Minnesota Twins: 2022 Quarter-Season Grades for the Twins Bullpen

Minnesota Twins relief pitcher Emilio Pagan delivers a pitch during the ninth inning. (Jordan Johnson-USA TODAY Sports)
Minnesota Twins relief pitcher Emilio Pagan delivers a pitch during the ninth inning. (Jordan Johnson-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Minnesota Twins
Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Griffin Jax throws to the Oakland Athletics. (Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports) /

2022 Quarter-Season Grades for the Minnesota Twins Low-Leverage Relievers

Danny Coulombe

What a breakout season from Danny Coulombe. Though he had a solid 2021, he built on it even further in 2022. Just take a look at the comparison between the two season stat lines thus far:

  • 2021: 29 G, 34.1 IP, 3.67 ERA (3.75 FIP), 1.223 WHIP, 33-7 K-BB
  • 2022: 9 G, 12 IP, 0.75 ERA (3.37 FIP), 1.000 WHIP, 9-7 K-BB

Now obviously, he’s striking out fewer batters and he’s been on the injured list for a couple of weeks so this could all change when he comes back, but he’s been extremely reliable this year. Grade: A.

Cody Stashak

The Twins and analytics people like myself spent all of 2021 trying to convince anyone who would listen that Cody Stashak was way better than his ERA suggested last year. 2022 has proved us right (up until his injury), as his ERA of 3.86 is backed up by a 2.08 FIP, 2.75 xERA, 3.51 xFIP, and 15-0 K-BB ratio.

Even though he’s striking out less batters than he has in any year prior, he’s still been a key piece of this bullpen. If he misses a few more bats and earned a few more strikeouts, he’d have an A, but I can’t quite give it to him yet. Grade: B+.

Griffin Jax

Despite his last couple of outings hurting his stats a bit, Griffin Jax has been a key reliever for the Twins so far this year. The Twins saw his potential as a pitcher last year and though he doesn’t have the stamina to be a starter, he’s a very strong reliever who’s proved capable of big situations.

His 9.4 K/9 rate and though his walk rate has gone up over the past two weeks, it’s still solid. This ugly stretch lowers his grade from the A it would have been in early May, but it’s been awesome to see the Twins pitching pipeline develop another arm. Grade: B+.

Caleb Thielbar

As much as the first three relievers on our list have improved from 2021, Caleb Thielbar has fallen off. Take a look at Thielbar’s stat lines from the past three years:

  • 2020: 17 G, 20 IP, 2.25 ERA (2.34 FIP), 1.150 WHIP, 22-9 K-BB
  • 2021: 59 G, 64 IP, 3.23 ERA (3.47 FIP), 1.172 WHIP, 77-20 K-BB
  • 2022: 19 G, 17 IP, 5.82 ERA (4.06 FIP), 1.412 WHIP, 20-10 K-BB

The year-to-year regression was expected after a shortened 2020 season, but this year his has been tough. His stuff has mostly been good, as his 3.18 xERA, 4.06 FIP, and 10.6 K/9 rates suggest, but he simply has to cut down on walks, as his walk rate is sitting at a career-worst 5.3 BB/9. That results in a tough grade. Grade: D+.