Hello Twins fans. In my last post, I previewed the Twins starting rotation. In looking at the bullpen spots, there are four or five spots already filled in a seven man bullpen depending on how you look at things. Let’s look at the pitchers who are for sure on the club.
Matt Capps: 69 appearances, 4-7, 4.25 ERA, 15 Saves, 13 Walks, 34 Strikeouts
Glen Perkins: 65 appearances, 4-4, 2.48 ERA, 2 Saves, 21 Walks, 65 Strikeouts
Brian Duensing: 32 Appearances, 28 Starts, 9-14, 5.23 ERA, 52 Walks, 115 Strikeouts
Anthony Swarzak: 27 Appearances, 11 Starts, 4-7, 4.32 ERA, 26 Walks, 55 Strikeouts
Matt Capps was brought back to be the closer this season after Joe Nathan left for Texas via free agency. Last season Capps led the club in appearances with 69. The thing that scares me about Capps is he allowed 10 HR and 66 hits in the 65 2/3 innings he pitched.
Perkins will be the left handed setup man. . Up until last season, he’d not been on the best of terms with the organization. The question heading into last season was will Perkins be with the club or was he on his way out? In the end, he made the club out of Spring Training and had his best year.
As for who will be the right handed setup man, Joel Zumaya will be filling that role barring any injuries. Zumaya hasn’t pitched since 2010 when he injured his elbow while pitching for the Detroit Tigers against the Twins in a game at Target Field. That’s why I say that there are either four or five spots filled in the bullpen depending on whether or not Zumaya is healthy.
As for who will be the long relievers out of the bullpen, it will be Duensing and Swarzak. Both pitched in the starting rotation last season. Duensing pitched in the starting rotation before suffering an injury in August. He was sometimes inconsistent and also pitched well at other times.
As for Swarzak, He filled in nicely at various times for injured starters last season. Look for him to be the right handed long relief guy in the bullpen.
There may be a possibility that the Twins could have six bullpen spots filled. That’s because they have a Rule 5 draft pick in Terry Doyle, a right handed pitcher from the Chicago White Sox. If the Twins don’t keep Doyle on their 25 man roster, they will have to offer him back to the White Sox or work out a trade like they did for last year’s Rule 5 Draft pick in Scott Diamond if they want to keep Doyle in their Minor League system.
But, there are several pitchers to battle for the remaining openspot or spots in the bullpen depending on how things shake out. One reliever I think we should keep an eye on is Alex Burnette. Last year, Burnette pitched to an ERA of 5.51 while walking 21 batters and fanning 33 in 50 2/3 innings. The club would like him to be most consistent, but the fact he’s pitched for 2 seasons in the majors may help his cause if he does well this Spring Training.
Some other pitchers to keep an eye on this spring training.