Tuesday, April 22, 2014

25-Man Roster Dissection: Caleb Thielbar

Glen Perkins, Anthony Swarzak, and some of the other names out in the bullpen get a little more press than other younger arms. This comes with the territory and their important role for the team. The younger arms in the Twins bullpen are just as important as they could be part of the next winning club in Minnesota.

Experience is always key to the growth of a team and some of these players have gained value able service time over the last couple of seasons. Because of poor starting pitching, the Twins relied a lot on their bullpen last season. There are positives and negatives that come out of this reliance. Hopefully, these pitchers didn't get wore down last year and they can continue to find success in 2014.

2013 Recap: 1.76 ERA, 0.82 WHIP, 39 SO, 14 BB (46.0 IP)
Thielbar didn't join the Twins organization until the 2011 season after being let go by the Brewers and taking a brief stop with the St. Paul Saints. After pitching for the three highest levels in the minors during 2012, he made his debut with the Twins last season and it doesn't seem like he will be looking back.Thielbar put together a very impressive rookie campaign as he was named the Twins Most Outstanding Rookie. The Minnesota native held opponents to a .149 batting average over 49 appearances. He set the club record by starting his career with a 17.1 inning scoreless streak. Thielbar also tied for fifth most appearances by an American League rookie.

Forecasting 2014: 3.55 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 48 SO, 24 BB (55.0 IP)
It's tough to imagine things going as well for Thielbar as they did in his first season. He's already given up two earned runs over six innings pitched which has him sitting at a 3.00 ERA. There is always the stipulation that it has been a small sample size but he hasn't allowed a run in his last four appearances. Some members of the bullpen have struggled at this early juncture of the season and it could mean more high leverage situations for other younger pitchers. Jared Burton has looked horrible and someone like Thielbar could be eased into a late inning role over the course of the current campaign. It helps that Thielbar is a left-handed pitcher so the Twins can rely on him to come in against some tough lefties and get some big outs at the end of games. He might not be on pace for the same kind of year but he could be an important piece of the next winning team in Minnesota.

25-Man Roster Safety: On the Bubble (Only because he has options left)

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