Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Blaine Boyer and the opening bullpen

Blaine Boyer is 9-15,
4.63 with two saves
in eight seasons in
the majors.
The Twins announced Monday that Blaine Boyer had been added to the 40-man roster and would be on the 25-man active roster, Then they started the 33-year-old relief pitcher against the Red Sox that evening.

Not that the start means anything in terms of the team's plans, Kyle Gibson was ill, and a bullpen game fit Paul Molitor's stated intent to stretch out some of the relief pitchers this week.

It didn't go well. Boyer was OK, even though he couldn't get out of the second inning. But Brian Duensing was shelled, and Caleb Thielbar didn't help his slender chances of going north.

It was kind of cute listening to Dan Gladden pretend there is still question about the final bullpen spot. There is no way the Twins are giving J.R. Graham back to the Braves, and that makes this seven-man bullpen:

Glen Perkins, the
one "sure thing"
in the Twins pen,
has had just three
Grapefruit League
Closer: Glen Perkins
Setup 1: Casey Fien
Setup 2/LOOGY: Duensing
MR1: Tim Stauffer
MR2: Boyer
MR3: Graham
Long: Mike Pelfrey

All bullpens are works in progress. The pecking order and personnel behind Perkins is very likely to be shuffled and reshuffled over the course of the season. Fien and Duesning are not ideal for the setup roles, I didn't care for the Stauffer signing from the beginning, Pelfrey is Pelfrey and Boyer's impressive spring is out of context with his track record.

Boyer hit 95 on the stadium gun at least once Monday night. Even if the radar guns in Fort Myers are a bit "hot", he's shown more velocity than he has in the past, and there's been some dispute over one of his pitchers. He calls it a cutter; Terry Ryan, veteran evaluator, says it's a tight slider. Whatever one calls it, it's been effective. Time will tell if this is an illusion.

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