Minnesota Twins: The other free agent starting pitchers
By Nate Palmer
Jeremy Hellickson has always held a level of intrigue as a potential Twins signing even in past offseasons. The almost 31-year-old right-hander is from Des Moines, IA not too far south on I-35 from Target Field and the Twin Cities. Hellickson has never been a shutdown front-end arm, but has proven to be a solid part of a rotation and has performed well in the American League East for what that is worth.
2017 wasn’t a great year from Hellickson as he split time between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Baltimore Orioles. He had a scary 5.43 ERA and an equally scary 5.77 FIP. In addition to those scary numbers, Hellickson doesn’t get much in the way of strikeouts but has in the past proven an ability to get batters out in other ways. As recently as 2016 he put together a 3.71 ERA and 3.98 FIP over the course of the season.
More from Minnesota Twins News
- Minnesota Twins: Grading the Twins’ Joey Gallo signing
- Minnesota Twins: Grading the Christian Vazquez Signing
- Minnesota Twins: Twins jump into Top 5 in first MLB Draft Lottery
- Minnesota Twins: Byron Buxton wins 2022 Bob Feller Act of Valor Award
- Minnesota Twins: A Twins Homage to the Turkey of the Year Award
One thing that happened between 2016 and 2017 to cause such the change in his stat line is Hellickson began to give up more fly balls and induce fewer ground balls. In 2016, Hellickson’s ground ball rate was 40.7% and dropped to 34.9% in 2017. He then went from allowing a flyball rate of 34.4% in 2016 to 43.8% in 2017. Also in that same time frame, Hellickson went from a 12.7% HR/FB rate to 15.1% HR/FB.
There isn’t a lot to be really excited about with Hellickson after staring at Yu Darvish for several months. He isn’t an arm with much upside, but he has simply proven to be effective in many seasons. If he can reverse some of those ugly numbers from 2017 to look more like 2016 again he could be a solid arm in the back-end of someone’s rotation in 2018.
Next: Should the Twins extend Dozier?
There are some other veteran pitchers that the Twins could look towards as well. They could always look to bring back Bartolo Colon or bring in veterans like John Lackey and Edinson Volquez. While there are options in that tier under the top four free agent starters. One has to wonder if it might simply be better to see what the Twins have in some of their young pitchers and save the money that would be spent on someone on this list.