Minnesota Twins: Should Twins be done with bullpen additions?
Yes, the Minnesota Twins are done adding bullpen arms in order to give young arms opportunities
Many sources want to mention the overall ranking of the Twins bullpen in 2017 and use that as the measure of the bullpen the team is working with coming into the offseason. On a season long basis, the Twins bullpen did rank 22nd in bullpen ERA in the league.
However, an influx of young arms as well as finding “right” roles for those young arms in the second half of the season led to a surge from the bullpen. While not an elite number, the Twins unit jumped all the way up to 12th in the second half in that bullpen ERA statistic. The unit went from striking out 7.16 batters per 9 innings to 8.26 from the first half to the second half.
That doesn’t mention the second half performances of particular arms, such as:
- Ryan Pressly, 2nd half: 30 G, 34 1/3 IP, 2.62 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 8.1% BB, 22.8% K
- Taylor Rogers, August 1-end of season, 22 G, 15 1/3 IP, 1.17 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 12.1% BB, 25.8% K
- Trevor Hildenberger, 37 G, 42 IP, 3.21 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 3.5% BB, 25.9% K
- Alan Busenitz, 2nd half, 22 G, 23 IP, 1.96 ERA, 0.78 WHIP, 7.3% BB, 23.2% K
It also doesn’t take into consideration that the Twins saw young pitchers like John Curtiss come up and strike out 10 in 8 2/3 innings and Gabriel Moya post a 1.11 WHIP over 6 1/3 innings at the very end of the season as both made their argument for a 2018 role.
The Twins also have impressive young arms in the minor league system, with pitchers like Andrew Vazquez, Alex Robinson, and Thomas Hackimer having dominant relief seasons in the low minors, but also Nick Anderson, Todd Van Steensel, Sam Clay, Mason Melotakis, and Jake Reed having excellent seasons in relief with time spent in the upper minors.
The bevy of relief arms ready in the upper minor leagues is such that the team felt comfortable leaving Luke Bard and Nick Burdi unprotected to be selected for the Rule 5 draft, where the Twins selected another hard-throwing reliever, Tyler Kinley.
With all of this young talent that can be cycled through, it’s quite reasonable that 3 or more will stick as quality contributors throughout the season, and the rest can be cycled through fairly easily due to a lack of financial investment in them. Signing a player for a 7-figure deal takes away some of that flexibility in removing that player from the roster if they are ineffective.
So what would be an argument, then, for pursuing more relief arms?
Next: No, for youth