $800,000 for 2022. In addition to those four arbitration-eligible players, lefty Devin Smeltzer was DFAd, cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A. You might have heard, the Twins have agreed to terms with Byron Buxton on a seven-year, $100 million contract extension which also includes some creative, interesting incentives. But there is more work to be done, and today (Tuesday) should be an interesting day. The team still have to make decisions on seven more arbitration-eligible players. Here is some information on each of those players (mostly from Sunday's article), but we will have a spot ready to update whenever we hear any news on any of the players. Also, be sure to vote on whether or not you would a.) Tender a contract, b.) Non-tender the player, or c.) Try to reach an agreement at a lower dollar value. If player won't, then non-tender. LUIS ARRAEZ - UT (24) Service Time: 2 years, 121 days Arbitration Year: 1st of 4 MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $2 million Twins Daily Offseason Handbook Prediction: $1.5 million JHAREL COTTON - RHP (30) Service Time: 3 years, 52 days Arbitration Year: 1st of 3 MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $1.2 million Twins Daily Offseason Handbook Prediction: N/A DANNY COULOMBE - LHP (32) Service Time: 3 years, 8 days Arbitration Year: 1st of 3 MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $800,000 Twins Daily Offseason Handbook Prediction: $1 million TYLER DUFFEY - RHP (31) Service Time: 5 years, 74 days Arbitration Year: 3rd of 3 MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $3.7 million Twins Daily Offseason Handbook Prediction: $3.5 million MITCH GARVER - C (31) Service Time: 4 years, 45 days Arbitration Year: 2nd of 3 MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $3.1 million Twins Daily Offseason Handbook Prediction: $3.5 million JUAN MINAYA - RHP (31) Service Time: 2 years, 140 days Arbitration Year: 1st of 3 MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $1.1 million Twins Daily Offseason Handbook Prediction: $1 million TAYLOR ROGERS - LHP (31) Service Time: 5 years, 145 days Arbitration Year: 4th of 4 MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $6.7 million Twins Daily Offseason Handbook Prediction: $7 million CALEB THIELBAR - LHP (35) Service Time: 3 years, 131 days Arbitration Year: 2nd of 4 MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $1.2 million Twins Daily Offseason Handbook Prediction: $1.5 million Again, we will update this article throughout the day on Tuesday until we learn what the resolution is for each player. There may be some agreements, maybe even multi-year deals. There will be contracts tendered without an agreement. At that point, numbers will be exchanged by the team and the player. There are likely to be a non-tender or two as well which will make those players free agents immediately, like happened with Eddie Rosario a year ago. View full article
  10. For more on each of these arbitration-eligible players, you can read much more in The Question: To Tender or Not To Tender. Here is the quick summary: John Gant cleared waivers and became a free agent. Rob Refsnyder was DFAd and became a free agent. Willians Astudillo was DFAd, cleared waviers and was released. Jake Cave signed a one year, $800,000 for 2022. In addition to those four arbitration-eligible players, lefty Devin Smeltzer was DFAd, cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A. You might have heard, the Twins have agreed to terms with Byron Buxton on a seven-year, $100 million contract extension which also includes some creative, interesting incentives. But there is more work to be done, and today (Tuesday) should be an interesting day. The team still have to make decisions on seven more arbitration-eligible players. Here is some information on each of those players (mostly from Sunday's article), but we will have a spot ready to update whenever we hear any news on any of the players. Also, be sure to vote on whether or not you would a.) Tender a contract, b.) Non-tender the player, or c.) Try to reach an agreement at a lower dollar value. If player won't, then non-tender. LUIS ARRAEZ - UT (24) Service Time: 2 years, 121 days Arbitration Year: 1st of 4 MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $2 million Twins Daily Offseason Handbook Prediction: $1.5 million JHAREL COTTON - RHP (30) Service Time: 3 years, 52 days Arbitration Year: 1st of 3 MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $1.2 million Twins Daily Offseason Handbook Prediction: N/A DANNY COULOMBE - LHP (32) Service Time: 3 years, 8 days Arbitration Year: 1st of 3 MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $800,000 Twins Daily Offseason Handbook Prediction: $1 million TYLER DUFFEY - RHP (31) Service Time: 5 years, 74 days Arbitration Year: 3rd of 3 MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $3.7 million Twins Daily Offseason Handbook Prediction: $3.5 million MITCH GARVER - C (31) Service Time: 4 years, 45 days Arbitration Year: 2nd of 3 MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $3.1 million Twins Daily Offseason Handbook Prediction: $3.5 million JUAN MINAYA - RHP (31) Service Time: 2 years, 140 days Arbitration Year: 1st of 3 MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $1.1 million Twins Daily Offseason Handbook Prediction: $1 million TAYLOR ROGERS - LHP (31) Service Time: 5 years, 145 days Arbitration Year: 4th of 4 MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $6.7 million Twins Daily Offseason Handbook Prediction: $7 million CALEB THIELBAR - LHP (35) Service Time: 3 years, 131 days Arbitration Year: 2nd of 4 MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $1.2 million Twins Daily Offseason Handbook Prediction: $1.5 million Again, we will update this article throughout the day on Tuesday until we learn what the resolution is for each player. There may be some agreements, maybe even multi-year deals. There will be contracts tendered without an agreement. At that point, numbers will be exchanged by the team and the player. There are likely to be a non-tender or two as well which will make those players free agents immediately, like happened with Eddie Rosario a year ago.
  11. MLB and the Players Association agreed last week to move the deadline for offering 2022 contracts to arbitration-eligible players from Thursday, December 2nd, to Tuesday, November 30th, and 7 pm central time. The Twins have several decisions to make. What should they do? What would you do? The Twins have already made several transactions that have altered their list of arbitration-eligible players. Early in November, the Twins decided to put right-handed pitcher John Gant on waivers. When he cleared, he elected to become a free agent. Gant came to the Twins at the July trade deadline as part of the J.A. Happ trade. He was set to make approximately $3.7 million in his final season of arbitration. Outfielder Rob Refsnyder played like a Legend for a while after the Twins called him up, even playing a lot of center field. However, after a couple of injuries, including a concussion, he wasn’t able to repeat that performance. The minor league veteran was projected to make about $800,000, but the Twins DFAd him this month too. It became a talker, but the Twins signed outfielder Jake Cave to a one-year, $800,000 deal for 2022. Like all arbitration deals, it isn’t completely guaranteed. Finally, just last week, the Twins DFAd the fan-favorite, Williams Astudillo. Set to make a projected 2022 salary around $1.2 million in his first arbitration season. Since he hasn’t hit since his debut season in 2018 and has little defensive value, it was an easy decision to remove him from the roster and after he cleared waivers, they simply released him. And then the Twins claimed right-handed pitcher Jharel Cotton from the Texas Rangers in early November. Let’s take a look at him and the other arbitration-eligible Twins players that the Twins have a decision to make before Tuesday’s deadline. (in alphabetical order, note: age on April 1, 2022) LUIS ARRAEZ - UT (24) Service Time: 2 years, 121 days Arbitration Year: 1st of 4 MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $2 million Twins Daily Offseason Handbook Prediction: $1.5 million Why Tender? Though Arraez struggled late in 2021 and ended out with a batting average below .300 for the first time in his professional career. He can play in left field and second base, and actually had a solid season playing third base in 2021. On the other side of his case, he had several IL trips again due to his knees and legs. Likelihood to be Tendered: 10 Summary: Just over the weekend, we learned that MLB had set the “Super 2” line at 2.116 (two years, 116 days) service time. Fortunately, the Twins' brass doesn't need to spend much time thinking about whether or not to tender a 2022 contract to Arraez. It's a given. What is his future with the organization? Could he be traded? If not, what position will he play, or will he continue to play all around the diamond? All to be figured out... after that contract is tendered on Tuesday. BYRON BUXTON - CF (28) Service Time: 5 years, 160 days Arbitration Year: 4th of 4 MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $7.3 million Twins Daily Offseason Handbook Prediction: $8 million Why Tender? Because he’s Byron Buxton. Because his 2022 salary will be minimal relative to the value he will and has provided. Because they can then continue negotiating a potential long-term deal. Because even if they don’t reach a deal, he can easily be traded for a very nice return. Likelihood to be Tendered (1 unlikely to 10 very likely): 10. Easy choice. Summary: This one will require very little thought. What happens beyond tendering hims a 2022 contract has been the topic of debate for the past six months. JHAREL COTTON - RHP (30) Service Time: 3 years, 52 days Arbitration Year: 1st of 3 MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $1.2 million Twins Daily Offseason Handbook Prediction: N/A Why Tender? Because he showed some good stuff out of the Rangers bullpen in his return to the big leagues following Tommy John surgery. Because of what he had shown as a starter in Oakland early in his career. Because he’s got a good fastball, but a great changeup. Likelihood to be Tendered: 5 Summary: There are reasons to believe that Cotton could be a solid middle-relief pitcher option, and who knows, maybe the Twins think that he could be healthy enough to get back to starting and be an option for a back of the Twins rotation too. However, the Twins may also ask for Cotton to agree to a 1 year, $900,000 or $1 million deal, and if he accepts, great. If not, non-tendered and he becomes a free agent. DANNY COULOMBE - LHP (32) Service Time: 3 years, 8 days Arbitration Year: 1st of 3 MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $800,000 Twins Daily Offseason Handbook Prediction: $1 million Why Tender? Coulombe isn’t an exciting pitcher, but he’s long been a solid MLB left-handed reliever, and he pitched well for the Twins in the second half. Had quite a bit of MLB success before injury including being used very often for Oakland for a couple of seasons. He is very similar to Caleb Thielbar, so again, is it necessary to have another lefty in a ‘pen that already should include Thielbar and Taylor Rogers, with Jovani Moran in the near-ready position as well? Likelihood to Tender: 6 Summary: Coulombe has been better than most Twins fans probably think. He’s just solid with limited upside. For $800,000, little reason not to tender him. That said, they may do what they did with Thielbar a year ago and lock him up to a deal below projection. TYLER DUFFEY - RHP (31) Service Time: 5 years, 74 days Arbitration Year: 3rd of 3 MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $3.7 million Twins Daily Offseason Handbook Prediction: $3.5 million Why Tender? Duffey’s velocity may have been down a little bit in 2021, but he still put up solid numbers. He ranked right up there with the top relievers in baseball over the past three seasons. Hasn’t received many Save opportunities, which certainly keeps his arbitration salary down, but he’s been used in high-leverage situations. Can they reach an agreement on a one-year deal before an arbitration hearing? Could they look to lock up Duffey for two or three seasons? (maybe a two-year, $7 million deal, or even a three-year, $12 million deal). Likelihood to Tender: 9 Summary: Another easy decision because even if things go poorly, he should have some trade value so non-tendering makes no sense. With so many question marks in the Twins bullpen, losing Duffey would make things even more difficult. MITCH GARVER - C (31) Service Time: 4 years, 45 days Arbitration Year: 2nd of 3 MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $3.1 million Twins Daily Offseason Handbook Prediction: $3.5 million Why Tender? Remember his 2019 season? Well, after a poor April, Garver returned to that high-level, 2019 form for much of the rest of the season. The lone concern is an injury history that really hurt him in 2020, but also a couple of times during the 2021 season. Garver’s name shows up in some trade rumors this offseason, and teams would likely line up if the Twins made it known he was available. Likelihood to Tender: 10 Summary; An easy decision to tender him a contract. Likely a much more intense conversation has likely occurred regarding the future of the Twins catcher position. While the idea of a Garver/Ryan Jeffers even split of playing time makes a ton of sense in theory, would it work in reality? Or, could the fact that they have both of them, along with Ben Rortvedt in Triple-A and clearly the best defensive catcher of the three, maybe one could be dealt in the offseason for some pitching. None of that alters how easy the decision will be to tender Garver. JUAN MINAYA - RHP (31) Service Time: 2 years, 140 days Arbitration Year: 1st of 3 MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $1.1 million Twins Daily Offseason Handbook Prediction: $1 million Why Tender? Minaya came up to the Twins in the season’s second half and really performed well. He showed good life on his pitches and was put into some big situations. The interesting thing is that he pitched much better for the Twins than he did in his time with the Saints. He had some good years with the White Sox. He has had some control issues in his career, but he’s also very capable of racking up strikeouts. Likelihood to Tender: 6 Summary: Minaya was certainly a nice surprise for the Twins in the second half of the season, but was that enough to tender a seven-digit deal? Like Cotton and Coulombe, it might be another case where the Twins offer him $900,000 to $1 million for 2022, and if he takes it, great. If not, he can be non-tendered. TAYLOR ROGERS - LHP (31) Service Time: 5 years, 145 days Arbitration Year: 4th of 4 MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $6.7 million Twins Daily Offseason Handbook Prediction: $7 million Why Tender? I think we would start with the fact that he has been one of the best relievers in baseball over the past four or five seasons. Aside from some struggles in the shortened-2020 season, he’s been very good. He also has been very healthy until his late-July finder injury that cost him the final two months of the 2022 season. The lone question regarding Rogers will be how he recovers and returns from the finger injury since he did not have surgery. Likelihood to Tender: 9 Summary: Another easy choice. Reports indicated that teams were still interested in trading for Rogers, even after he got hurt. They certainly can trade him in the offseason or in July should they choose to do so. I personally think there should also be extension thoughts with Rogers. He’s become a leader on the team, and has earned it based on production. Of course, Aaron Loup getting two years and $17 million might tell us that Rogers should get quite a bit more than that. However, I would offer him a three-year, $24 million deal with an option at $9 million for a fourth year. CALEB THIELBAR - LHP (35) Service Time: 3 years, 131 days Arbitration Year: 2nd of 4 MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $1.2 million Twins Daily Offseason Handbook Prediction: $1.5 million Why Tender? By the end of the 2021 season, the Minnesota native was Rocco Baldelli and Wes Johnson’s most relied upon, if not reliable, bullpen arm. He really increased his ability to miss bats. His fastball sat between 91 and 95 mph, and that slow, 68 mph curveball is a good pitch to go with a strong slider. Likelihood to Tender: 8 Summary: Another easy choice. Just offer it to him, work on a good deal and call it good. Because of his age and that he’s got a few more seasons before free agency, there is no reason to do anything but go year-to-year with him. How long will the Twins be able to keep Thielbar away from a college coaching career? Your turn. If you’re in charge, would you tender contracts to all of these players? What kind of deals would you like to see? Discuss. View full article
  12. The Twins have already made several transactions that have altered their list of arbitration-eligible players. Early in November, the Twins decided to put right-handed pitcher John Gant on waivers. When he cleared, he elected to become a free agent. Gant came to the Twins at the July trade deadline as part of the J.A. Happ trade. He was set to make approximately $3.7 million in his final season of arbitration. Outfielder Rob Refsnyder played like a Legend for a while after the Twins called him up, even playing a lot of center field. However, after a couple of injuries, including a concussion, he wasn’t able to repeat that performance. The minor league veteran was projected to make about $800,000, but the Twins DFAd him this month too. It became a talker, but the Twins signed outfielder Jake Cave to a one-year, $800,000 deal for 2022. Like all arbitration deals, it isn’t completely guaranteed. Finally, just last week, the Twins DFAd the fan-favorite, Williams Astudillo. Set to make a projected 2022 salary around $1.2 million in his first arbitration season. Since he hasn’t hit since his debut season in 2018 and has little defensive value, it was an easy decision to remove him from the roster and after he cleared waivers, they simply released him. And then the Twins claimed right-handed pitcher Jharel Cotton from the Texas Rangers in early November. Let’s take a look at him and the other arbitration-eligible Twins players that the Twins have a decision to make before Tuesday’s deadline. (in alphabetical order, note: age on April 1, 2022) LUIS ARRAEZ - UT (24) Service Time: 2 years, 121 days Arbitration Year: 1st of 4 MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $2 million Twins Daily Offseason Handbook Prediction: $1.5 million Why Tender? Though Arraez struggled late in 2021 and ended out with a batting average below .300 for the first time in his professional career. He can play in left field and second base, and actually had a solid season playing third base in 2021. On the other side of his case, he had several IL trips again due to his knees and legs. Likelihood to be Tendered: 10 Summary: Just over the weekend, we learned that MLB had set the “Super 2” line at 2.116 (two years, 116 days) service time. Fortunately, the Twins' brass doesn't need to spend much time thinking about whether or not to tender a 2022 contract to Arraez. It's a given. What is his future with the organization? Could he be traded? If not, what position will he play, or will he continue to play all around the diamond? All to be figured out... after that contract is tendered on Tuesday. BYRON BUXTON - CF (28) Service Time: 5 years, 160 days Arbitration Year: 4th of 4 MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $7.3 million Twins Daily Offseason Handbook Prediction: $8 million Why Tender? Because he’s Byron Buxton. Because his 2022 salary will be minimal relative to the value he will and has provided. Because they can then continue negotiating a potential long-term deal. Because even if they don’t reach a deal, he can easily be traded for a very nice return. Likelihood to be Tendered (1 unlikely to 10 very likely): 10. Easy choice. Summary: This one will require very little thought. What happens beyond tendering hims a 2022 contract has been the topic of debate for the past six months. JHAREL COTTON - RHP (30) Service Time: 3 years, 52 days Arbitration Year: 1st of 3 MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $1.2 million Twins Daily Offseason Handbook Prediction: N/A Why Tender? Because he showed some good stuff out of the Rangers bullpen in his return to the big leagues following Tommy John surgery. Because of what he had shown as a starter in Oakland early in his career. Because he’s got a good fastball, but a great changeup. Likelihood to be Tendered: 5 Summary: There are reasons to believe that Cotton could be a solid middle-relief pitcher option, and who knows, maybe the Twins think that he could be healthy enough to get back to starting and be an option for a back of the Twins rotation too. However, the Twins may also ask for Cotton to agree to a 1 year, $900,000 or $1 million deal, and if he accepts, great. If not, non-tendered and he becomes a free agent. DANNY COULOMBE - LHP (32) Service Time: 3 years, 8 days Arbitration Year: 1st of 3 MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $800,000 Twins Daily Offseason Handbook Prediction: $1 million Why Tender? Coulombe isn’t an exciting pitcher, but he’s long been a solid MLB left-handed reliever, and he pitched well for the Twins in the second half. Had quite a bit of MLB success before injury including being used very often for Oakland for a couple of seasons. He is very similar to Caleb Thielbar, so again, is it necessary to have another lefty in a ‘pen that already should include Thielbar and Taylor Rogers, with Jovani Moran in the near-ready position as well? Likelihood to Tender: 6 Summary: Coulombe has been better than most Twins fans probably think. He’s just solid with limited upside. For $800,000, little reason not to tender him. That said, they may do what they did with Thielbar a year ago and lock him up to a deal below projection. TYLER DUFFEY - RHP (31) Service Time: 5 years, 74 days Arbitration Year: 3rd of 3 MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $3.7 million Twins Daily Offseason Handbook Prediction: $3.5 million Why Tender? Duffey’s velocity may have been down a little bit in 2021, but he still put up solid numbers. He ranked right up there with the top relievers in baseball over the past three seasons. Hasn’t received many Save opportunities, which certainly keeps his arbitration salary down, but he’s been used in high-leverage situations. Can they reach an agreement on a one-year deal before an arbitration hearing? Could they look to lock up Duffey for two or three seasons? (maybe a two-year, $7 million deal, or even a three-year, $12 million deal). Likelihood to Tender: 9 Summary: Another easy decision because even if things go poorly, he should have some trade value so non-tendering makes no sense. With so many question marks in the Twins bullpen, losing Duffey would make things even more difficult. MITCH GARVER - C (31) Service Time: 4 years, 45 days Arbitration Year: 2nd of 3 MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $3.1 million Twins Daily Offseason Handbook Prediction: $3.5 million Why Tender? Remember his 2019 season? Well, after a poor April, Garver returned to that high-level, 2019 form for much of the rest of the season. The lone concern is an injury history that really hurt him in 2020, but also a couple of times during the 2021 season. Garver’s name shows up in some trade rumors this offseason, and teams would likely line up if the Twins made it known he was available. Likelihood to Tender: 10 Summary; An easy decision to tender him a contract. Likely a much more intense conversation has likely occurred regarding the future of the Twins catcher position. While the idea of a Garver/Ryan Jeffers even split of playing time makes a ton of sense in theory, would it work in reality? Or, could the fact that they have both of them, along with Ben Rortvedt in Triple-A and clearly the best defensive catcher of the three, maybe one could be dealt in the offseason for some pitching. None of that alters how easy the decision will be to tender Garver. JUAN MINAYA - RHP (31) Service Time: 2 years, 140 days Arbitration Year: 1st of 3 MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $1.1 million Twins Daily Offseason Handbook Prediction: $1 million Why Tender? Minaya came up to the Twins in the season’s second half and really performed well. He showed good life on his pitches and was put into some big situations. The interesting thing is that he pitched much better for the Twins than he did in his time with the Saints. He had some good years with the White Sox. He has had some control issues in his career, but he’s also very capable of racking up strikeouts. Likelihood to Tender: 6 Summary: Minaya was certainly a nice surprise for the Twins in the second half of the season, but was that enough to tender a seven-digit deal? Like Cotton and Coulombe, it might be another case where the Twins offer him $900,000 to $1 million for 2022, and if he takes it, great. If not, he can be non-tendered. TAYLOR ROGERS - LHP (31) Service Time: 5 years, 145 days Arbitration Year: 4th of 4 MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $6.7 million Twins Daily Offseason Handbook Prediction: $7 million Why Tender? I think we would start with the fact that he has been one of the best relievers in baseball over the past four or five seasons. Aside from some struggles in the shortened-2020 season, he’s been very good. He also has been very healthy until his late-July finder injury that cost him the final two months of the 2022 season. The lone question regarding Rogers will be how he recovers and returns from the finger injury since he did not have surgery. Likelihood to Tender: 9 Summary: Another easy choice. Reports indicated that teams were still interested in trading for Rogers, even after he got hurt. They certainly can trade him in the offseason or in July should they choose to do so. I personally think there should also be extension thoughts with Rogers. He’s become a leader on the team, and has earned it based on production. Of course, Aaron Loup getting two years and $17 million might tell us that Rogers should get quite a bit more than that. However, I would offer him a three-year, $24 million deal with an option at $9 million for a fourth year. CALEB THIELBAR - LHP (35) Service Time: 3 years, 131 days Arbitration Year: 2nd of 4 MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $1.2 million Twins Daily Offseason Handbook Prediction: $1.5 million Why Tender? By the end of the 2021 season, the Minnesota native was Rocco Baldelli and Wes Johnson’s most relied upon, if not reliable, bullpen arm. He really increased his ability to miss bats. His fastball sat between 91 and 95 mph, and that slow, 68 mph curveball is a good pitch to go with a strong slider. Likelihood to Tender: 8 Summary: Another easy choice. Just offer it to him, work on a good deal and call it good. Because of his age and that he’s got a few more seasons before free agency, there is no reason to do anything but go year-to-year with him. How long will the Twins be able to keep Thielbar away from a college coaching career? Your turn. If you’re in charge, would you tender contracts to all of these players? What kind of deals would you like to see? Discuss.
  13. The Twins expected to have another great bullpen in 2021. It ended up being a tale of two halves, with much of the group struggling out of the gate before settling in. How did each member grade? TAYLOR ROGERS 2021: 40 1/3 IP, 3.35 ERA (128 ERA+), 2.13 FIP, 35% K, 5% BB Rogers bounced back from a rough 2020 as the Twins’ steadiest bullpen piece throughout the first half. Over his first 35 appearances, Rogers posted a 2.45 ERA and 2.02 FIP while holding opponents to a .600 OPS. The All-Star lefty then gave up five runs over his next 1 2/3 innings, including a grand slam in the Twins’ last game before the break. Rogers’ season ended shortly after due to a sprained finger. The ERA paints a much worse picture for Rogers in 2021, but he was essentially the same weapon he’s been for much of his career. Even then, his looming ~$7 million price tag and finger injury could give the Twins a tricky decision on arbitration day. GRADE: A- TYLER DUFFEY 2021: 62 1/3 IP, 3.18 ERA (134 ERA+), 3.49 FIP, 24% K, 11% BB Duffey entered 2021 as one of the game’s best set-up men with a remarkable 2.31 ERA and 34% strikeout rate in 2019 and 2020 combined. Alarmingly, Duffey’s velocity was down this spring, raising questions about his arm heading into Opening Day. Those concerns were valid. Duffey posted a 5.87 ERA and 20% strikeout rate over his first 15+ innings of the season. His velocity dwindled, and his luster as a lockdown set-up man was on shaky ground. Fortunately, Duffey bounced back with a 2.30 ERA over his last 47 innings, solidifying himself back in the top-25 among American League relievers. Still, his fastball velocity is down over a tick from 2019, and he walked way too many. GRADE: B- JORGE ALCALA 2021: 59 2/3 IP, 3.92 ERA (109 ERA+), 4.06 FIP, 27% K, 6% BB Alcala was terrific in the shortened 2020 season, posting a 2.63 ERA and 29% strikeout rate in 24 innings. A full season breakout felt viable in 2021 for the hard-throwing right-hander. Like Duffey, Alcala got off to a plodding start, evidenced by a 5.73 ERA and .464 opponent’s slugging percentage in his first 40 games. Alcala struck out just 22% of hitters during that span. Alcala’s stuff is too good for such inflated numbers. With improved command in his final 22 innings, Alcala allowed just two runs (0.82 ERA) while striking out 27 and walking only three of the 77 batters he faced. GRADE: B- CALEB THIELBAR 2021: 64 IP, 3.23 ERA (132 ERA+), 3.47 FIP, 29% K, 7.5% BB One of the best stories of the 60-game campaign, Thielbar posted a 2.25 ERA and 2.34 FIP in his first 20 Major League innings since 2015. Thielbar continued a strong 2020 season immediately in 2021. He struck out nine and walked none over his first 4 1/3 scoreless innings. Thielbar subsequently allowed 15 runs over his next 27 innings, contributing to a shaky Twins bullpen. The Northfield native then put together an outstanding second half. He produced a 1.76 ERA with a 25% strikeout rate after the break. Thielbar emerged as the Twins’ best left-handed reliever after Rogers went on the injured list. His spot on next year’s team feels secure. GRADE: A ALEXANDER COLOMÉ 2021: 65 IP, 4.15 ERA (103 ERA+), 4.23 FIP, 20% K, 8% BB The Twins signed Colomé to be the pitcher he’d been over his entire eight-year career. Colomé owned a 2.95 ERA and saved 138 games before signing with Minnesota last offseason. His debut couldn’t have gone any worse. Starting with a blown save on Opening Day, Colomé allowed 16 runs and five homers over his first 26 2/3 innings with the Twins. His Win Probability Added was a staggering -2.29. Colomé eventually found his stride and pitched much better down the stretch, with a 3.29 ERA and 3.38 FIP over his last 38 games. Colomé served as the Twins’ primary closer and saved 15 of 19 games from late June to the end of the season. GRADE: D+ JUAN MINAYA 2021: 40 IP, 2.48 ERA (173 ERA+), 3.97 FIP, 26% K, 12% BB Opponents hit .189 with a .624 OPS against Minaya, whom the Twins signed to a Minor League deal before the season. He upped the usage of his outstanding changeup, which increased the effectiveness of his mid-90s fastball. Minaya had previous Major League success with the White Sox, but this was his best season. His ground-ball rate rose to a tremendous 55%, and he posted a career-high 1.1 Wins Above Replacement. Minaya’s peripherals - a 3.97 FIP in particular - create some uncertainty for sustaining success in 2022. Either way, the Twins have a ~$1 million decision to make, and there’s certainly space for him in the bullpen. GRADE: A HANSEL ROBLES 2021: 44 IP, 4.91 ERA (87 ERA+), 4.83 FIP, 23% K, 13% BB Robles had a disastrous 2020 season for the Angels after a stellar 2019 where he posted a 2.48 ERA and saved 23 games. The Twins signed him for $2 million, betting that the Covid season was an outlier for the hard-throwing veteran. It looked that way early. Robles was fantastic with a 2.83 ERA through June 12th. Opponents hit .172/.305/.283 off him during that span. Unfortunately, iffy command caught up to him and previously escaped jams no longer were. Robles allowed 15 runs over his next 15 1/3 innings and slashed much of the trade value he previously had. The Twins moved him to the Red Sox at the deadline for RHP Alex Scherff, and Robles pitched reasonably well down the stretch with a 3.60 ERA and 30% strikeout rate. GRADE: D REPORT CARDS Starting Rotation Infield Outfield View full article
  14. TAYLOR ROGERS 2021: 40 1/3 IP, 3.35 ERA (128 ERA+), 2.13 FIP, 35% K, 5% BB Rogers bounced back from a rough 2020 as the Twins’ steadiest bullpen piece throughout the first half. Over his first 35 appearances, Rogers posted a 2.45 ERA and 2.02 FIP while holding opponents to a .600 OPS. The All-Star lefty then gave up five runs over his next 1 2/3 innings, including a grand slam in the Twins’ last game before the break. Rogers’ season ended shortly after due to a sprained finger. The ERA paints a much worse picture for Rogers in 2021, but he was essentially the same weapon he’s been for much of his career. Even then, his looming ~$7 million price tag and finger injury could give the Twins a tricky decision on arbitration day. GRADE: A- TYLER DUFFEY 2021: 62 1/3 IP, 3.18 ERA (134 ERA+), 3.49 FIP, 24% K, 11% BB Duffey entered 2021 as one of the game’s best set-up men with a remarkable 2.31 ERA and 34% strikeout rate in 2019 and 2020 combined. Alarmingly, Duffey’s velocity was down this spring, raising questions about his arm heading into Opening Day. Those concerns were valid. Duffey posted a 5.87 ERA and 20% strikeout rate over his first 15+ innings of the season. His velocity dwindled, and his luster as a lockdown set-up man was on shaky ground. Fortunately, Duffey bounced back with a 2.30 ERA over his last 47 innings, solidifying himself back in the top-25 among American League relievers. Still, his fastball velocity is down over a tick from 2019, and he walked way too many. GRADE: B- JORGE ALCALA 2021: 59 2/3 IP, 3.92 ERA (109 ERA+), 4.06 FIP, 27% K, 6% BB Alcala was terrific in the shortened 2020 season, posting a 2.63 ERA and 29% strikeout rate in 24 innings. A full season breakout felt viable in 2021 for the hard-throwing right-hander. Like Duffey, Alcala got off to a plodding start, evidenced by a 5.73 ERA and .464 opponent’s slugging percentage in his first 40 games. Alcala struck out just 22% of hitters during that span. Alcala’s stuff is too good for such inflated numbers. With improved command in his final 22 innings, Alcala allowed just two runs (0.82 ERA) while striking out 27 and walking only three of the 77 batters he faced. GRADE: B- CALEB THIELBAR 2021: 64 IP, 3.23 ERA (132 ERA+), 3.47 FIP, 29% K, 7.5% BB One of the best stories of the 60-game campaign, Thielbar posted a 2.25 ERA and 2.34 FIP in his first 20 Major League innings since 2015. Thielbar continued a strong 2020 season immediately in 2021. He struck out nine and walked none over his first 4 1/3 scoreless innings. Thielbar subsequently allowed 15 runs over his next 27 innings, contributing to a shaky Twins bullpen. The Northfield native then put together an outstanding second half. He produced a 1.76 ERA with a 25% strikeout rate after the break. Thielbar emerged as the Twins’ best left-handed reliever after Rogers went on the injured list. His spot on next year’s team feels secure. GRADE: A ALEXANDER COLOMÉ 2021: 65 IP, 4.15 ERA (103 ERA+), 4.23 FIP, 20% K, 8% BB The Twins signed Colomé to be the pitcher he’d been over his entire eight-year career. Colomé owned a 2.95 ERA and saved 138 games before signing with Minnesota last offseason. His debut couldn’t have gone any worse. Starting with a blown save on Opening Day, Colomé allowed 16 runs and five homers over his first 26 2/3 innings with the Twins. His Win Probability Added was a staggering -2.29. Colomé eventually found his stride and pitched much better down the stretch, with a 3.29 ERA and 3.38 FIP over his last 38 games. Colomé served as the Twins’ primary closer and saved 15 of 19 games from late June to the end of the season. GRADE: D+ JUAN MINAYA 2021: 40 IP, 2.48 ERA (173 ERA+), 3.97 FIP, 26% K, 12% BB Opponents hit .189 with a .624 OPS against Minaya, whom the Twins signed to a Minor League deal before the season. He upped the usage of his outstanding changeup, which increased the effectiveness of his mid-90s fastball. Minaya had previous Major League success with the White Sox, but this was his best season. His ground-ball rate rose to a tremendous 55%, and he posted a career-high 1.1 Wins Above Replacement. Minaya’s peripherals - a 3.97 FIP in particular - create some uncertainty for sustaining success in 2022. Either way, the Twins have a ~$1 million decision to make, and there’s certainly space for him in the bullpen. GRADE: A HANSEL ROBLES 2021: 44 IP, 4.91 ERA (87 ERA+), 4.83 FIP, 23% K, 13% BB Robles had a disastrous 2020 season for the Angels after a stellar 2019 where he posted a 2.48 ERA and saved 23 games. The Twins signed him for $2 million, betting that the Covid season was an outlier for the hard-throwing veteran. It looked that way early. Robles was fantastic with a 2.83 ERA through June 12th. Opponents hit .172/.305/.283 off him during that span. Unfortunately, iffy command caught up to him and previously escaped jams no longer were. Robles allowed 15 runs over his next 15 1/3 innings and slashed much of the trade value he previously had. The Twins moved him to the Red Sox at the deadline for RHP Alex Scherff, and Robles pitched reasonably well down the stretch with a 3.60 ERA and 30% strikeout rate. GRADE: D REPORT CARDS Starting Rotation Infield Outfield
  15. Nash Walker breaks down the performances of the 2021 Twins bullpen, one of the most disappointing aspects of the 2021 squad, particularly the first two months of the season.
  16. Nash Walker breaks down the performances of the 2021 Twins bullpen, one of the most disappointing aspects of the 2021 squad, particularly the first two months of the season. View full video
  17. The Minnesota Twins have a number of players eligible for arbitration this offseason, here's a rundown of my thoughts on each of them. Players include Byron Buxton, Taylor Rogers, Tyler Duffey, John Gant, Mitch Garver, Caleb Thielbar, Rob Refsnyder, Jake Cave, Danny Coulombe, Willians Astudillo, Juan Minaya and Luis Arraez. Who are the non-tender candidates?
  18. The Minnesota Twins have a number of players eligible for arbitration this offseason, here's a rundown of my thoughts on each of them. Players include Byron Buxton, Taylor Rogers, Tyler Duffey, John Gant, Mitch Garver, Caleb Thielbar, Rob Refsnyder, Jake Cave, Danny Coulombe, Willians Astudillo, Juan Minaya and Luis Arraez. Who are the non-tender candidates? View full video
  19. Tyler Duffey was among the best relievers in all of baseball in 2019 and 2020 and was a valuable reliever in 2021 despite a bit of a step back. With one year of control remaining on the home-grown reliever, what does the future look like for the Doof? From 2019 to 2020, Tyler Duffey ranked second in all of baseball in ERA among all pitchers who had thrown at least 80 innings. He struck out over 12 batters per nine innings and became one of the most dominant and underrated bullpen arms in all of baseball. After Taylor Rogers struggled in 2020, some even believed Duffey should have been elevated to closing duties. 2021 hasn’t been quite the same for Duffey, although he’s still been a valuable arm. His strikeouts have dropped to under a batter per inning while his walks have ballooned to a career high of over four per nine innings. In short, Duffey just hasn't been consistent. His 0.7 fWAR in 2021 matches his 2020 mark despite throwing 35 more innings. Now over 30 years old and entering his last ride through arbitration, Duffey becomes an interesting case for 2022. Non-Tender After making a bit over $2m in 2021 it would be surprising to see the Twins scoff at a moderate pay increase for a reliever who’s been so solid. Still, it’s fair to wonder whether the front office has learned a lesson in hubris when it comes to bullpen building. It would raise some eyebrows, but they very well could look at Duffey’s age and stat line and believe there’s better value to be had elsewhere for $3-4m. While I wouldn’t advise non-tendering such a dependable reliever given the year the Twins just had, there’s a scenario where the front office would be correct in this decision. Relievers, in general, are volatile and Duffey is coming off of an inconsistent season with diminished velocity and is now over the age of 30. I think this is the least-likely scenario, but it’s definitely a possibility. Extension One way to avoid having to worry about arbitration and impending free agency is to work on an extension. Duffey and the Twins could hammer out a 2-3 year deal for a fairly insignificant figure that makes sense for both sides. Duffey would get security for the next two years and the Twins get the reassurance of one of their bullpen stalwarts staying for the next two years. Again, I see this as an unlikely scenario. Duffey looked far from on the top of his game throughout all of 2021, and I’d guess the Twins would have liked to see more from him in order to lock him up through his age 32 season. Reach a Deal The likeliest scenario is the Twins find the middle ground on a pre-arbitration one-year deal as they showed they like to do in the 2020 offseason. Duffey gets one last year guaranteed in Minnesota and the Twins get another year of a hopefully-reliable reliever with no further commitment into the future. This also allows the Twins to trade Duffey (something I thought they would have done this year) at the deadline if out of contention or even turn around and trade him before the season begins. The price would be the driving factor, but if a team sees their 2022 setup man and offers a fair price to bring him in, the Twins may just save the money and take the return. I think this outcome is increasingly likely if someone like Donaldson or Buxton are traded during the winter and the team shifts its outlook to 2023. Duffey’s had a storied career in Minnesota, but one way or another it may be nearing its end. The Twins have to assess which route best benefits the team moving forward, and it may not be as easy a decision as it would have been last offseason. How do you think the Twins should handle the Duffey situation? — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email — Follow Cody Pirkl on Twitter here View full article
  20. From 2019 to 2020, Tyler Duffey ranked second in all of baseball in ERA among all pitchers who had thrown at least 80 innings. He struck out over 12 batters per nine innings and became one of the most dominant and underrated bullpen arms in all of baseball. After Taylor Rogers struggled in 2020, some even believed Duffey should have been elevated to closing duties. 2021 hasn’t been quite the same for Duffey, although he’s still been a valuable arm. His strikeouts have dropped to under a batter per inning while his walks have ballooned to a career high of over four per nine innings. In short, Duffey just hasn't been consistent. His 0.7 fWAR in 2021 matches his 2020 mark despite throwing 35 more innings. Now over 30 years old and entering his last ride through arbitration, Duffey becomes an interesting case for 2022. Non-Tender After making a bit over $2m in 2021 it would be surprising to see the Twins scoff at a moderate pay increase for a reliever who’s been so solid. Still, it’s fair to wonder whether the front office has learned a lesson in hubris when it comes to bullpen building. It would raise some eyebrows, but they very well could look at Duffey’s age and stat line and believe there’s better value to be had elsewhere for $3-4m. While I wouldn’t advise non-tendering such a dependable reliever given the year the Twins just had, there’s a scenario where the front office would be correct in this decision. Relievers, in general, are volatile and Duffey is coming off of an inconsistent season with diminished velocity and is now over the age of 30. I think this is the least-likely scenario, but it’s definitely a possibility. Extension One way to avoid having to worry about arbitration and impending free agency is to work on an extension. Duffey and the Twins could hammer out a 2-3 year deal for a fairly insignificant figure that makes sense for both sides. Duffey would get security for the next two years and the Twins get the reassurance of one of their bullpen stalwarts staying for the next two years. Again, I see this as an unlikely scenario. Duffey looked far from on the top of his game throughout all of 2021, and I’d guess the Twins would have liked to see more from him in order to lock him up through his age 32 season. Reach a Deal The likeliest scenario is the Twins find the middle ground on a pre-arbitration one-year deal as they showed they like to do in the 2020 offseason. Duffey gets one last year guaranteed in Minnesota and the Twins get another year of a hopefully-reliable reliever with no further commitment into the future. This also allows the Twins to trade Duffey (something I thought they would have done this year) at the deadline if out of contention or even turn around and trade him before the season begins. The price would be the driving factor, but if a team sees their 2022 setup man and offers a fair price to bring him in, the Twins may just save the money and take the return. I think this outcome is increasingly likely if someone like Donaldson or Buxton are traded during the winter and the team shifts its outlook to 2023. Duffey’s had a storied career in Minnesota, but one way or another it may be nearing its end. The Twins have to assess which route best benefits the team moving forward, and it may not be as easy a decision as it would have been last offseason. How do you think the Twins should handle the Duffey situation? — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email — Follow Cody Pirkl on Twitter here
  21. Looking forward to 2022, the Minnesota Twins need some serious roster turnover on the pitching side of things. Their rotation will be entirely new from how it started in 2021, and the bullpen will also have fresh faces. Who survives in relief? For much of the early part of 2021, the relief pitching let Rocco Baldelli’s club down. Alex Colome was no longer close to his career numbers, and Tyler Duffey had seen substantial regression. The guys expected to step up failed to do so, and the Twins were left searching for answers on a near-nightly basis. There are a few givens are going into 2022, but a couple of guys have made cases for themselves to stick around despite potentially being on the outs previously. Derek Falvey has his work cut out for him, but the more he can count on internally, the less turnover the roster will ultimately need to experience. Here’s how I see the group: The Veterans - Taylor Rogers, Tyler Duffey It looked like a near-certainty that Rogers would be dealt at the deadline. That was before injury put him on the shelf and ended his season. He’ll return in 2022, and Minnesota will undoubtedly be hoping that he returns to form as one of the best lefties in the game. Duffey’s 3.45 ERA is fine on its own, but it’s a far cry from the 1.88 mark he put up just a year ago. Strikeouts are down, and walks are way up. If the Twins have a better unit, they need his best during the final year of arbitration. The Surprises - Caleb Thielbar, Juan Minaya, Luke Farrell, Danny Coulombe Thielbar has been the best of this group. All but retired from baseball and moving onto coaching, he emerged as an option in 2020. This season hasn’t been quite as good, but the 11.2 K/9 is going to play. He’s given up too many dingers, but as a crafty lefty option, there’s plenty to like here. Minaya made his way back to the big leagues this season and has a career-best 2.70 ERA. He’s not dominant by any means, but as a middle-inning guy that’s gotten it done before, he certainly could stick. Both Farrell and Coulombe were depth types for the Twins. Each has seen stretches of effectiveness, and while their ceilings are admittedly limited, one could lay claim to a spot in 2022. The Youth - Jorge Alcala, Ralph Garza, Jovani Moran Minnesota counted on Alcala to take a step forward this season. As a whole, the results have been underwhelming given the 4.20 ERA. However, his last 15 games have resulted in a 1.00 ERA and .501 OPS against. He has a 21/3 K/BB in his last 18 innings pitched. That’s the arm the Twins need out of the gate. Garza was a nice get from the Astros, and he’s been effective with the organization. His strikeout numbers are down some, but he’s looked the part of a middle reliever that can get big leaguers out. Moran isn’t yet established as a future fixture, but he dominated on the farm again this year, and getting a taste going into the offseason should help him prepare to stick in the future. Minnesota used 22 different relievers in 2021, and the pen was often constructed with eight or nine arms. They’ll need better depth and higher ceilings if there’s any interest in being a better unit a year from now. Maybe Alex Colome is asked back as well, but they’ll need to be picky with who is counted upon from a group that severely underwhelmed out of the gate. 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
  22. For much of the early part of 2021, the relief pitching let Rocco Baldelli’s club down. Alex Colome was no longer close to his career numbers, and Tyler Duffey had seen substantial regression. The guys expected to step up failed to do so, and the Twins were left searching for answers on a near-nightly basis. There are a few givens are going into 2022, but a couple of guys have made cases for themselves to stick around despite potentially being on the outs previously. Derek Falvey has his work cut out for him, but the more he can count on internally, the less turnover the roster will ultimately need to experience. Here’s how I see the group: The Veterans - Taylor Rogers, Tyler Duffey It looked like a near-certainty that Rogers would be dealt at the deadline. That was before injury put him on the shelf and ended his season. He’ll return in 2022, and Minnesota will undoubtedly be hoping that he returns to form as one of the best lefties in the game. Duffey’s 3.45 ERA is fine on its own, but it’s a far cry from the 1.88 mark he put up just a year ago. Strikeouts are down, and walks are way up. If the Twins have a better unit, they need his best during the final year of arbitration. The Surprises - Caleb Thielbar, Juan Minaya, Luke Farrell, Danny Coulombe Thielbar has been the best of this group. All but retired from baseball and moving onto coaching, he emerged as an option in 2020. This season hasn’t been quite as good, but the 11.2 K/9 is going to play. He’s given up too many dingers, but as a crafty lefty option, there’s plenty to like here. Minaya made his way back to the big leagues this season and has a career-best 2.70 ERA. He’s not dominant by any means, but as a middle-inning guy that’s gotten it done before, he certainly could stick. Both Farrell and Coulombe were depth types for the Twins. Each has seen stretches of effectiveness, and while their ceilings are admittedly limited, one could lay claim to a spot in 2022. The Youth - Jorge Alcala, Ralph Garza, Jovani Moran Minnesota counted on Alcala to take a step forward this season. As a whole, the results have been underwhelming given the 4.20 ERA. However, his last 15 games have resulted in a 1.00 ERA and .501 OPS against. He has a 21/3 K/BB in his last 18 innings pitched. That’s the arm the Twins need out of the gate. Garza was a nice get from the Astros, and he’s been effective with the organization. His strikeout numbers are down some, but he’s looked the part of a middle reliever that can get big leaguers out. Moran isn’t yet established as a future fixture, but he dominated on the farm again this year, and getting a taste going into the offseason should help him prepare to stick in the future. Minnesota used 22 different relievers in 2021, and the pen was often constructed with eight or nine arms. They’ll need better depth and higher ceilings if there’s any interest in being a better unit a year from now. Maybe Alex Colome is asked back as well, but they’ll need to be picky with who is counted upon from a group that severely underwhelmed out of the gate. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  23. The Twins jumped off to a five-run lead early and were able to stay in front for most of the game, despite losing their starter after only 12 pitches. But some terrible ball-strike calls helped the Yankees to rally back and walk it off in extras. Box Score Gant: 0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K Home Runs: Polanco (30), Sanó (27), Buxton (14) Bottom 3 WPA: Garza Jr. -.186, Sanó -.146, Donaldson -.110 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Minnesota struck first and took a four-run lead in the first inning, facing former member of the Twins organization Luis Gil. Luis Arráez snapped an 0-for-11 slump with a leadoff single and was later pushed across the plate by a home run from Jorge Polanco. This was his 30th dinger of the season, setting a record for most single-season home runs by a switch-hitter in Twins history, breaking the tie with Chili Davis in 1991. Gil lost Josh Donaldson on a seven-pitch walk immediately after Polanco’s home run. He managed to strike out Max Kepler next for the second out, but then another slumping Twin, Miguel Sanó, snapped his 0-for-13 funk with a high home run to center field which barely cleared the fence, making it 4-0 Minnesota. John Gant started out this game at the mound for Minnesota, but he was forced to leave the game with an apparent injury after throwing only 12 pitches and retiring two batters. Luke Farrell got called into the game and did a fine job, providing 2 1/3 hitless innings, helping to keep the Yankees scoreless through three innings. The Twins kept making good contact off Gil and, during the third inning, they added to their lead with another home run. Leading off the top-half of the inning, Byron Buxton jumped on the first pitch he saw, smashing it to a 106 MPH exit velocity, making it 5-0 Twins. Twins pitchers continued to dominate Yankees' hitting, keeping New York with one hit through 5 2/3 innings. Caleb Thielbar and Kyle Barraclough, who was recalled from Saint Paul earlier today (with Brent Rooker going on the paternity list), delivered two quick, scoreless innings in relief of Farrell. But in the sixth inning, Barraclough got huge help from the outfield defense behind him, as Max Kepler made some crucial plays in right field, robbing New York of at least an extra-base hit that could spark a rally. They did score a run on a sac-fly from DJ LeMahieu, scoring Tyler Wade from third. Terrible umpiring helps the Yankees to rally back Tyler Duffey came into the game to get the last out of the sixth immediately after Barraclough gave up a two-out hit. He opened the seventh fanning Giancarlo Stanton, but he gave up a solo home run to Joey Gallo, cutting Minnesota’s lead to three. He came back to pitch the eighth, but he got some awful calls from home plate umpire Jeff Nelson, who missed at least four calls during that inning. Brent Gardner “drew a walk” on a ball four that was most certainly a strike (pitch #6 below). That put two men on, and Rocco Baldelli pulled Duffey off the game. Alexander Colomé came in to face Aaron Judge, who hit a three-run home run, tying the game at five. Colomé struck out the side in the bottom of the ninth, taking the game to extra innings. All Minnesota was able to do during the 10th inning was to move up the ghost runner on a sacrifice groundout. In the bottom half, Gary Sánchez hit a line drive to left, deep enough to score Gleyber Torres from second, winning the game for New York. Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet THU FRI SAT SUN MON TOT Farrell 32 0 12 0 34 78 Minaya 0 40 0 17 0 57 Duffey 0 11 0 0 38 49 Colomé 0 12 0 0 27 39 Coulombe 15 0 23 0 0 38 Moran 0 0 0 37 0 37 Thielbar 0 0 26 0 11 37 Garza Jr. 19 0 0 11 6 36 Alcalá 0 9 0 18 0 27 Barraclough 0 0 0 0 23 23 View full article
  24. Box Score Gant: 0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K Home Runs: Polanco (30), Sanó (27), Buxton (14) Bottom 3 WPA: Garza Jr. -.186, Sanó -.146, Donaldson -.110 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Minnesota struck first and took a four-run lead in the first inning, facing former member of the Twins organization Luis Gil. Luis Arráez snapped an 0-for-11 slump with a leadoff single and was later pushed across the plate by a home run from Jorge Polanco. This was his 30th dinger of the season, setting a record for most single-season home runs by a switch-hitter in Twins history, breaking the tie with Chili Davis in 1991. Gil lost Josh Donaldson on a seven-pitch walk immediately after Polanco’s home run. He managed to strike out Max Kepler next for the second out, but then another slumping Twin, Miguel Sanó, snapped his 0-for-13 funk with a high home run to center field which barely cleared the fence, making it 4-0 Minnesota. John Gant started out this game at the mound for Minnesota, but he was forced to leave the game with an apparent injury after throwing only 12 pitches and retiring two batters. Luke Farrell got called into the game and did a fine job, providing 2 1/3 hitless innings, helping to keep the Yankees scoreless through three innings. The Twins kept making good contact off Gil and, during the third inning, they added to their lead with another home run. Leading off the top-half of the inning, Byron Buxton jumped on the first pitch he saw, smashing it to a 106 MPH exit velocity, making it 5-0 Twins. Twins pitchers continued to dominate Yankees' hitting, keeping New York with one hit through 5 2/3 innings. Caleb Thielbar and Kyle Barraclough, who was recalled from Saint Paul earlier today (with Brent Rooker going on the paternity list), delivered two quick, scoreless innings in relief of Farrell. But in the sixth inning, Barraclough got huge help from the outfield defense behind him, as Max Kepler made some crucial plays in right field, robbing New York of at least an extra-base hit that could spark a rally. They did score a run on a sac-fly from DJ LeMahieu, scoring Tyler Wade from third. Terrible umpiring helps the Yankees to rally back Tyler Duffey came into the game to get the last out of the sixth immediately after Barraclough gave up a two-out hit. He opened the seventh fanning Giancarlo Stanton, but he gave up a solo home run to Joey Gallo, cutting Minnesota’s lead to three. He came back to pitch the eighth, but he got some awful calls from home plate umpire Jeff Nelson, who missed at least four calls during that inning. Brent Gardner “drew a walk” on a ball four that was most certainly a strike (pitch #6 below). That put two men on, and Rocco Baldelli pulled Duffey off the game. Alexander Colomé came in to face Aaron Judge, who hit a three-run home run, tying the game at five. Colomé struck out the side in the bottom of the ninth, taking the game to extra innings. All Minnesota was able to do during the 10th inning was to move up the ghost runner on a sacrifice groundout. In the bottom half, Gary Sánchez hit a line drive to left, deep enough to score Gleyber Torres from second, winning the game for New York. Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet THU FRI SAT SUN MON TOT Farrell 32 0 12 0 34 78 Minaya 0 40 0 17 0 57 Duffey 0 11 0 0 38 49 Colomé 0 12 0 0 27 39 Coulombe 15 0 23 0 0 38 Moran 0 0 0 37 0 37 Thielbar 0 0 26 0 11 37 Garza Jr. 19 0 0 11 6 36 Alcalá 0 9 0 18 0 27 Barraclough 0 0 0 0 23 23
  25. The first few seasons of Tyler Duffey in a Minnesota Twins uniform were not good. The former Rice closer had an undefined role and owned a 5.46 ERA across his first 287 innings. Then it happened, he became one of the best relievers in baseball. But, where did he go? The Twins have long been working to develop their own internal pitching pipeline. Finding relievers is typically an easier venture given the ability to convert failed starters. Taylor Rogers has become one of the best closers and lefties in baseball, but he was joined by the likes of Trevor May and Tyler Duffey. The past two seasons saw Duffey post a 2.31 ERA in more than 80 innings while punching out 12.5 per nine and walking just 2.2 per nine. Fast forward to 2021. This season the starting rotation has not been good.and unfortunately neither has the bullpen. Duffey owns a fine 3.63 ERA but that’s backed by a 4.10 FIP and lackluster peripherals including a 7.7 K/9 and 5.0 BB/9. His strikeout rate has dropped from 33% the past two seasons down to a dismal 19%. Fortunately for Duffey, the stuff hasn’t resulted in more damage. The batted ball profile remains largely unchanged, and he’s not giving up an additional amount of hard contact. His velocity has held steady at 92 mph, which is down from 2019, but not the worrisome mark that appeared in Spring Training. The largest issue for Duffey is that he’s no longer forcing batters to play into his hands. As a fastball and curveball pitcher, he thrived off setting batters up for a bender they simply couldn’t touch. This season he’s generating just a 27.7% chase rate which is down 13% from 2020, and 5% below his career average. He’s also halved his whiff rate going from 16% a year ago to just 8% this season. The stuff isn’t generating any desire to expand the zone, and isn’t sharp enough to compile swings and misses. Derek Falvey decided to pull the plug on Jose Berrios being extended by the Minnesota Twins and flipped him before the trade deadline. For a team needing pitching help, that signifies a belief in internal development and a desire to supplement externally. Whether in the rotation or the bullpen, efforts will need to come from holdovers. Duffey will again be relatively cheap in 2022 and enters his final year of team control. If the Minnesota Twins are going to be competitive, they’ll need him to again contribute at a high level in key spots. Seeing Duffey emerge as an arm that took time to develop but transformed into an incredible asset, it’s been difficult to watch him take such a stark step backwards this season. We’ve seen the ability play at the highest level, and Rocco Baldelli will need an opportunity to rely on that sort of production once again. It may take an offseason of going back to the drawing board, but for both Duffey and the Twins, each party needs things to revert back to where they were. For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
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