With just eight games remaining for the Minnesota Twins, it’s time to look forward to what the Twins’ bullpen would look like in the playoffs.
The Minnesota Twins are marching towards the playoffs, with their magic number shrinking every day. With that coming up, it’s time to start making some guesses about the 26-man postseason roster.
While we’ve already gone over some of the tough decisions the Twins have had to make as well as questions they’ve had to answer, we’re getting down to the end of the road for season, with a playoff series against the New York Yankees looking more and more likely (again).
Earlier today, I went over what the rotation would look like for the playoffs and with five starters making the list, so now it’s time to look at which relievers make the cut. With so many good relievers, and so few spots, it’s time to get into it.
Minnesota Twins Bullpen Locks
2020 Stats: 18 G, 16.2 IP, 1-4, 9 SV, 4.86 ERA, 2.90 FIP, 1.560 WHIP, 20-3 K-BB
Yes, Taylor Rogers has looked really ugly in some of his outings this year, but no Twins’ reliever has had worse luck than Rogers has. Rogers has a 2.90 FIP, an almost two run difference from his ERA, and has consistently been placed in back-to-back high leverage situations, which he has shown isn’t good for him.
On top of that, Rogers has walked just three batters over 16.2 innings while striking out 20. He isn’t the lockdown closer the Minnesota Twins (and the fans) want him to be, but he is still an excellent reliever. He’ll make the list.
2020 Stats: 20 G, 18.2 IP, 1-2, 4 SV, 3.06 ERA, 3.53 FIP, 0.906 WHIP, 19-4 K-BB
Despite his recent suspension, Sergio Romo has been one of the Twins’ best relievers in 2020. With a WHIP below 1, a 19-4 K-BB rate, and a very similar FIP, Romo is a key cog for the Twins both on and off the field, and there’s no way he doesn’t make the roster.
2020 Stats: 20 G, 19.2 IP, 1-0, 2 SV, 4.58 ERA, 3.86 FIP, 1.220 WHIP, 32-4 K-BB
Just like Rogers, Trevor May is a lock, despite his high ERA and perception among Twins fans. May’s ERA may be high, but his FIP suggests he’s actually been solid, and his 1.220 WHIP is really a decent number.
On top of that, no Twins reliever generates strikeouts like May. May has an incredible 32-4 K-BB ratio and a stunning 14.6 K/9 rate. Yes, he hasn’t been as good as he was last year, but if you need a pitcher to come in and get a strikeout, Trevor May is the man for the job.
2020 Stats: 19 G, 20.1 IP, 1-1, 1.77 ERA, 2.85 FIP, 0.836 WHIP, 27-6 K-BB
This is another easy lock. Tyler Duffey has been the Minnesota Twins’ top reliever all year and has been a key high-leverage pitcher. Without Duffey, the Twins would lack a significant reliever to get the ball to the ninth inning. He’s a lock to make at least one playoff appearance in 2020.
2020 Stats: 21 G, 21.2 IP, 1-1, 2.91 ERA, 3.01 FIP, 0.969 WHIP, 21-4 K-BB
A key addition in free agency, Tyler Clippard has been a very, very good addition for the Twins. Though several of his last outings haven’t been perfect, he still has a fantastic stat line and also has 14 games of playoff experience. He should also make an appearance in the 2020 playoffs.
2020 Stats: 13 G, 15 IP, 2-0, 1.80 ERA, 2.06 FIP, 1.267 WHIP, 19-7 K-BB
If you would have told me ahead of 2020 that Caleb Thielbar was a lock for the playoff bullpen, I’d have thought you were crazy, but here we are. Thielbar has been dominant in his thirteen outings for the Twins this season and doesn’t appear to be slowing down.
He has the best FIP on the team and his 11.4 K/9 is very good. This feel-good story has become a legitimate force for the Twins, and there’s not reason to believe that he would be left off the roster. He may not be the first name called, but he’ll be there.
Minnesota Twins Likely Bullpen Arms
2020 Stats: 13 G, 21.2 IP, 2.91 ERA, 3.47 FIP, 1.200 WHIP, 27-7 K-BB
With 27 strikeouts in just 21.2 innings, Jorge Alcala has shown off his stuff in his first full season. He’s gotten a lot of mop-up work, but he’s been excellent in doing it. He’s a very live arm and could do well.
I’d be very surprised if the Twins left him off the roster, but Baldelli doesn’t seem willing to trust him in big situations. That fact alone leads to him being placed in the likely category, rather than a lock.
2020 Stats: 15 G, 22.1 IP, 1.21 ERA, 4.00 FIP, 1.075 WHIP, 28-14 K-BB
Some people may be surprised to see Matt Wisler in the likely section, rather than a lock, but it’s based more on depth than anything else. Wisler has 11.3 K/9 and a sparkling 1.21 ERA, making him a very strong waiver add. That doesn’t erase the questions.
Wisler has the most walks of anyone on this list, and his 4.00 FIP is HIGH. He’s gotten lucky, but he’s also been very good with his slider, so I think he still makes it, but it’s simply enough to make him a maybe.
Outside of Wisler, Cody Stashak is the only other reliever in consideration for the playoff roster, but I think his iffy health keeps him out of a spot.
Minnesota Twins Playoff Bullpen Projections
- Sergio Romo
- Tyler Duffey
- Trevor May
- Taylor Rogers
- Tyler Clippard
- Caleb Thielbar
- Jorge Alcala
- Matt Wisler