Saturday, August 26, 2017

Revamping the bullpen

John Curtiss, the 35th pitcher used by the Minnesota Twins
this season, embraces catcher Chris Gimenez after finishing
Friday's win at Toronto
It's been more than a week since I wrote about the Twins here, and I doubt that I could accurately recount the roster maneuvers employed by the front office in that time as the Twins navigated a pair of doubleheaders.

One of them, however, was the addition of John Curtiss to the bullpen.

Curtiss is certainly intriguing. I've written repeatedly about the waves of college relievers the Twins drafted during Terry Ryan's second reign as general manager. We're starting, at what seems like long last, to see some results for those picks -- not from Nick Burdi, J.T. Chargois, Tyler Jay or Mason Melotakis, but from Tyler Duffey, Trevor Hildenberger and now Curtiss.

Curtiss' 2017 minor league stats are revealing. An ERA over two levels of 1.28. No homers allowed at all -- this year or last. More than 12 strikeouts per nine innings. 

And four walks per nine innings, which is more than the Twins are wont to tolerate. But he's been essentially unhittable the past two seasons, and his WHIP -- walks and hits per inning pitched -- is well under 1, which is very good indeed.

Curtiss is a power arm. As is Alan Busenitz, who is earning an increasingly prominent role in Paul Molitor's revamped bullpen. As is Ryan Pressly, whose inconsistency has earned him an increasingly less prominent role.

We can split the bullpen into two parts: Those Molitor trusts in key situations and those he doesn't.

Group One: Hildenberger, Duffey, Taylor Rogers, Matt Belisle, Busenitz

Group Two: Curtiss, Pressly, Glen Perkins

The status can change. The names certainly have. Only three of those eight have been on the roster all season.

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