Minnesota Twins: Giving the players their final letter grades
By Chris Schad
Grading the bullpen
After closing out 2018 by not allowing a run in his final 28 appearances, Rogers picked up where he left off in 2019 by taking over the Twins’ closer role. In the process, he also became the team’s best reliever, seeing a jump in strikeout rate (11.7 K/9) and a steep decline in his walk rate (1.4 BB/9). The only negative may have been the Twins over-using Rogers, but that could be fixed with a key free-agent signing.
Sergio Romo: B
One way to keep Rogers in the back end of the game could be by re-signing Romo. The right-hander was a trade deadline acquisition from the Marlins and he was a great influence on the mound and in the clubhouse. Romo’s numbers (3.18 ERA in 22 IP) with Minnesota will not confuse him with Aroldis Chapman, but his veteran presence could be a great thing for the team if they can get him to stay this winter.
Tyler Duffey: B+
If there was a reliever that followed in the footsteps of Rogers in 2018, it was Duffey’s performance in 2019. The right-hander had a career season posting his lowest ERA (2.50) since his rookie season (3.10) in 2015 and knocking nearly five runs off that average after posting a 7.20 ERA last season. With his strikeout rate doubling from a year ago, Duffey seems to be on his way to being a key reliever for the Twins in 2020.
Trevor May: C+
Maybe I’m letting a July stretch get to me. Maybe it’s the reluctance to throw his fastball which clocked in at an average of 95.6 MPH this season. Either way, you never felt safe about a game when May was in and even though his numbers (2.94 ERA) suggest otherwise, it will be interesting to see where the big right-hander goes from here.
Zack Littell: B+
Littell was part of the Twins carousel at the back end of the bullpen and did well outside of an eight-run outing at Tampa Bay on 30 and allowed just three earned runs in his other 26 appearances in 2019.
Cody Stashak: B
He started the season at Double-A Pensacola and worked his way up to Rochester. People will remember him getting shelled in Game 1 of the ALDS, but he should bounce back.
Devin Smeltzer: B+
Made his debut after being acquired in the Brian Dozier trade last summer. Made solid spot starts and saw teams adapt to his style late in the year. Location is always key.
Randy Dobnak: B
We’d give him a 4.99/5, but since we’re on a letter scale, this will do. Started the year at High-A Fort Myers and wound up being a playoff starter. It didn’t go well but should be great depth moving forward.