Trevor Hildenberger was drafted by the Twins in the 22nd round of the 2014 MLB Draft out of the University of California, Berkeley. In 2017 we saw our first glimpse of Hildenberger in the majors and he did nothing but impress after making his way through the Twins minors.
In 42 innings, Hildenberger had an ERA of 3.21, a K/9 of 9.4, and recorded one save. While Hildenberger didn’t take on that coveted closer role, he was clearly the Twins best and most relied upon starter down the stretch. Manager Paul Molitor continued to turn to Hildenberger in some of the biggest spots of games as the Twins secured the second American League Wild Card position. His performance caused many before any offseason signings happened to wonder out loud if Hildenberger may become the team’s closer in 2018.
Hildenberger’s ability to change his arm angle from his primary sidearm deliver to a more over the top angle, paired with the sinking movement he is able to create of his sinker allows him to be successful even without great velocity. Hildenberger took over as the Twins resident worm killer with a near 60% ground ball rate after Brandon Kintzler was traded to the Washington Nationals at the trade deadline.
With the addition of Fernando Rodney, Zach Duke, and most recently Addison Reed, Hildenberger should become a very solid 7th inning guy for the Twins. If he truly breaks out in Thielen style, he might challenge for some of those other high leverage situations as well.