It turns out adding major league pitchers to your major league roster creates a whole lot more pitching depth. Who knew?
With Opening Day a week from today, the Twins are working on getting their 25-man roster ready for the season. They did that today by optioning pitchers Tyler Duffey and Alan Busenitz, both 27 years old, to Triple-A Rochester. Both pitchers spent significant time in the majors last year; in fact, it’s the first time Duffey has been sent down to the minors since 2016.
Duffey started 26 games for the Twins in 2016 before moving to a long-relief role out of the bullpen in 2017. He did decently last season, holding a 4.94 ERA over 71.0 innings with 67 strike outs and a 1.37 WHIP. There was some talk of stretching Duffey back out into a starter, but according to Mike Berardino, that plan has been nixed in favor of keeping him in a long relief role.
Busenitz made his major league debut in 2017, but spent most of the season shuttling between Triple-A and the show. Over 31.2 innings for the Twins last year, Busenitz held an impressive 1.99 ERA and 0.98 WHIP. His numbers at Triple-A were similar — a 1.78 ERA with a 0.82 WHIP over 35.1 innings.
Don’t feel too bad for either of these guys — they’ll be back with the big league club at some point this season. As mentioned, them being sent down had more to do with the fact the Twins have more major league pitching depth after a fantastic offseason, meaning less room for the Duffeys and Busenitzs of the world.
The Twins now have 38 active players in big league camp, including 13 pitchers. The team is expected to break camp with twelve pitchers.
Man, having some pitching depth is kind of fun. Why didn’t we think of this sooner?