What could the Minnesota Twins bullpen look like in 2018?

CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 22: Matt Belisle
CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 22: Matt Belisle /
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Middle Relievers

RHP Alan Busenitz, RHP Ryan Pressly, LHP Taylor Rogers, RHP Trevor May

In looking at the middle relief options, there’s lots of intrigue here. Particularly, Minnesota would like to see the 27-year-old Alan Busenitz build on an excellent first season with the Twins. In 2017, he went 1-1 with a 1.99 ERA in 28 games as he gained the trust of Paul Molitor late in games. Along with Trevor Hildenberger and Taylor Rogers, Busenitz helped setup games for Matt Belisle down the stretch and was arguably the most reliable arm doing so.

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Speaking of Rogers, he was arguably the most consistent Twins reliever for the entirety of the 2017 season. Starting the season as a middle reliever, he worked his way up to a setup role and finished with a 7-3 record and 3.07 ERA. If it weren’t for a difficult stretch in July, he may have been considered the top setup man in the league.

Although he’s a middle reliever here, that’s mostly due to additions the Twins make in the offseason. Assuredly, there’ll still be opportunities for the Twins’ 2017 holds leader (30) to pave the way for the closer.

Finally, Ryan Pressly and Trevor May round out the middle relievers. The Twins just recently tendered Pressly a contract, so the odds are good that the power arm starts the year in the bullpen once again. After a rough start to 2017, he finished the year going 1-1 with a 2.62 ERA after the All-Star break and has proven to be a reliable pitcher in the pen over his five-year career in Minnesota. The only frustrating part with the reliever is the fact his high 90s fastball stays fairly straight, making it easier to hit than other power arms. Even so, he looked like he figured something out at the end of last season, so hopefully, he builds upon that in 2018.

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As for May, he’s coming off Tommy John surgery, which took him out for the entire 2017 season. That being said, he was a legitimate starting candidate prior to getting injured last season and has had success out of the bullpen for the Twins. While it’s tough to say what Minnesota views him as heading into 2018, the bullpen seems like the more plausible route given it’d limit his innings following a season-ending injury. Additionally, the bullpen could use a pitcher with his ability to strike batters out. As matter of fact, he has 214 career strikeouts in 203 innings for the Twins.