The Minnesota Twins bullpen has been one of the few bright spots for this team during the 2018 season.
Trevor Hildenberger is having a breakout performance for the Minnesota Twins through the first two-plus months of this season. His emergence is a positive sign toward the future of this pitching staff.
Offseason additions Zach Duke, Addison Reed, and Fernando Rodney have all been solid to start this season. Ryan Pressly has also emerged for Minnesota and has future closer potential. Hildenberger has proven himself capable of handling the all-important mid-late innings range throughout his young career.
Hildenberger made his MLB debut against the Cleveland Indians on June 23, 2017, and he hasn’t looked back since. He was quietly successful during his debut season en route to a 3.21 ERA in 35 games pitched. Hildy pitched 42 innings and finished with 44 strikeouts and only six walks on the year.
The right-hander also showed manager Paul Molitor his ability to pitch multiple innings. Hildenberger pitched more than one inning 10 times during last season helping to set the stage for this season.
Speaking of this season…
The 27-year-old has been nothing short of amazing to this point of the season. Hildy currently has a team-leading 2.06 ERA through his first 36 games. He has 33 strikeouts with only eight walks across 39.1 innings pitched.
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Hildenberger has allowed a sterling .197 batting average against along with a .248 on-base percentage. Although he has allowed five home runs, Hildy has a 7.5 K/9 and has pitched more than one inning during six appearances this season.
He has shown that he can handle any situation. Molitor can turn to him during any point of the game and Hildy will have success more often than not. He has the type of make-up on the mound that could even prove useful closing games.
The Minnesota Twins have the makings of a shutdown bullpen for the next three months, and beyond. Reed signed a two-year deal, while Rodney and Duke signed one-year deals during this past offseason. However, the Twins hold a club option on Rodney and he has given the front office every reason to exercise that option.
Pressly has one more season of arbitration eligibility and has earned a raise so far this season. On top of that, Hildenberger isn’t eligible for free agency until AFTER the 2023 season. The Minnesota Twins already have four solid pitchers in the bullpen under contract as we look toward the 2019 season.
However disappointing this season may seem, always remember, this organization is headed in the right direction. Former Philadelphia 76ers general manager Sam Presti once told the world to “trust the process”, and that’s exactly what Twins fans need to do right now.