Thursday, August 15, 2019

One that got away

The Twins had an opportunity to extend their lead, but didn't take advantage of it. Putting the eighth-inning problems concisely:

  • Sergio Romo is probably not the best right-hander in the pen to face a lefty with power and
  • Jorge Polanco is in a fielding slump at shortstop.
Winnable games get away sometimes. They always hurt. They particularly hurt in a pennant race.

Two interesting developments regarding minor league bullpen possibilities on Wednesday.

First, the Twins lost Ryan Eades to the Baltimore Orioles on waivers. Eades had a brief callup earlier in the season, pitching in two games. He had 3.2 scoreless innings but had six baserunners.

This is a good development for the right-hander; he's got a lot more opportunity with the Birds, who have a team ERA of 5.91 and have gone through 36 pitchers this year. (Some of them are position players, but still ...)

Selling off Eades opens a spot on the Twins 40-man roster, which would allow them to add somebody on waivers or to bring up somebody who isn't on the 40 already.

The odds are against a useful piece hitting outright waivers. The odds are even more against a useful actually reaching the Twins, who do have the fourth-best record in baseball despite all the wailing and gnashing of teeth. So the more likely benefit from the Eades move is to create a route for a not-on-the-40 player to come to the Twins.

Which brings us to the other development: Brusdar Graterol, generally considered the Twins' top pitching prospect, made his first relief appearance since 2017 (his first season in the states), picking up the save for Double-A Pensacola and reportedly hitting 102 on the radar gun.

I'm personally skeptical of the notion that the 20-year-old will get a September role. That he pitched in relief isn't surprising despite his lack of such use. He's missed much of the season with injury, and they weren't going to have him trying to goe five innings (or more) fresh off the injured list.

But I get why outside observers might anticipate such a move. The Twins bullpen lacks power arms, and Graterol is certainly a power arm. Since he has just 12 games pitched on his 2019 stat line, the Twins don't need to shut him down to avoid overuse.

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