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Draft Guide Preview

Draft Guide Preview: AL Central Saves & Steals

by NBC Sports EDGE Staff
Updated On: February 29, 2020, 9:07 pm ET

Opening Day is earlier than ever and just around the corner! 

All 30 teams will be playing on March 26th, so yes, fantasy baseball draft season is here. Whether you've already been prepping for weeks or just starting out, our all-new 2020 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide will give you that extra edge to ensure draft day domination.

The guide features a plethora of content no matter your league's format. From projections and rankings to tiers, mock drafts and exclusive expert columns, this year's guide has it all.

But in case you’re still on the fence, we're giving you another look at one of our Saves & Steals feature columns. This time, it's a peek at the AL Central bullpen scenarios, specifically the Minnesota Twins

Take a look:

 

Minnesota Twins

Taylor Rogers
Sergio Romo
Trevor May
Tyler Duffey
Tyler Clippard

Rogers broke out in a big way last year by shifting his breaking ball usage from curve balls to sliders. He rode the new weapon – which he first introduced in 2018 – to 11.74 K/9 and 1.43 BB/9. Combined with his 50 percent ground ball rate, 2.61 ERA, and 1.00 WHIP, Rogers projects as one of the top closers in 2020. His 115 ADP is a modest bargain.

A quartet of able stoppers will bridge the starters to Rogers. Romo and Clippard have worked late-innings since the aughts. Romo has used his slider as a primary pitch since before it was trendy (2011 to be specific). Aside from some minor health issues, he’s shown few signs of slowing and even has 45 saves over the last two seasons.

Clippard is a fly ball pitcher with an unusual six-pitch repertoire. His best offerings are a frequently used changeup and split-finger. Clippard can turn sour on his fantasy managers via home runs. From 2016 through 2018, he averaged over 1.50 HR/9. Surprisingly, he bucked trends last year with 1.16 HR/9. His job is least assured of these four setup men.

At this time last year, May was my pick as the Twins closer. He still displays closer-like traits including 11.05 K/9 backed by a career-best 95.6 mph fastball. A former starter, May still hasn’t adapted his repertoire to relief. He still throws all four of his pitches led by a plus fastball. His curve was especially brutal last season (.323 AVG, .710 SLG). It was his best pitch in 2018 and 2016 so we’re probably looking at a small sample artifact.

Specialization sure helped Duffey last season. His curve ball usage surged to 45 percent. With it, he fanned 12.80 K/9 (6.84 K/9 in 2018). He performed well in virtually every category except for a merely tolerable 1.25 HR/9. That small red flag along with a very short track record of relief success are reasons to be wary. In general, holds are likely to be widely distributed in this bullpen – especially early.

The soft-end of the bullpen battle includes Zack Littell and Cody Stashak, both of whom pitched ably in middle relief roles last season. Stashak in particular offers a funky fastball-slider combo. He’s a fly ball pitcher who avoids walks. As long as he also avoids home runs, he could turn out to be a useful reliever. Matt WislerDevin Smeltzer, and Randy Dobnak are candidates for a long relief role. Dobnak currently projects as the fifth starter.

 

For the bullpen reports on every division and more from the MLB Draft Guide, you can purchase here! Take advantage of our package deals and gain access to our MLB Season Pass product, and be sure to grab our MLB DFS Toolkit as well!