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
ARLINGTON, TX – APRIL 24: Relief pitcher Taylor Rogers /

LHP Taylor Rogers

In the season of surprises, Taylor Rogers provided another one of those surprises in 2017. Left-handed reliever Rogers may almost be single-handedly responsible for the success of the Twins bullpen last season. When the Twins bullpen really looked like it was going to be Kintzler and then who knows who, Rogers stepped up.

There was a point during last season around the month of June, where Kintzler and Rogers were tops in the league in Wins Probability Added. In his second season of major league experience, Rogers appeared in 69 games and logged 55.2 innings. Along with that he had a 3.07 ERA, finished 7 games for the Twins, and held a 7.9 K/9.

Through the minors, Rogers had always struggled against right-handed hitters. That was the concern that led to the decision for Rogers to move to the bullpen and become much more of a specialist. In 2017, Rogers began to show the ability to also get right-handers out enough that it didn’t necessitate a pitching change just because a righty came to the plate.

He is still clearly much better against left-handed batters holding them to a .173 batting average in 2017. And in 2018, with the presence of Duke as well the Twins may choose to use him more as a lefty-specialist but can feel more confident leaving him in the game if a right-hander is sandwiched in between there. Again like Hildenberger, the Twins now have another one of their 2017 setup men ready to come in for the 6th and 7th inning instead.