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Grading the 2020 Twins: The best (and worst) of the rest

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“Don’t you forget about me, no no no no...”

Chicago White Sox v Minnesota Twins
Starting off 2021 by putting 2020 behind us.
Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images

Happy 2021, Twins fans.

Let’s close the book on 2020 by closing out this series (which took a holiday hiatus), grading all the Twins who have not yet received marks.

F Tier

  • Zack Littell, RP, 6 games: After an excellent 2019, Littell surprisingly collapsed in 2020, allowing five homers in six appearances with a 9.95 ERA (14.40 FIP) and 2.368 ERA. Grade: F
  • Edwar Colina, RP, 1 game: Seven batters faced, one out. Grade: F
  • Lewis Thorpe, RP, 7 games: Seven appearances, 6.06 ERA, 6.99 FIP, 2.082 WHIP. four homers allowed in 16.1 innings. Grade: F
  • Jake Odorizzi, SP, 4 games: Clearly affected by injury, Odorizzi posted a 6.59 ERA over his four starts, allowing four home runs and only striking out 12 over 13.2 innings. Grade: F

D Tier

  • Ildemaro Vargas, 2B, 10 games: Hit the Twins’ first triple of the season, committed an error that contributed to Kenta Maeda’s no-decision in his near-no-hitter, and didn’t do much at the plate (.227/.250/.364) before being waived and winding up in Arizona. Grade: D
  • Danny Coulombe, RP, 2 games: Walked as many as he struck out (three), faced 13 batters over 2.2 innings, 1.875 WHIP. Grade: D
  • Cory Gearrin, RP, 1 game: One inning, two walks, seven batters faced. Grade: D
  • LaMonte Wade Jr., OF/1B, 16 games: 44 plate appearances, nine hits, three doubles, no homers, slashed .231/.318/.308. Grade: D+

C Tier

  • Alex Avila, C, 23 games: .184/.355/.286 slash line, one homer, fine on defense. About what was expected from the veteran backup, but that slash line still looks bad. Grade: C-
  • Aaron Whitefield, OF, 3 games: Appeared almost exclusively as a baserunning and defensive replacement. Had one plate appearance and grounded out. Grade: C
  • Willians Astudillo, C/UT, 8 games: In a small sample size of 16 PAs, was about average at the plate (.250/.250/.500) with a homer. Unfortunately, the final image of his season was a pinch-hit game-ending double-play grounder in the playoffs. Grade: C
  • Devin Smeltzer, RP, 7 games: His FIP went down (4.58 -> 4.07), but his ERA (3.86 -> 6.75) and WHIP (1.265 -> 1.500) went up. Grade: C
  • Sean Poppen, RP, 6 games: On the higher range in ERA (4.70) and WHIP (1.696), but struck out 10 in 7.2 innings without allowing a homer and posted a 2.15 FIP. Grade: C+

B Tier

  • Sergio Romo, RP, 24 games: Although it felt like fans were lower on Romo than May, their stats were comparable, Romo ending the year with a 4.05 ERA and a 1.150 WHIP. His 10.4 K/9 ratio was significantly lower, though, and his 4.34 FIP was highest among Twins who pitched in at least 10 games. Grade: B-
  • Homer Bailey, SP, 2 games: Not all that bad in his two starts — 3.38 ERA, 4.57 FIP, 1.125 WHIP — before his departure. Grade: B-
  • Max Kepler, RF, 48 games: After an All Star-caliber (but not All-Star recipient) 2019, Kepler’s production dipped in 2020, his slash line dropping to .228/.321/.439; extrapolated to a full season, Kepler was on pace for 30 homers, 78 RBIs, and 122 strikeouts. Nothing terrible, but nothing like his 2019. Grade: B-
  • Michael Pineda, SP, 5 games: Put up a 3.38 ERA in five starts (26.2 innings), over which he allowed 25 hits, walked seven, and struck out 25. Grade: B
  • Alex Kirilloff, OF, 1 postseason game: Hit a single. Grade: B
  • Travis Blankenhorn, 2B, 1 game: Hit a double. Grade: B
  • Trevor May, RP, 24 games: May might be a Met now, but he left a solid final impression in Minnesota, finishing 2020 with a 3.86 ERA, a 1.157 WHIP, and a team-leading 14.7 K/9 ratio. Grade: B+
  • Ryan Jeffers, C, 26 games: As a pure rookie, Jeffers led Twins catchers in games played, slashing .273/.355/.436 in 62 plate appearances with three homers. With Mitch Garver’s injuries and regression, Jeffers provided a steady if unspectacular bat behind the plate. Grade: B+

A Tier

  • Cody Stashak, RP, 11 games: One of three Twins relievers with at least 10 appearances to post a sub-1.000 WHIP, Stashak struck out 17 batters in 15 innings while posting an even 3.00 ERA and a 3.26 FIP. Grade: A
  • Matt Wisler, RP, 18 games: Among the top of Minnesota’s bullpen and a surprising non-tender, Wisler relied on his slider to the tune of a 1.08 ERA, 3.35 FIP, 1.145 WHIP, 12.4 K/9 ratio, and 413 ERA+. Grade: A+
  • Tyler Duffey, RP, 22 games: Easily Minnesota’s best reliever in 2020: 1.88 ERA, 2.57 FIP, 0.792 WHIP, 11.6 K/9 ratio, and a 235 ERA+. Grade: A+

Last year can be put behind us now.

We are on to 2021.

Poll

How would you grade the grades in this article?

This poll is closed

  • 10%
    Too high
    (10 votes)
  • 6%
    Too low
    (6 votes)
  • 59%
    About right
    (56 votes)
  • 5%
    Incomprehensible
    (5 votes)
  • 18%
    Pitchers and catchers, report already
    (17 votes)
94 votes total Vote Now