The Twins have been active this offseason, re-signing Carlos Correa while bringing in new faces such as Pablo López, Joey Gallo, Christian Vázquez, Michael A. Taylor and Kyle Farmer. Things have been relatively quiet in terms of the bullpen, however, and it doesn’t seem as though that’s going to change in the near future. The club’s president of baseball operations Derek Falvey tells Phil Miller of the Minneapolis Star Tribune that a significant bullpen addition it isn’t a pressing concern right now. “If we were to do anything at this point, it would likely be to add depth in the middle [innings],” Falvey said. “We’ll keep an open mind, but [relief pitching is] not a priority.”
Last year, the club’s relief corps was firmly in the middle of the pack. Their collective 3.84 ERA was tied for 15th among the 30 teams in the league, while their 3.85 FIP was 14th, their 3.79 xFIP 10th and their 3.50 SIERA ninth. That group also took a hit when deadline acquisition Michael Fulmer reached free agency, though he remains unsigned.
It seems Falvey and the other decision makers in Minnesota have a lot of faith in their internal options. Jorge López was acquired from the Orioles at the deadline last year but still has two remaining years of club control. “We did our bullpen shopping at the [trade] deadline last year by adding some depth, adding Jorge [López],” Falvey said. After many years of mediocre performance as a starter, López converted to a bullpen role full-time in 2022 to great results. In 44 appearances for the O’s, he posted a 1.68 ERA while getting grounders at a 60% clip, striking out 27.6% of batters faced and walking 8.7%. Unfortunately, he didn’t maintain that pace after the trade, with a 4.37 ERA, 53.7% grounder rate, 17.6% strikeout rate and 13.7% walk rate as a Twin.
López will be looking for a bounceback after that frustrating finish to his 2022 campaign, though the club also has other intriguing names in the mix that could step up. Jhoan Durán was primarily a starter in the minors but cracked the majors last year in a relief role and utterly dominated. He tossed 67 2/3 innings over 57 appearances with a 1.86 ERA, getting grounders at a 61% clip while striking out 33.5% of opponents and walking just 6% of them. “He adapted to a new role, at the highest level, faster than we could have hoped,” Falvey said.
As for others in the mix that they’re encouraged by, Falvey had this to say: “We watched Griffin Jax develop into someone we can rely on. What Jovani Moran did the last month of the season, it’s something he can really build upon.” Jax also moved from a starter to a reliever in 2022, and while he didn’t match Durán’s results, he still did well. With 65 appearances last year, he finished the year with a 3.36 ERA, 47.3% ground ball rate, 26.9% strikeout rate and 6.9% walk rate. Moran, meanwhile, put up a 2.21 ERA in 40 2/3 innings, keeping the ball on the ground at a 48.9% pace, while striking out 32.9% of batters faced, though he did walk 11% of them.
Though Falvey admits they might still make a small addition, it seems they feel they already have the high-leverage arms they need. “We feel like we have the eighth and ninth innings covered,” he says. Other relievers likely to be in the club’s bullpen include Caleb Thielbar, Emilio Pagán, Jorge Alcalá and Trevor Megill.
Not a bad offseason. I still believe they will trade one of their OFers, probably Kepler.
I’ve been thinking Kepler gets traded at the end of spring training for a reliever that had a good showing but won’t make a club.
Maybe the Yankees pick him up if injuries pile up during spring training.
Frankly I’m surprised they didn’t structure a trade for him already. He’s the Cashman-prototypical player.
Man, I like the Twins but when are they gonna learn that mediocre pitching will only get them to the first round of the playoffs.
They’ll pick up a relief arm at some point. Either during spring training or at the trade deadline.
This is an acceptable group to start the season with.
A rotation full of 2s and 3s is a huge step forward for this team. Having a true ace helps, but teams have won it all with lesser pitching staffs than this.
It’s a good thing they don’t have mediocre pitching on the roster. Duran and Lopez are two of the best in the league! There aren’t any high leverage pitchers to be had unless you make a trade which at this point would be difficult to pull off. Not a lot of teams are looking to unload their bullpen!
That’s not a good excuse there were plenty of good free agent relievers they could have acquired this off season if they didn’t have the heads up th…. In the sand
At times, Sonny Gray pitches like a acre. Good K/9 this past season. Health is always a primary concern with Gray. He’s the closest pitcher to a number one.
If Pablo Looez maintained his consistency and not give up blow up innings, he still has the chance to become an affordable #1. He is still very young.
Jorge Lopez with the Twins in 23 games. He made only 6 of 23 appearances 1-2-3 innings.
4.37 ERA, 4.35 FIP, 4.95 xFIP. 7.15 K/9 5.56 BB/9, 1.63 WHIP
Lopez was objectively terrible with the Twins. Couldn’t generate K’s, walked tons of guys, gave up quite a few hits and struggled to get off the mound cleanly. Suffice it to say Twins fans who follow the team aren’t super enthusiastic about Jorge Lopez.
Most twins fans I see live in la la land with rose colored glasses on. It’s almost disturbing how much the team can do-no-wrong to those on twins Reddit and half of twins daily
I think they’re still convinced Mahle is a 1a pitcher.
The only team I can think of that won it all with a mediocre starting staff was the Angels, and their bullpen was legendary.
Not sure I agree with his assessment but many teams have relied on converted starters to cover those last 2 innings to great success in the past. Good luck.
Twins have had some success too Glen Perkins and Joe Nathan (joe converted in SF though)
They’re stuck in the good not great group of players. None of them are the type of player a team releases but only Duran is an elite talent. Jorge Lopez showed he can be elite last year while on the Orioles but wasn’t that player when he came to Minnesota. I disliked the pagan/Paddack for Rogers trade the moment it went down and would throw them both off the team for a dome dog. Truth is though they both have good stuff with bad results.
Basically they don’t have a releasable player if they did bring in another arm. And the arms they have brought into the pen during the offseason have been atrocious these past two years, Pagan and Colome. IMO those two were big parts of the Twins not winning the division last two years along with the release of Eddie Rosario
Your bullpen must be pretty decent when Pagan is your worst option
Uh. Pagan has been the worst reliever in the league for 3 seasons. Literally any team could put him on their roster and claim he’s their worst option
Lol that can’t be true…
Can it ?
Emilio Pagan has generated -0.5 fWAR over the past 3 years. Poor control, and cutter that winds up in the seats at an alarming rate.
Their entire pitching staff (and SP depth) is sneakily good.
Obviously not good enough or they would of made postseason,
Yup, let’s compare missing last season with tons of injuries to this season with 3 of those starters coming back, and an added Lopez as well.
When you add a #2, get 3 of your top 4 from last year back healthy. Makes a difference.
Every team has injuries that’s why you need depth.Expect more from your team,Winning central isn’t good enough,Your lucky your team isn’t in a endless rebuild like mine is,Just making postseason isn’t enough but lot of fans are happy with mediocrity yearafter year and owners love those kind of fans,
They have more arms better talent heading into this season. Pablo Lopez and Kenta Maeda will be a huge boost to that rotation!
They better get lot more than those 2 if you want to compete with Astros.
I’m not a huge fan of falling back on the injury bug excuse, but the Twins rotation was devastated last season as was the bullpen by injuries. This year it’s going to be a lot better with Kent Maeda and Mahle healthy, alongside Gray, Lopez, and Ryan.
Ober, Duran, Acala, Varland, Jax, and Thielbar will likely make up the pen.
That’s a pretty good squad of starters and relievers. And they’ve got a number of good prospects waiting to get called up in SWR, Moran, Winder, and hopefully Balazovic.
Do you think a healthy Twins team can match-up with the Astros.Winning the championship is the only thing that matters.Winning a weak division shouldn’t be the goal.
At the end of last year : No Mahle , Maeda , Ober , and Alcala
Pair those 4 PLUS Pablo Lopez
With Ryan , Jax , Duran , Thielbar , Sonny Gray , and Moran
And this staff could be alarmingly good
Lot of teams seem good in Spring till the actual season starts and reality sinks in.
I don’t think the current options are very strong except Duran. Outside of consistent contact hitting with too much swing for the fences as inappropriate times in the lineup this bullpen group listed is a very weak link.
Honestly they need to keep Varland on the club and convert him to a late inning reliever for this season and move him to the rotation the following season. Varland with Duran could be special and can do a much better job keeping batters like Aaron Judge, Mike Trout, and Bryce Harper in check.
A pitching staff of this would be very solid:
1) Joe Ryan
2) Tyler Mahle
3) Pablo Lopez
4) Sonny Gray
5) Bailey Ober
1) Kenta Maeda (moves to rotation when injuries occur)
*Bullpen Middle Relievers
1) Jorge Lopez
2) Jorge Acala (slots into Varland role in 2024)
3) Caleb Thielbar
*Bullpen Late Innings
1) Johan Duran
2) Louis Varland (Slots into rotation in 2024)
3) Griffin Jax
*Depth in Minors to be called up when injuries occur
1) Simeon Woods-Richardson (starter)
2) Josh Winder (bullpen/starter 2023 and starter 2024+)
3) Connor Prielipp (bullpen 2023/2024 and starter in 2025+)
4) Ronny Henriquez (bullpen)
5) Jordan Balazovic (bullpen)
6) Jovani Moran (bullpen)
Moran is much better than you realize, and Alcala doesn’t have a good third pitch so I doubt he’ll ever be considered as a starter again.
Yes I think Moran has a bright future. I am thinking at some point this season he might leapfrog Thielbar. He doesn’t have the gas that Acala has, but he is capable for sure
deGrom Texas Ranger
Gray is much better than you seem to credit him for. He is not a 4 and probably above Mahle and likely Lopez. He may even be better than Ryan. Look at his numbers in CIN vs what the average pitcher would have given up per 9 innings in that environment.
Gray and Maeda are the only pitchers I’d consider worthy of being rotation leaders.
Joe Ryan is a mid/back end rotation arm Twins fans have adopted as the next great thing due to some pretty unreasonably lucky results to start the season. Ober’s injury history is tough to ignore. I doubt he’s durable enough to stay in the rotation and the Twins have already made it clear they don’t really expect Ober in the rotation anyway.
That’s the order I’d have them in. If Maeda and Gray can remain healthy, it could be very formidable.
Tyler Mahle isn’t good enough to be the 2nd man in the rotation if your list is indicating order,I’d put him 4th or 5th.
It was hard last year for Twins starters to stay under 100 pitches and get 18 outs. There was no confidence offered by the skipper. That left a lot of relief work.
That should be fixed this year, with Bundy and Archer’s slots filled with real starters. Hopefully Baldelli and FO are smart enough to recognize that and start letting these guys go a third time through the order.
Hopefully, but Baldelli handled those guys last season like he was wearing mittens. He needs to let them take their lumps and stretch them out further instead of pulling them all the time at 5-1/3 innings. All he succeeded in doing last year was wear out the pen.
First you need to be good and pitch with purpose. I saw more than one 30-pitch inning last year.
It is said that Maddux would throw a setup pitch that he would mentally catalog for use later in the season. That’s while completing a game under two hours, 90 pitches and throwing a shutout … and, maybe, getting on base and scoring a run..
Yeah, and Christy Mathewson used to save a little something for those hard to strike out guys, but bringing either Maddux or Mathewson into a discussion about 30+ pitch innings seems a little irrelevant.
They had injuries and some guys had down years. The numbers reflect that and the team isn’t putting many of those guys back into the roles where they failed so things should improve.
Across the majors, there’s virtually no drop off in xFIP for the TTO.
Not real knowledgable about ALCentral, but appears Cleveland has best pitching staff there, would have to give them edge for division favorite, but Twins have some talent, maybe they overperform a bit and surprise. Best of luck to them.
Yeah… Karnichak , Clase, Stevens , the big lefty from Minn. , De Los Santos
Biebs , MaCkenzie , Quantrill , Civale , Plesac
That’s easily the best staff in A.L. central but I’d take the Twins 2nd over White Sox and it’s not close
Falvey: Brains “not a strength”
You build your entire team philosophy around a misapplication of the statsheet saying pitchers get worse the third time through and make it a blanket policy… so you have zero guys throw enough qualifying innings, and you don’t think bullpen is a priority? Absolute moron. If You’re gonna pull starters at 4 innings every game, you can’t hope for a middle of the pack bullpen you need one of the best in the league. 3rd place again
That seems to be a MLB problem, it strictly a Twins issue. But I agree, pitchers who go deep with a low count are now the exception, and because of that you absolutely NEED a solid bullpen.
Well the twins were one of 6 teams that didn’t have anyone with enough qualifying innings, which isn’t ‘nobody else’ but it’s also nowhere near the entire league. Also, the other 5 teams were Pittsburgh, Washington, Detroit, Cincinnati, and Kansas City. None of which were trying to compete…. So as far as teams claiming they are trying to win, it really is just a twins problem.
The Twins were 2nd to last in the league with respect to pitches/start at 78.
The average was 85. The Astros lead the league with 92. The Rays were last with 72.
The Twins starters on average threw 7 pitches fewer than the league average.
It’s a league-wide issue.
Let me give a bit more perspective. The league average 20 years ago (2002) was 95. The fewest pitches per start in 2002 was Pittsburgh with 89.
The worst 20 years ago was 3 pitches off leading the league last season.
This past season’s league leaders would have been less than the league average 20 years ago.
It’s a league-wide issue.
“The Twins were 2nd to last in the league with respect to pitches/start at 78.”
“It’s a league-wide issue.”
Funny. Your first quote contradicts your last. Now filter it by teams that were actually competitive, it’ll skew higher.
No it wasn’t .
The Rays get skewed in that because they frequently used an “opener” rather than a starter. Twins set an all time record for the amount of time it took for a starter to get to 100 innings. It’s Baldelli.
The reduction in pitches is league-wide. It’s not expected pitchers go 7-8 innings per start with any regularity anymore; however, starting pitchers went 6+ innings 80% of the time last year.
The Twins had no pitcher averaging even 5.2 innings per start until the late season desperation to avoid the bullpen led Baldelli to keep Joe Ryan in longer.
Baldelli consistently pulled his starters earlier than any other manager in the league by a substantial amount.
The Twins starters on average threw 7 pitches fewer than the league average. I don’t consider that a substantial amount.
That’s a huge amount for an average. HUGE.
The stats clearly show that almost all pitchers get worse the third time through the order. The fact there are some exceptions doesn’t mean that yanking pitchers early is bad. The Twins did leave some pitchers in when they looked dominant and I don’t recall too many doing well in the rest of the game or in the next game they pitched.
Paul the stats don’t show that at all. xFIP doesn’t change. What does change is *very* skewed numbers. I’ve posted this before, but think about it logically.
Say top of 1st, 1st guy in lineup gets a single. 2nd guy walks. 3rd guy homers. Then you record 6 straight outs the rest of the way.
Your opponent slash line is .250/.333/.625 (.958 OPS)
2nd time through the order (top 3rd inning now) exact same scenario happens, and you record 6 straight outs again.
Your opponent slash line is .250/.333/.625 (.958 OPS)
3rd time through the order, exact same scenario happens again… but now you’re in the 5th inning and you’ve given up 9 runs, so the manager pulls the pitcher before facing batters 4-9. So he only gave up the single, walk, homer, then was pulled.
Slash line 3rd time through is 1.000/1.000/2.500 (3.500 OPS)
It’s an intentionally extreme example but that’s exactly what the splits would show.
1st time through order .958
2nd time through order .958
3rd time through order 3.500
And that is a very real thing that happens, the first sign of trouble the third time through, guys get pulled and they don’t face the easier batters. Even though it’s usually not this extreme, the same thing happens.
The evidence, besides xFIP, is look at individual batter’s splits and you will see that just as many guys do WORSE the third facing a starter as guys thst do better.
It’s an absolute myth calculated by misappropriating information
Agreed. Exit velocity, hard hit, xFIP are all pretty stable between STO and TTO. Last time I checked, xFIP increased 0.25pts from FTO to STO and only like 0.12pts from STO to TTO.
If a pitcher has been dealing, a manager is just hurting the team by going to a mediocre middle reliever in the 6th inning.
I agree with others that you can’t downplay a bullpen when it’s putting up innings comparable with your starting staff. They can use starters ready to crack the majors, but it stunts the growth if they really wanna give a potential starter innings.
Also to have 8-9 guys is not enough. Teams need at least two 8th inning guys and someone to step into 9th if the team goes on a run of close games or if there is an injury.
The Twins could compete for a championship if they get a giant garbage bag for the right field area. It’s the only path.
How bout ownership committed to winning.Not just the Central Division,
What does “committed to winning” mean to you? The Twins have been spending $140-150MM the last couple years. They signed the best shortstop in baseball back to back seasons. They brought in front line starters (Maeda, Gray), they overpaid to lock up their franchise player (Buxton.)
Get back to me when they make some noise in postseason.Plus your payrolls for twins aren’t accurate.
Front Line starters don’t have 4.66 era’s like Maeda’s was in 2021.Gray you can make an argument for but he’s good not elite.If your happy with what you have i guesss your happy going another year not competing with the big boys.
They’re not “my” numbers. They’re the numbers from Spotrac, Cots and Stevetheump. Let me know if you have better sources.
Not sure what you mean by this response, but using ERA from a guy with a torn UCL in relatively small sample sizes doesn’t convince me much.
Maeda’s not my first choice for an ace by any means, but as a potential #2 type guy? He has the potential. He’s a 3.0 WAR type pitcher over a full season. Better than the riff raff.
So again… what’s your complaint? The Twins need to spend $300MM a year? Or maybe they need to only sign crippling contracts like Stephen Strasburg got? I’ve been pretty critical of the ownership and front office, but it’s pretty clear the ownership is not standing in the way of success anymore.
I only have one thing to say.Do you think this roster can bring a Championship to your city?Do you believe they have done enough?
No. I don’t believe this is likely a championship team. They lack an ace. It’s a team which can make the playoffs, but one which will probably be swept back out.
A bunch of solid rotation arms can get the winning percentage to win the division even, but when you’re spotting a run or two in a playoff game based on starting pitching, the odds are really tough to overcome in 5-7 game series’.
The owners are not the ones who make the roster, though. I don’t want them to try and be the ones who make the roster, either. In cities where the owners stick their noses into roster construction across sports, those teams fail.
If you want to talk about Falvey and his “I’m smarter than everybody else in baseball” attitude, you’ll find me in agreement, but it seems like the Pohlads have absolutely, 100% opened the pockets like never in history.
The Pohlad family has been known as consummate businesspeople, running the Twins with a sharp eye on the bottom line, yet they’ve lost money or risked losing money in 4 straight seasons now. They’ve done everything fans could reasonably ask so I cannot fault them at this point.
I appreciate your reply.I’m a diehard MLB fan for what will be 42 seasons this year but i’m disgusted by how so many teams don’t try 100% to win.To me the sport would be in way better shape if every team had equal chance to win title.Even if they don’t bring home title at least get close.My team has been tanking for 7-8 years after having probably the best 10 years in franchise history,Unfortunately their owner died an now it’s back to the organization being mediocre.It was cool to see Seattle finally wake up from the grave.We need more of these dormant teams to come alive to make the sport great.Players and owners don’t seem to care about abusing fan loyalty,They never address teams not competing ever time there is labour aggreement,If i wasn’t such a diehard of the sport i’d just stop watching but i can’t 🙁
Good Luck to Twins,
TERRY MULHOLLAND FAN CLUB PRESIDENT
Get rid of Pagán.
Twins will never be consistent winners with Falvey and his spreadsheets running the show. The product assembled on the field and his team vision is alienating Twins territory.
ridiculous statement. They are A FAR better team this season than last. EASILY.
Newsflash for you Arraez is now playing in MIA. Don’t think that makes Twins FAR better this year.
How are they far better than last year? They lost urshela and Arraez, which were 2 of their best offensive players. They replaced them with farmer and Taylor. Taylor is a great defender, farmer is a downgrade offensively and defensively. Miranda is the plan at third base but sophomore slumps are incredibly common, it’s silly to put so much weight on that.
Starting rotation looks better on paper but is also full of injury prone guys, which was their excuse last year. You can’t fall back on the injuries as a bad luck excuse when you fill your team with guys with major injury history.
And the bullpen is ugly outside of Duran and maybe Moran.
They’re not any better than last year at all. .500 at best
The biggest issue I read from this article is that FAILvy says the Twins have the 8th and 9th innings covered. Seriously how are they getting to the 8th when Rocco and their philosophy was to pull starters at under 5 innings each game. Who is the bridge from 5-8?? The issue isn’t the arms the Twins have but the brains they are using. Get the starters to 6/7 innings and the team has a chance to be a lot better than last year.
The Twins can’t get a number 1 pitcher and that’s ok.
Load the staff with #2 and 3’s with the potential to pitch any given October day like a #1 and we have a chance!
The staff should look like 2,2,3,3,3’s instead of 2,3,5,5,5!
Twins should load the staff with twos and threes who can pitch like some on any given October day. We don’t need an “ace”. Just stay away from the fours and fives!
We should load the staff with twos and threes who can pitch like some on any given October day. We don’t need an “ace”. Just stay away from the fours and fives!
I’m not sold on Pablo Lopez… an ERA close to 4. First year with over 150 innings pitched. K rate is average. Walk rate is average. He’s not an ace, more like a solid 3. You gave up an on base machine. Sure Arraez doesn’t play any position well, but you can always find a spot in LF or at DH to play him. Teams need a guy with OBP to score when the big hitters come up.
I think the Marlins won that deal. Twins got 2 minor leaguers too… still think the Marlins won this trade.
All Arraez does is get hits off right handed pitchers.
Doesn’t play defense, isn’t fast, doesn’t walk or take deep counts, no power and is unplayable vs lefties (30% of league)
Arraez did go deep into counts. He doesn’t hit for power and doesn’t hit lefties well. He hits RHPs as well as anyone in the league.
Nope he didn’t. Statistics showed he was middle of the pack in pitches per at bat. Didn’t strike out much because he’s so good at making contact. That’s why he doesn’t walk much.
Not sure who you guys are talking about… Arraez has a lifetime 8.7% walk rate… better than average. Very low K% and only 6 GDP’s, so he doesn’t make outs. .314 lifetime batting average… .375 lifetime OBP. 31 doubles last year, so he has doubles power. At 2B he was roughly average. He could always play LF just to get the bat in the lineup.
Imagine the excitement if the Yankees had picked him up? Put him LF and at the top of the order… let Judge and Stanton knock him in.. LOL So many haters out there.
Magill is underrated. I saw flashes of dominance when he pitched in the cubs pen. He isn’t quite as good as his brother but still pretty good.
Megill has a big fastball, but it’s very straight and his off speed/breaking pitches have no control and limited movement. Endless meatballs
I agree with many of the rest. Twins bullpen has consistently pitched more innings than most other pens. Twins are building depth in rotation but don’t value bp depth?
Not gonna be happy if SWR, Winder, Ober, Varland miss out on valuable starter innings because the twins need bp help this year.
Falvey and co have shown an ability to spend money, but are more terrified of spending money on pitching than any FO I’ve ever seen.
I was afraid of that. The bullpen will need to improve from their middle of the pack production last year. Jorge Lopez looked all-world for Baltimore (except when he faced the Twins) but bad after he was traded. Alcala is coming off an injury, Pagan has not been good for several years and shouldn’t be put in high leverage situations. Thielbar gets by on smoke and mirrors and will always have his bad stretches. Jax should be a starter but will be forced into the BP. Duran had a great year. Moran looks good but the team didn’t put him into many high leverage situations. Megill is a AAA pitcher. Henriquez has about 20 IP and who knows how good he will be. Sands doesn’t look ready. Beyond that, we’re going to be putting AAA SPs in the bullpen instead of having them start. I can usually pick from 10 RPs I think should start the season on the roster. This year I can only find 6 RPs that look passable to good.
This is silliness. There is no doubt the Twins need two more decent relievers to start the season. You can count on at least one or two mentioned in the article to be hurt and especially gotta hope Duran stays healthy. He faired well last year but Rocco might need to apply his load management philosophy to the bullpen so they don’t get burnt out with all the innings they have to take from the starters getting yanked in 4..
You can start a sentence with meanwhile. I promise you it’s ok.