Thursday, June 1, 2017

A reliever with upside

Another game against the Houston Astros, another bullpen meltdown, and another round of musical chairs on the roster.

But there's a subtle difference in the moves this time.

Gone are Ryan Pressly (optioned) and Jason Wheeler (designated for assignment). Pressly's struggles -- he carries a 9.50 ERA to Rochester -- probably deserve a deeper examination than I care to attempt this morning. He was expected to be a key piece of the bullpen this year, and he undoubtably failed, and yet there are some markers in his 2017 stats that are actually positive.

Randy Rosario has
a 2.66 ERA in
Double A Chattanooga
this season.
As for Wheeler -- I doubt anybody's going to claim him on waivers. But he's been outrighted before, and as I understand the rules, he'll have the right to take free agency rather than report to Rochester if he clears waivers. I doubt the Twins are worried about losing him.

Added to the battered bullpen corps are Alex Wimmers and Randy Rosario. Wimmers we saw last year;  he is, like Drew Rucinski and Matt Belisle and Buddy Boshers and Wheeler and seemingly everybody the Twins have cycled through their bullpen this season, a replacement level arm best suited to mop-up duties. He's not a solution.

Randy Rosario (no relation to outfielder Eddie Rosario)  is different. R. Rosario is -- finally --  one of the higher octane arms the Twins have been hoarding in their farm system. Left-handed, turned 23 about two weeks ago, survivor of Tommy John surgery. I saw him pitch in Cedar Rapids in 2015 and posted this report. The Twins moved him to the bullpen late last summer after trying to develop him as a started.

He has all of 14 games above A ball on his resume, and I presume that the Twins were reluctant to expose him to the majors with so little experience. But unlike Wimmers -- or Rucinski and the rest of the recycles -- there's an obvious out pitch in Rosario, there's some velocity, there's the makings of swing-and-miss stuff.

I won't guarantee it will work any better with Rosario than with the others, but it might. And at least it's something different. I would have expected Mason Melotakis over Rosario on the basis of experience, but I'm not complaining.

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