Minnesota Twins sign Matt Belisle, but what about Alan Busenitz?

CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 22: Matt Belisle
CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 22: Matt Belisle /

The Minnesota Twins are bringing back veteran Matt Belisle to help out a taxed bullpen. Why isn’t that chance being given to Alan Busenitz?

The Minnesota Twins are reportedly bringing back reliever, and 2017 second half closer, Matt Belisle. The veteran righty was released from the Cleveland Indians organization where he was most recently in Triple-A for the division foe. Belisle’s deal is as reported by LaValle E Neal III a major league deal and he will be joining the Twins in Detroit.

To make room for Belisle the Twins are designating for assignment infielder Gregorio Petit. This season Belisle appeared in 8 games for the Indians and tossed 10.2 innings. He struggled as he pitched to a 5.06 ERA before being demoted to Triple-A. With this signing, the Twins must be banking on a turn around similar to what Belisle had in 2017.

Twins fans may remember that Belisle was the pitching move made to help out the 2017 bullpen and it looked like an awful one for the first half the season. The second half looked much different as the Twins traded away closer Brandon Kintzler and placed Belisle in that role to for the remainder of the season. Over the second half of last year, Belisle pitched 26.1 innings had a 1.71 ERA, 9 saves, and a 9.6 strikeouts per nine innings.

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Even though Belisle isn’t a flame-throwing, lights out reliever he still has the potential to provide value to the Twins bullpen. Even if it is to simply take some of the workload away from the rest of the bullpen core. Something I wrote about here. But there has to be one guy with the Rochester Red Wings shaking his head and wondering what else he needs to do to be in the major league bullpen.

What about Alan Busenitz?

Alan Busenitz was a big part of the Twins bullpen down the stretch in 2017. While Trevor Hildenberger received most of the praise, Busenitz kept pace with him in many ways. Over the course of 2017, the right-hander pitched in 31.2 innings and held a 1.99 ERA and a 220 ERA+. Busenitz was also used to form the 6th or 7th inning bridge from the starters to the backend of the bullpen made up of Taylor Rogers, Hildenberger and Belisle.

Busenitz’ 2018 stint with the Twins earlier this season was not great. In 4.0 innings his ERA was 6.75. Which may look a bit inflated as two of those runs were in 0.2 innings against the New York Yankees. While in Triple-A Busenitz has done nothing but perform well and scream for another chance in the big leagues. This season he has tossed 24.0 innings holds a 0.38 ERA and a 10.5 K/9.

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At this point, there isn’t a whole lot else Busenitz has to prove at the Triple-A level. It almost feels like an injustice that he hasn’t been called up. Belisle will be able to provide value to the Twins bullpen. It simply seems very strange that the Twins won’t give that chance to Busenitz.