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Grading the 2020 Twins: Caleb Thielbar

Meat Raffle!

Minnesota Twins v Chicago Cubs Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

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.

Sometimes writing these is more fun for a bit-player than it is for the stars. This is one of those cases. Caleb Thielbar, aka Meat Raffle, is one heck of a story. Five years ago, he was a Twin, and had a decent rookie campaign before being DFA’d shortly into his third MLB season. He’s bounced around, in-and-out of affiliated baseball since, but hasn’t made it back the the Show. This season, the Twins signed the left-handed reliever to a minor league contract to serve as depth. Simply appearing on the Twins would have brought the story full-circle, and been enough for me to give him a good grade. Afterall, I’m a sucker for a good story.

Thielbar, however, went ahead and earned that good grade. After his first appearance on August 4th, he went on to throw 20 innings in 17 games. He showcased a new approach to pitching, including a wicked curve, that resulted in a 2.25 ERA. His 1.150 WHIP, 6.3 hits/9, and most importantly 9.9K/9 are all the numbers of a modern reliever, and all a drastic departure from the pitcher the Twins cut loose in 2015. Unlike other relievers, he pitched a scoreless inning in the playoffs as well.

If it matters, which it doesn’t, he proved to be “the best athlete on the field” and cleanly handled all three attempts at fielding the ball.

Overall, when given an opportunity, Thielbar showed that he is an effective MLB pitcher, and should get another chance in 2021.

Grade: A


How would you grade Caleb Thielbar’s 2020 season?

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  • 71%
    (169 votes)
  • 23%
    (56 votes)
  • 5%
    (12 votes)
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    (0 votes)
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237 votes total Vote Now