Monday, June 25, 2012

Reorganizing the bullpen

Unlike 2011, the Twins bullpen this year has been effective and, as a result, stable. Other than swapping out Matt Maloney for Jeff Manship as a mop-up/long man -- the least important role in the 'pen -- the relief corps has remained essentially the same.

This is no longer true. Brian Duensing has been moved to the starting rotation, and Matt Capps is headed to the disabled list, with Tyler Robertson called up.

Tyler Robertson
was a third-round
draft pick in 2006.
Capps will never be loved by the fan base, but he is a competent closer, and his presence allowed the trio of Glen Perkins, Jared Burton and Duensing to fill up the seventh and eighth innings with outs.

Now it all gets shaken up. Capps is out of the picture for at least two weeks, and Robertson gets a trial as a LOOGY (Left-handed One Out GuY).

Burton got the save Sunday, but I think that was because Perkins was then the only lefty in the bullpen, and manager Ron Gardenhire wanted to save him in case he needed somebody to match up against Joey Votto and Jay Bruce, Cincinnati's left-handed power.

Gardenhire likes set roles. Robertson provides a second southpaw. I think Perkins is the ninth-inning guy for now.

Here's how I see the new roles:

Alex Burnett: 2-0
with four holds in 2012.
Closer: Perkins
Set-up 1: Burton
Set-up 2/Middle relief 1: Alex Burnett
LOOGY: Robertson
MR2: Jeff Gray
MR3: Anthony Swarzak
Long man: Manship

Other than Robertson and Perkins, the big promotion here would be Burnett. He's appeared in 29 games, 36 innings, with an ERA of exactly 2.00. He hasn't given up a run since May 23rd; he's allowed just two hits this month (7.2 IP).

That ERA overstates his effectiveness; his strikeout rate is just 3.8 per nine innings. At least one of those numbers -- the ERA or the strikeout rate -- is going to get higher. He's gotten outs, so his role is increasing, but it's difficult to sustain the outs with such a low K rate.

No comments:

Post a Comment