Monday, May 04, 2009

The Twins Bullpen

There seems to be a lot of angst about the Twins bullpen out there right now. And maybe there is some reason for that since they have already sent two guys to the minor leagues. But its not like the bullpen has been blowing a lot of games. They have taken only two losses, all the rest have been lost by the starters. Part of the reason for the disparity between perception and reality is that they have allowed some inherited runners to score, leaving the starter holding the bag. That is part of what happened with Baker the other night. But the numbers don't lie. It hasn't been the bullpen that has been responsible for the Twins losses - its been the starters.

With the addition of Crain and Mijares whatever problems there have been in the bullpen may be in the past. Guerrier appears to be settling in as well. It seems that it always takes a month or so before the bullpen roles get defined.  Those roles are becoming clearer. Dickey is the mop-up guy and his knuckleball is really ideal for that rubber armed role. Breslow is back to being a second left hander. Last year he exceeded expectations, but the role of LOOGY may be a more appropriate. Ayala is really the only guy whose role is still wide open. He was seen as an 8th inning buy, but unless he can get his sinker to sink, he may turn out to be this year's free agent failure. That will probably depend on the development of some alternatives at AAA. Right now no one is pounding on the door ready to take a job.

Which is the real problem we need to be concerned about. For all the talk about the Twins system's wealth of pitching, right now they are very thin behind both their starters and their bullpen. They need to keep the major league players healthy at least until some of the young guys show they are ready to step up later in the year.  Otherwise it could be a long year.

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