As the Minnesota Twins coming up on their 120th season, we look back at the five best relief pitchers in franchise history.
The Minnesota Twins are one of the oldest franchises in baseball, dating back to 1901, when they were the league bottom-dweller known as the Washington Senators. Since that time, the team has won three championships, six pennants, and eleven division titles.
It has also suffered through seven 100+ loss seasons, fourteen playoff defeats, and have lost over 1100 games to the New York Yankees. The team has had some really good seasons, and some really bad seasons. Throughout it all, there have been some excellent players who have carried the team.
These excellent players deserve some recognition , so Puckett’s Pond will be putting together a list of the top players at each position to get ready for the top 50 players of all time. In order to make it on this list, relief pitchers need to have thrown in over 250 games or 225 innings, start less than half of your games, and have played an important role for the team.
The group of relief pitchers who have made an impact on this team is a relatively small one. Plus, with most of these pitchers working as closers, pitching one or two innings a game leaves less to talk about. Even with that being said, these pitchers had some of the biggest impacts in team history, so let’s get started.
Minnesota Twins’ Matt Guerrier
Years with the Minnesota Twins: 2004-2010, 2014 (8 Seasons)
Key Stats with the Minnesota Twins: 420 G, 500 IP, 19-26 W-L, 3.40 ERA, 5 SV, 322-157 K-BB, 7.9 WAR
It probably is a surprise for a lot of people to see Matt Guerrier on this list, given that he pitched only eight seasons with the team, never made an All-Star team, and only had five saves over his Twins career. But he is worthy of an honorable mention spot.
The Twins have never really had relief pitchers who stayed too long with the team, but Guerrier hits that mark. Guerrier was an extremely reliable eighth inning setup man for Joe Nathan, pitching in 420 games (eighth in team history) and working toward a stellar 3.40 ERA.
Guerrier led the league in games pitched twice while with the Twins and got the team out of countless jams to hand the ball over to Nathan (who we’ll talk more about later). There’s something to be said for consistency, and few were more consistent than Guerrier.
Minnesota Twins’ Glen Perkins
Years with the Minnesota Twins: 2006-2017 (12 Seasons)
Key Stats with the Minnesota Twins: 409 G, 624 IP, 35-25 W-L, 3.88 ERA, 120 SV, 504-158 K-BB, 9.0 WAR, Three Time All-Star
One of just three Twins relievers to make the All-Star game three times, Glen Perkins was one of the best closers in the MLB from 2013-2015, one of the only players in the league to save thirty games all three years.
Perkins produced a solid 3.88 ERA over his career, but when he was a full-time reliever that number dropped to 2.86. He struck out 346 more batters than he walked and saved 120 games in just over four seasons.
Perkins has the third most saves in team history, and has played in the ninth most games, but given that the Twins lost an average of 90 games per season while he was closer, his team’s failure keeps him just out of the fifth spot.