Minnesota Twins Opening Day Prediction: The 2018 Bullpen

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OAKLAND, CA - JULY 28: Manager Paul Molitor
OAKLAND, CA - JULY 28: Manager Paul Molitor /
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Minnesota Twins
CINCINNATI, OH – AUGUST 4: Zach Duke /

Setup Man Zach Duke

The third pitcher on this bullpen list was the first relief pitcher the Twins signed this offseason, Zach Duke. The left-handed Duke is in position to be the Twins left-handed setup man. Duke came to the Twins on a one year, $2.15 million contract. A great deal for a pitcher that is looking to prove who he is after completing the fastest comeback from Tommy John surgery.

Upon Duke’s return from rehabilitation last season, he was able to log 18.1 innings. That is impressive in itself forget the fact that he still had a 3.93 ERA. When Duke has been healthy he has turned in respectable ERAs of 2.36 in 2016 and 3.41 in 2015. Duke also has the ability to carry a K/9 right around 10.

The hope in this signing for the Twins is that Duke will be able to come into 2018 and be the top lefty to come out of the Twins bullpen. Duke has actually performed well against hitters of either handedness so he will not have to be a strict lefty specialist. Which will only be an asset to manager Paul Molitor as he handles the bullpen in 2018.

What is incredible about this list to this point is these top three guys in the bullpen weren’t even part of the Twins team last season. We are just going to start to get into the group that was so pivotal to the Twins successes in 2017. That only speaks to the depth the front office has been able to create with this group. An environment that will hopefully only encourage the growth of some of the remaining members of the bullpen.

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