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What have you done for me lately? - Twins Relief Targets Edition

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Who’s hot, and who’s not among potential future Twins

Atlanta Braves v San Diego Padres
Kirby Yates is yelling because he’s been really good all season, but especially lately
Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

It’s not a news flash that the Twins need relief help. You’ve probably seen a variety of names bandied about throughout the summer by a myriad of sources as to whom the Twins might acquire to put out pitching fires. You might have even seen some season stats for these players to attempt to exhibit which bullpen arms the Twins should go after. But how are these relief targets doing lately?

Relief pitching is quite a volatile art, and season numbers can change quickly with a bad outing or two. It is also a streaky business, and it may be in the Twins’ best interest to look at the recent performances of relief options as well to evaluate how they would affect the squad if acquired for some pivotal moments down the stretch. Even if the Twins don’t consider this when acquiring pitchers, these numbers are interesting for us to look at as fans when considering potential future Twins.

To observe the recent pitching exploits of some of the top relievers on the trade market, I looked at the their stats since June 1st. This table is sorted by earned run average in that time, but I also included strikeouts per walk, K/9, WHIP, and opponent OPS in that span.

Relief Pitcher Targets Since June 1st

Pitcher Games ERA SO/W K/9 WHIP Opp OPS
Pitcher Games ERA SO/W K/9 WHIP Opp OPS
Shane Greene 10 0.90 2.7 7.2 0.90 0.481
Kirby Yates 14 1.13 22.0 12.4 0.63 0.404
Ian Kennedy 17 2.30 3.2 10.9 1.09 0.554
Sam Dyson 18 2.50 8.5 8.5 0.83 0.560
Ken Giles 10 2.61 4.0 17.4 1.26 0.654
Will Smith 18 3.06 5.2 13.3 1.08 0.671
Seth Lugo 16 3.38 4.5 13.0 1.29 0.712
Tony Watson 19 3.38 6.5 6.3 1.02 0.743
Alex Colome 15 3.60 1.3 4.8 1.13 0.680
Raisel Iglesias 15 5.40 1.8 9.6 1.47 0.747
Greg Holland 14 5.84 1.4 8.0 1.38 0.827
Jake Diekman 18 7.98 1.8 13.5 2.11 0.924

Note: The league averages in this span of time: ERA = 4.65, SO/W = 2.8, K/9 = 8.75, WHIP = 1.346, Opp OPS = .770.

Conclusions

  • Kirby Yates is has been quite good this season, and he’s not slowing down. If you didn’t catch Yates’ strikeout-to-walk ratio for the last month and a half, it’s not too shabby. The Padres closer has struck out 22 batters and walked just one. While San Diego isn’t out of the race, a quick backslide could leave them behind a bevy of teams in a crowded NL Wild Card picture, and they’re not catching the Dodgers. Yates would be one of the most expensive on this list, but with the roll he’s been on lately and he might be worth any Twins’ prospect outside of their top three minor league studs. Yates has one more year left of team control after this season as well.
  • Ian Kennedy could be presenting himself as a sneaky pickup that wouldn’t be too costly and could be a decent 7th inning righty for the Twins. The former starter has been pretty solid out of the bullpen, and really seems to be coming into his own over the past six weeks or so.
  • Ken Giles has had a recent injury concern with his elbow, making him a big trade risk. However, there’s probably not a reliever with more overpowering stuff on the market, as evidenced by his 17.4 K/9. His trade value may have decreased with the injury risk, and I think a high-velocity right-hander to match up with the righty-heavy lineups of the Yankees and the Astros in the playoffs is worth the risk. He also has another year of team control left.
  • The Giants sport three relievers on this list, and all would be quality additions. Lefty Will Smith is the popular name among the bunch, but Tony Watson and Sam Dyson could also be solid second-tier adds. Watson could be a quality secondary lefty while Dyson could be a solid set-up righty. The Twins and Giants could strike a similar deal to the one the Indians and Padres agreed to last year, as Cleveland sent top catching prospect Francisco Meija to San Diego for relievers Brand Hand and Adam Cimber. I can’t see the Twins giving up a similar level of prospect, but the Giants’ relievers don’t have as much team control either (or the value of Hand).
  • Alex Colome has pretty good season stats, but I believe he is already starting to regress. His ERA of 3.60 since June 1st is serviceable, but his K/9 of 4.8 and his SO/W of 1.3 are pretty concerning. He’s not missing bats and he’s not a guy I’d like for the Twins to target at the deadline.
  • It may be time to buy low on Raisel Iglesias. The Reds closer has two years left of team control after 2019 and a solid reputation, so he might be somewhat costly. However, he hasn’t been great this season, and his recent numbers have been pretty ugly, possibly making a trade package for the righty more palatable for the Twins. Iglesias has the potential to become a lockdown late-inning option if he is able to find his previous magic on the mound, and would definitely be an asset for the next two years as well.

What do you think of the recent results for these potential Twins relief trade targets, and who do you want the hometown nine to acquire? Let me know if you’d like to see these stats for another potential bullpen trade target in comments section, and I will do best to reply with those numbers!