Former Minnesota Twins closer Glen Perkins announced his retirement this past week. Where do his career numbers rank him amongst other Twins relievers?
The Minnesota Twins have had a history of notable relief pitchers come through the organization. Fans have had the privilege of cheering on the likes of Joe Nathan, Eddie Guardado, LaTroy Hawkins, and Rick Aguilera to name a few.
This week Twins fans have been able to begin the official farewells and thank-you’s to one of the better relievers on the field and great individuals off of it in Twins history. As was long speculated, Glen Perkins announced his retirement this past week.
That sounds like a pretty great retirement. Also a very Minnesotan retirement for the Minnesota native. The Stillwater High School graduate and University of Minnesota pitcher came to the Twins as a starting pitcher in the first round of the 2004 MLB Draft with the 22nd overall pick.
Perkins worked the early part of his career as a starter and in 2008 was able to log 151.0 innings in 26 major league starts. With a 4.41 ERA that season, and his best ERA as a full-time starter. Things just weren’t quite working out for Perkins in that role. After injury struggles, it was late in 2010 that Perkins began to make the transition to relief pitcher.
The transition to reliever allowed Perkins to considerably add to the velocity of his pitches as well as basically doubling his K/9 rate. That first season as a full-time reliever in 2011 Perkins’ K/9 jumped to 9.5 from 5.8 in limited action the previous season’. His K/9 was at its best over the 2013 season at 11.1.
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After that switch, Perkins went on to be nothing less than an All-Star closer making three consecutive All-Star games from 2013-2015. As quickly as Perkins busted onto the scene as an All-Star, injury took him away from baseball. It was injury that kept Perkins from being able to do what he loved for the past two seasons, close out wins for his hometown Twins.
Even in what was an injury-shortened career, Perkins still ranks up there with the best relievers in Twins history. He accumulated 8.6 WAR over his career putting him fifth all-time for the Twins behind Nathan, Aguilera, Al Worthington, and Guardado. Perkins is third all-time with 120 saves behind only Nathan and Aguilera. The lefty also had an 84.5% save percentage which puts him behind only Nathan’s 90.3 % for any reliever with 50 or more saves in Twins history.
Ever since Perkins’ exit from that game against the Detroit Tigers on September 30, 2017, there was a good hunch that Perkins was done pitching in a Twins uniform. He worked hard to come back and pitch at all this past season and it was great see him meet that goal. It has also been great to watch him as a fan all these years want to be the best he could be for the team he loved to play for.
Thankfully we may continue to see some of Perkins as it appears he and GM Thad Levine have had conversations about Perkins taking on a front office role with the Twins. Thank-you Glen Perkins for your great pitching performances on the mound and your great presence in Twins Territory and on Twitter off of it. Happy Retirement!