Monday, February 10, 2014

25-Man Roster Dissection: Anthony Swarzak

Minnesota's bullpen could be one place full of turmoil while the team is in Florida. Plenty of pitchers like Vance Worley and Scott Diamond are out of minor league options but the team might not want them in the rotation on a regular basis. This could mean someone else will be left on the chopping block for a spot in the bullpen.

Twins relievers lead all of baseball in innings pitched last year because of the troubles with the starting rotation. With the addition of some key offseason free agents, hopefully there will be less reliance on some of those bullpen arms. Anthony Swarzak pitched more relief innings than any other pitcher in 2013 and he was very successful along the way. Will he be able to continue that success?

2013 Recap: 2.91 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 69 SO, 22 BB (96.0 IP)
For the first time in his professional career, Swarzak did not start a game. He settled nicely into his long relief role and he was the sixth most valuable pitcher according to fWAR. This put him ahead of many other pitchers who were given the opportunity to start. His lowest ERA before last season was 4.32 back in 2011 and he also set career best marks in walks, strikeouts, and WHIP. It was a tremendous season and it became clear that this could be the role that was destined for Swarzak. As a starter, he struggled but being a long relief options seemed to bring out his best.

Forecasting 2014: 3.68 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 65 SO,  21 BB (85.0 IP)
It seems likely that there will be some kind of regression with Swarzak this season. The results were so far off from his career numbers that he should look a little bit more human in 2014. If the Twins have to use Diamond or Worley in the bullpen, they will need to be used in long relief roles as well. This could leave Swarzak's position a little up in the air. His innings could get cut back and he could find himself not asked to get as many outs in each outing. The Twins will stretch him out a little this spring to see if he could fit into a starting role again but his likely landing spot is back in the bullpen as he looks to repeat his successes from a year ago.

25-Man Roster Safety: Locked-In

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