Where is Minnesota Twins reliever Trevor Hildenberger?
By Tyler Kruse
The Minnesota Twins may look to strengthen their bullpen in the coming months (or days – Craig Kimbrel anyone?) in order to shore up a weak spot throughout the organization. With that in mind, what happened to Trevor Hildenberger?
Known as “Hildy” by his teammates, Trevor has been a relatively strong reliever for the Minnesota Twins throughout his time within the organization. His first year with the Twins, Trevor Hildenberger owned a 3.21 ERA through 37 appearances and looked to be making a case for years to come. Due to his unorthodox pitching motion, Hildenberger gave hitters fits while at the plate.
It seems as though hitters are catching up to this unique throwing motion used by the young Twins pitcher. In 14 innings pitched so far for the 2019 division leading Twins, Hildy has given up 13 runs, all of them being earned, on 24 hits. He currently owns an 8.36 ERA, easily the highest so far in his solid yet brief career.
One stat that is really concerning here is the hits per nine innings statistic. Throughout his 2017 campaign his H/9 was 8.1 and in 2018 up only slightly to 9.2. So far this year, his H/9 is currently at 15.4 meaning if Trevor were to pitch a full 9 inning game, you could expect him to give up 15.4 hits per game. A difficult pill to swallow given the statistics and hits per 9 innings through his first two years in the MLB.
Hildenberger will never over-power anybody at the plate with his pitch speed. He’s more of a pitch-to-contact pitcher thanks to the submarine or side-armed throwing motion and his ability to pitch into ground ball outs. Fans love to see pitchers on the mound that throw gas, with the ability to reach triple digits, especially coming out of the bullpen. Trevor is not that guy.
His job as a reliever is to come into the game, get some weak contact outs thanks to his unorthodox motion, and get back to the dugout. Following Taylor Rogers or Trevor May out of the pen, who can both reach mid-nineties with their fastball, is a nice change of pace for the Twins. Having pitchers who all throw the same speed allows hitters to sit on the fastball and drive it. A change of pace on the mound is always something pitching coaches look for when calling in a reliever.
How has Trevor fared with the triple-A Rochester Red Wings since being sent down? Not too hot. Hitters there have also seemed to catch up to his unique throwing motion with Hildy posting an ERA of 9.39 in six appearances. Again, his H/9 stat is extremely high being 16.4 though I wouldn’t read into it too much considering that’s only through 7.2 innings.
The numbers in the minors don’t concern me as much considering he’s there to work on his mechanics and figure things out. He’s an excellent baseball player with the stuff to stick on the major league squad. I think, given a few tweaks from pitching coach Wes Johnson, you should see Trevor back to his old ways on the mound in no time for your Minnesota Twins.