Friday, March 7, 2014

25-Man Roster Dissection: Jared Burton

When it comes to roster decisions at spring training, some are tough and other's are a little easier. Minnesota's bullpen is one of it's strengths and the team will likely keep most of the core members together for the 2014 campaign. Glen Perkins is locked in as the closer with Jared Burton and Casey Fien forming the bridge from the starters to Perkins in the ninth inning. This formula worked last season and the team will hope the same equation is successful in 2014.

It has been quite the career journey for Jared Burton up until this point. His career began with Oakland's organization as a starter before being moved to a full-time bullpen job. He broke into the big leagues with Cincinnati and he had some up and down seasons in a Reds uniform. In the season before he signed with the Twins, injuries cost him most of 2011. This would lead to a resurgence in Minnesota and his best season so far.

2013 Recap: 3.82 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 61 SO, 22 BB (66.0 IP)
After a tremendous first season in a Twins jersey, Burton's numbers came back down to earth in his second trip through the AL. His ERA rose over 1.50 runs and his WHIP went from 0.92 to 1.26. There was no doubt that his numbers would creep up a bit after he was one of the best relief pitchers during the 2012 campaign. Burton pitched in 71 games last year and the team needed every inning they could get from him. The starting staff didn't last long into games and this forced the bullpen to be more highly used. The 66 innings thrown by Burton were a career high. With a extra chunk of innings under his belt, he also struck out over 60 batters for the first time in his career. His 27 holds were tied for third most in the American League as he continues to settle in nicely to his role as Minnesota's set-up man.

Forecasting 2014: 3.60 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 51 SO, 20 BB (59.0 IP)
The hope for Minnesota this season is that the club's starters will be able to pitcher later into games and the bullpen won't be needed as much. With that as a consideration, Burton's numbers will improve slightly over 2013 but it would be tough to replicate his amazing 2012. Since Glen Perkins doesn't make his way out to the bullpen until the seventh inning, Burton is the veteran man who most players rely on for baseball advice. He will turn 33-years old during the coming season so his baseball career isn't exactly in the toilet. His veteran presence will continue to be helpful and he is in the last year of his contract. This could mean he has a little something to pitch for this season and he could work to get his numbers back down to his career marks.

25-Man Roster Safety: Locked-In

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