The Minnesota Twins bullpen has struggled this season. One guy who has been solid is Craig Breslow. And he worked hard in the offseason to get there.
The Minnesota Twins have had bullpen struggles this season, and they came to light in an ugly way this past weekend against the Red Sox. While most relievers got roughed up, Craig Breslow was able to pitch somewhat decently in the rough games. At 36 years old, Breslow is making adjustments to keep up as a major league reliever and they are working.
In 2017, Breslow has made thirteen appearances and has given up three runs in 10.2 innings pitched. He has given up nine hits during those outings and has struck out six opposing hitters. He currently has the second lowest reliever ERA on the Twins with a spiffy 2.53 mark.
While Breslow has been showing signs of what he was four or five years ago, it has not been an easy road to get there. He has endured some bad seasons in between, and has used his incredible intelligence to help him get to where he is now.
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Making adjustments to prolong his career
Breslow has struggled since a championship winning season in 2013. During that season, he made 61 appearances and posted a 1.81 ERA on his way to helping the Boston Red Sox win the World Series.
The next three seasons were not as easy. He would pitch two more seasons in Boston and one for the Miami Marlins, never posting an ERA below four. His lowest was 4.15 in 2015. Something had to be done for Breslow to revive his fading career.
This past offseason, he used his high intelligence (he is a Yale graduate with a B.A. in molecular biophysics and biochemistry), and state-of-the-art technology to get on the right track. He used a 3D camera system called Rapsodo Baseball, which gives feedback on velocity, trajectory, spin rate and spin axis.
Along with the feedback, Breslow studied other left-handed relievers such as Andrew Miller and Zach Britton. He watched their arm angles and studied how they threw their nastiest pitches. With the help of studying and technology, Breslow changed his arm angle to be more effective. It has worked so far in 2017.
Breslow, before his struggles the last few seasons, had been one of the most effective middle relievers in the game. Before 2014, he never posted an ERA over four. He was a big time asset for teams looking to win with solid bullpen help.
Now that he has changed his arm angle and studied different pitchers, Breslow has been more effective than he has been in years. He is back to getting the job done and bolstering the bullpen he is a part of. If he keeps it up, he may have a few more years of baseball left.