Minnesota Twins Opening Day Prediction: The 2018 Bullpen

OAKLAND, CA - JULY 28: Manager Paul Molitor
OAKLAND, CA - JULY 28: Manager Paul Molitor /
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Minnesota Twins
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – AUGUST 17: Trevor Hildenberger /

RHP Trevor Hildenberger

Trevor Hildenberger was one of the major bright spots for the Twins last season. The right-hander was drafted by the Twins in the 22nd round of the 2014 MLB Draft, not exactly the place you expect to find one of your best relief pitchers. That is why sports are so great, because down the stretch of 2017 that is exactly who Hildenberger was able to become.

Hildenberger made his major league debut on June 23rd and made an impression with that first appearance as he faced the Cleveland Indians. From there he would only continue to gain his managers trust. By the season’s end, Hildenberger logged 42 innings of work and held a 3.21 ERA. Is 3.02 FIP and also 137 ERA+, all which helps to tell the story of a pretty impressive season from Hildenberger.

By the time the Twins and their fans realized they were actually going to be able to contend for a playoff spot, Hildenberger had locked himself in as the Twins best and most reliable reliever. August was an especially impressive month for Hildenberger as he produced a 2.19 ERA and a 10.9 K/9.

One of the ways that signing the three previously mentioned relievers helps to maximize the Twins bullpen in 2018 is on display right here. When the offseason began, Hildenberger was slotted to either be the team’s closer or otherwise utilized best reliever. With the additions of Rodney, Reed, and Duke-Hildenberger who was an 8th inning guy now becomes a 6th or 7th inning possibility.