TwinsCentric was formed by Twins super-bloggers Seth Stohs, Nick Nelson, Parker Hageman and John Bonnes. Together they publish at and have authored books, e-books and magazines that provide independent and in-depth coverage of the Minnesota Twins from a fan's perspective. You can contact them at

Read more about them.

TwinsCentric: State of Twins Bullpen

Posted by: Seth Stohs Updated: November 1, 2012 - 3:00 AM

In the recent Twins Daily interview with Twins GM Terry Ryan, it was surprising to hear him say that his Number Two priority, after starting pitching, was the bullpen. He followed by using the old “You can never have enough pitching” cliché. It is a cliché, of course, because it has proven true over many years of baseball history.

It was surprising because the Twins bullpen was a bright spot in 2012. However, I wanted to take a look at the pitchers that could potentially comprise the Twins 2013 bullpen to see if it is an area that the Twins should address this offseason.

The Closer 

Glen Perkins has established himself as one of the best left-handed relievers in baseball the last couple of seasons. His fastball-slider combination can be devastating to lefty and righty batters alike. He has pitched in every role including the ninth inning and done well.

The Others

The rest of the bullpen does come with at least some question marks.



Jared Burton came to the Twins last year as a six-year minor league free agent. He became available because he had missed a lot of time the two previous seasons with injury. The Twins eased him back in 2012 and he performed incredibly well, posting a 2.18 ERA and a 0.92 WHIP. 

Similarly Casey Fien came to the Twins as a minor league free agent before the 2012 season. He had a terrific spring training, but he was very pedestrian in Rochester. However, once he came to the Twins, he was great. In 35 games, he posted a 2.06 ERA and a 0.97. Unlike Burton, the 29-year-old had no big league success (just 11 games) coming into the season. Maybe he finally found the key to success? Maybe he’ll turn back into a pumpkin in 2013?

Brian Duensing needs to be a bullpen guy. Just a bullpen guy. In 2012, he was a solid 2-4 with a 3.47 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP as a reliever. However, he was 2-8 with a 6.92 ERA and a 1.69 WHIP as a starter. It primarily comes down to the fact that he is tremendous against left-handed batters but really poor against right-handers. In those games he started, teams set their lineups full of right-handed bats. He can be a great asset if used in the right role.

Alex Burnett had a very solid season in 2012. He posted a 3.52 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP despite striking out just 4.5 batters per nine innings. It’s hard to imagine that success can be maintained with that few strikeouts. However, he’s still just 25 years old and ended the season on a good strikeout note, so hopefully it is something he learned from and can carry into 2013.

Anthony Swarzak’s overall numbers in 2012 weren’t very good (5.03 ERA, 1.42 WHIP). However, he made five starts and went 0-5 with an 8.10 ERA and a 1.80 WHIP in this games. As a long reliever, he was 3-1 with a 4.05 ERA and 1.30 WHIP. Very average numbers, but that’s alright at the back end of the bullpen.

Tyler Robertson represented himself well in his big league debut. The soon-to-be 25-year-old showed a very good slider that could be very tough on lefties. As you would expect, he was inconsistent, but showed promise. Can he show improvement in 2013? Will the Twins want to bring in a more proven lefty? Ryan will certainly want to give him some competition.

If that is the composition of the 2013 bullpen, it is a strong bullpen at the back-end with Perkins, Burton and Duensing. The others provide some question marks but each has room to get better… or take a step backwards. And, of course, injuries are almost impossible to predict.

Others Possibilities

Even after last week’s roster purge that made Esmerling Vasquez, Luis Perdomo, Jeff Manship and Kyle Waldrop free agents along with Matt Capps whose option for 2013 was turned down, there are still some options that could provide bullpen depth. Remember that the Twins will likely acquire at least a couple of starting pitchers. Some of the guys who made starts for the Twins last night could compete for a long-relief job with the Twins.

PJ Walters resigned on a minor league contract. Before his injury last year, he was pitching quite well. Samuel Deduno was wild, but is certainly intriguing. If he isn’t starting, could he do a good job out of the bullpen? Cole De Vries could start but could also work out of long relief. In the minors, he was quite successful in short relief as well. Nick Blackburn may never make another start for the Twins, but could they get any value for him in the bullpen?

I also have to mention Deolis Guerra. He is out of options, so he will have to make the Twins active roster and stay on it all year. If not, he will have to go through waivers and could potentially be claimed. Would that be the end of the world? Most likely not, but for a team looking to make strides in 2013 with some young players, Guerra certainly will get every chance.

And, as a blogger, you know I have to also mention Anthony Slama. No, his fastball didn’t exceed 88 mph most of the 2012 season, and he missed almost two months after breaking his leg on a come-backer. But one look at the numbers he has put up throughout his minor league career and the 29-year-old deserves a chance.

It’s also possible that Walters is not the only recently released player who could come back. I wouldn’t be surprised if a couple of the Vasquez, Perdomo, Manship and Waldrop group would come back. Again, there’s no such thing as too much pitching. And frankly, there aren’t a lot of Twins minor league pitchers who are screaming to be promoted to AAA next year.


The back of the Twins bullpen certainly looks strong, but after that, there are a lot of question marks. Ideally, guys like Fien, Burnett and Robertson will all take a step forward while Deolis Guerra shows that his 88 mph fastball is OK thanks to his tremendous changeup. There are a lot of arms here and there is some depth.

Personally, I would probably not spend any of the big league budget on the bullpen. I would do just like they did last year. I would bring in six to eight relievers on minor league contracts. As they did last year, the guys they brought in all threw fastballs into the mid-90s. They found success with Samuel Deduno, Jared Burton and Casey Fien. Jason Bulger didn’t pan out. Luis Perdomo and Esmerling Vasquez pitched very well in Rochester and earned their short tryouts with the Twins. Those are the types of arms that they should target again.

If watching the playoffs this year taught us anything, it’s that having hard-throwing bullpen options is really valuable. The Twins started addressing that the last couple of drafts and need to complement it with some more power arms. 


Also at Twins Daily, there are a ton of topics going on in the Forum. For instance, you can discuss the Royals acquisition of Ervin Santana or how Twins players are doing in Winter Leagues

Detroit «00100002X340
@Ballpark Replay
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box
W:D.Price(15-12) L:K.Gibson(13-12) S:J.Nathan (35)
HR: MIN- None DET- I.Kinsler (17)


Minnesota 16 FINAL
Buffalo 17
Atlanta 7 FINAL
Baltimore 29
Tennessee 17 FINAL
Washington 19
Seattle 26 FINAL
St. Louis 28
Cleveland 6 FINAL
Jacksonville 24
Cincinnati 0 FINAL
Indianapolis 27
Miami 27 FINAL
Chicago 14
New Orleans 23 FINAL
Detroit 24
Carolina 17 FINAL
Green Bay 38
Kansas City 23 FINAL
San Diego 20
Arizona 24 FINAL
Oakland 13
NY Giants 21 FINAL
Dallas 31
San Francisco 17 FINAL
Denver 42
Houston 7:30 PM
San Diego 10/23/14 7:25 PM
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Boston 95 FINAL
Brooklyn 90
Minnesota 112 FINAL
Oklahoma City 94
Golden State 83 FINAL
Houston 90
Charlotte 96 FINAL
Chicago 101
Utah 91 FINAL
LA Lakers 98
Minnesota 1 FINAL
Los Angeles 2
San Jose 0 FINAL
NY Rangers 4
Calgary 4 FINAL
Winnipeg 1
St. Louis 0 FINAL
Anaheim 3
TX-San Antonio 20 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 27
Syracuse 30 FINAL
Wake Forest 7
Purdue 38 FINAL
Minnesota 39
Western Ky 38 FINAL
Fla Atlantic 45
(12) Baylor 27 FINAL
(22) West Virginia 41
(11) Kansas State 31 FINAL
(17) Oklahoma 30
Iowa 31 FINAL
Maryland 38
So Florida 38 FINAL
Tulsa 30
Tulane 13 FINAL
UCF 20
Virginia 13 FINAL
Duke 20
Akron 20 FINAL
Ohio U 23
Western Mich 26 FINAL
Bowling Green 14
Eastern Mich 14 FINAL
Massachusetts 36
Appalachian St 53 FINAL
Troy 14
(25) UCLA 36 FINAL
California 34
Texas A&M 0 FINAL
(4) Alabama 59
Army 17 FINAL
Kent State 39
Kansas 21 FINAL
Texas Tech 34
Middle Tennessee 34
Rutgers 17 FINAL
(13) Ohio State 56
(8) Michigan State 56 FINAL
Indiana 17
New Mexico 31 FINAL
Air Force 35
NC State 18 FINAL
Louisville 30
(21) Clemson 17 FINAL
Boston College 13
Ball State 32 FINAL
Central Mich 29
Cincinnati 41 FINAL
(9) Georgia 45 FINAL
Arkansas 32
Oklahoma State 9 FINAL
(10) TCU 42
San Jose St 27 FINAL
Wyoming 20
Miami-Ohio 41 FINAL
Northern Ill 51
New Mexico St 17 FINAL
Idaho 29
Colorado 28 FINAL
(20) USC 56
(23) Marshall 45 FINAL
FIU 13
Southern Miss 30 FINAL
North Texas 20
Georgia Tech 43 FINAL
North Carolina 48
Tennessee 3 FINAL
(3) Ole Miss 34
Utah State 13 FINAL
Colorado State 16
Missouri 42 FINAL
Florida 13
Kentucky 3 FINAL
(24) LSU 41
(16) Nebraska 38 FINAL
Northwestern 17
Georgia State 27 FINAL
South Alabama 30
Washington 20 FINAL
(6) Oregon 45
Iowa State 45 FINAL
Texas 48
(7) Notre Dame 27 FINAL
(2) Florida State 31
Nevada 42 FINAL
BYU 35
Stanford 10 FINAL
(14) Arizona State 26
Hawaii 10 FINAL
San Diego St 20
Arkansas State 10/21/14 7:00 PM
Connecticut 10/23/14 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 10/23/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Columbus 3 FINAL
Red Bull New York 1
Seattle 2 FINAL
Los Angeles 2
Ottawa 6 FINAL
Hamilton 16
Montreal 20 FINAL
Toronto 12
Calgary 33 FINAL
Winnipeg 23
Edmonton 24 FINAL
Saskatchewan 19
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: How confident are you the Twins will improve in 2015?

Weekly Question