Minnesota Twins: Projecting the 2020 Opening Day Bullpen
High Leverage Relievers:
Tyler Duffey (RHP): After years of waiting, Tyler Duffey broke out with authority in 2019. He posted an exceptional 12.80 K/9 with a 1.01 WHIP in 57.2 innings pitched. His fastball increased velocity for a third year in a row, averaging 94.2 mph, while he threw his curveball 45.5% of the time, helping him be more successful.
Becoming a reliever full-time allowed Duffey to move on from his sinker and change-up, focusing on his best pitches, his fastball and curveball. Becoming a reliever also allowed him to increase the spin rate on both, making them a lot harder to hit well. He has earned his spot as top reliever.
Taylor Rogers (LHP): Taylor Rogers has been a beacon of hope in the bullpen for Twins’ fans. Over the past two seasons, Rogers has grown the best relievers in baseball. Posting an average of a 2.62 ERA and a WHIP under 1.00 over the past two seasons is proof that he is the real deal.
Rogers also throws a lot of strikes. His 11.74 K/9 and 1.43 BB/9 (that rank 5th in the league) show that. He may have been named the team’s closer last season, but the Twins may not use just one pitcher as their closer in the 2020 season, instead rotating between who is most rested and lines up the best against the opposing team.
Trevor May (RHP): Trevor May, just like Duffey, finally broke out in 2019. May has always had the stuff, posting a K/9 above 12.65 in both 2016 and 2018, but Tommy John surgery interrupted his progress. Finally healthy, May posted an 11.05 K/9 over 64.1 innings pitched in 2019, and increased his fastball velocity to reach 99 MPH.
May has usually been strong pitching in tough situations, showing that he has the “clutch” ability teams look for in a closer. If the Twins do decide to go with just one player as their closer, don’t be surprised if it is May over Rogers. This will allow Rogers to pitch in other high leverage situations and allow May to show off his skill.