As we did last offseason, Twinkie Town writers are grading player who appeared in a game for the 2020 Minnesota Twins. (Last year’s grades can be found here, this year’s here.) Players will be graded individually on an A-F scale based on their hitting, fielding, and whatever else the author wants to consider. I’ll continue the series today with a key 2019 contributor whose 2020 was... well, let’s carry on.
After a rock-solid 2019 clamping down the ninth inning, Taylor Rogers went into 2020 with high expectations. But when COVID-19 caused a multi-month delay to the season, fans filled their void with season simulations.
I followed one, Austin Thune’s MLB: The Show simulation. During Austin’s season, the video game version of Rogers struggled as closer, blowing seven saves before being replaced by the pixels and programming representing Trevor May. Most of us in the chat thought this unlikely, with some saying that Rogers always tends to struggle within video games.
Well, life has a tendency to imitate art.
After early-season struggles, Rogers lost his grip on the closing job, the Twins rotating through several relievers in the ninth inning. While Rogers still led the team with nine saves, he blew two, as many of his pitching statistics plummeted in the season after his breakout.
- ERA: 2.61 -> 4.05 (career-worst)
- ERA+: 174 -> 109
- WHIP: 1.00 -> 1.50 (career-worst)
- H/9: 7.6 -> 11.7 (career-worst)
- line-drive percentage: 18.1% -> 29.0% (career-worst)
- fWAR: 2.1 -> 0.5
- bWAR: 2.5 -> minus-0.7 (career-worst)
- WPA: 3.51 -> minus-1.33 (career- and team-worst)
Unfortunately, Rogers’ most prominent 2020 appearance is likely his August 18 appearance against Milwaukee. Staked to a 3-0 lead after eight no-hit innings from Kenta Maeda, Rogers took the mound after a bloop single broke up Maeda’s bid in the ninth. He promptly loaded the bases on a double and walk, gave up an RBI single to end the shutout, and surrendered the tying runs (unearned) on a throwing error on a double play attempt. Although the Twins won in extras, the lost attempt at history and the lost decision for Maeda left a negative impression on Rogers’ 2020 that he never shook.
Rogers’ season concluded with appearances in both of Minnesota’s two postseason losses, After a clean eighth inning in Game 1, Rogers took the mound in the ninth in Game 2 and faced three batters. One walk and two singles later, Rogers had given up the final run allowed by the Twins in 2020, and he left the mound without getting an out.
The drop in Rogers’ play this past season has increased the questions surrounding Minnesota’s bullpen. With Rogers’ high expectations entering the year, his inconsistency in 2020 was a severe disappointment. For hopes to rise again for a return to his 2019 form in 2021, the book must be closed on this past season.
How would you grade Taylor Rogers’ 2020 season?
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