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 relief pitcher Jhoan Duran celebrates after the victory over the Kansas City Royals. (Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports) /

High-Leverage Relievers

Tyler Duffey

Similar to Caleb Thielbar, Tyler Duffey has not been as good as in previous years, but he’s still been overall solid this year, especially after a brutal start to the year. His xFIP is 2.52, 1.096 WHIP, and 1.6 BB/9 rate are very clean.

He’s not the dominant reliever he used to be, and he hasn’t been missing many bats, but he’s hitting the zone a ton while continuing to lift his strikeout rate (it’s now up to 8.3 K/9). He’s not a late-inning guy anymore, but he’s productive. Grade: B.

Joe Smith

There have been better free agent signings the Twins have made over the course of their franchise history (a certain shortstop and starting pitcher come to mind), but thus far Joe Smith has looked like one of the best free agent relief signings the team has made in decades.

His ERA and FIP numbers are a dream (0.61 ERA, 3.42 xERA, 2.03 FIP, 2.89 xFIP), he rarely walks batters, and he’s other-worldly at getting out of any jam Rocco throws him in with his fantastic ground-ball rate and ability to get double plays. He’s been the Twins’ best reliever through the first quarter of the year. Grade: A+.

Emilio Pagan

No reliever is tougher to grade than Emilio Pagan. On one hand, he’s the team leader in saves with six, has a sparkling 2.30 ERA, and a stellar 12.1 K/9 rate. On the other hand, he has a brutal 6.3 BB/9 rate, an awful 1.468 WHIP, and a team-worst 5.86 FIP.

Now on one hand, he’s gotten the walks under control, issuing just two over his last eight innings, but he’s getting hit hard, allowing nine hits (including THREE(!!!) homers) over that span. It’s a tough call, but I’m grading based more on the good here. Grade: B.

Jhoan Duran

The last reliever on this list, Jhoan Duran has been an elite reliever for the Twins to start his career. He’s earned four saves, put up a 2.35 ERA (3.49 FIP), and is pounding the zone. His 31-3 K-BB ratio is elite, and his 13.1 K/9 and 1.3 BB/9 rates are just as outstanding. On top of this, his 5.5 H/9 rate is the best of any player on the active roster and he hasn’t allowed a run in his last seven appearances.

He’s slowly taking over the closer role that he’s been destined for ever since the Twins made the wise decision to make him a full-time reliever. He’s got the potential to be the greatest reliever in Minnesota Twins history if he can keep pitching like thisGrade: A+.

Next. Minnesota Twins: 3 Potential Trade Ideas for the Reds’ Tyler Mahle. dark