Minnesota Twins: Projecting the 2020 Opening Day Bullpen
Devin Smeltzer (LHP): Devin Smeltzer is likely bound for the bullpen to start the season. He doesn’t throw heat like other pitchers on this list, but his ability to miss bats with his curveball and changing speeds is hard to pass up. He struggled at times in 2019, but ZiPS (ZiPS shows how good a player can be) projects him to post a 7.61 K/9 rate, and only a 1.50 HR/9.
Cody Stashak (RHP): Cody Stashak looked like a breakout candidate for the Twins last season. Posting a 9.00 K/9 in 25 innings pitched at the MLB level, and a 12.50 K/9 in 53.1 innings pitched between AA and AAA ball. His change-up needs work, but his slider has the making of a future high leverage reliever.
Zack Littell (RHP): Since moving to the bullpen full-time, Littell has been fantastic. Posting a 2.68 ERA, and 1.16 WHIP in 37 innings pitched is more than we can ask for out of a rookie pitcher. Littell showed that he deserves a spot in the majors and will get an extended chance to prove that last season wasn’t a fluke.
Middle Leverage Relievers:
Tyler Clippard (RHP): Signing a 1 year, $2.75 million contract in the offseason, Tyler Clippard looks to add another veteran presence to the bullpen. Clippard has been pretty consistent over his 12 seasons, with an 0.85 WHIP and .204 BABIP which rank 5th and 3rd in the league respectively among qualified relievers. The Twins hope he will do more of the same for them.
Sergio Romo (RHP): Sergio Romo, re-signed with the Twins for his age-37 season after being traded to Minnesota last summer. Romo throws his slider nearly 60% of the time and relies heavily on his change-up and sinker to set up his fastball. Romo boasts a 48.8% swinging strike percentage, making batters miss and brings lots of energy and veteran leadership as well.