In the age of analytics, the Twins knocked it out of the park before the trade deadline by acquiring two of the better late-game relievers in the MLB.
Sergio Romo and Sam Dyson, acquired from the Marlins and Giants, respectively, coupled with left-hander Taylor Rogers, gives Minnesota three of the top-15 relievers in terms of Win Probability Added, according to Aaron Gleeman of Baseball Prospectus.
Win Probability Added can be explained simply by saying a team's chances of winning increase when a good pitcher enters the game. Rocket science, right?
In the case of Dyson, Romo and Rogers, they increase the Twins' chances of winning games they pitch in at a higher rate than most relievers in the big leagues.
As a team, the Twins bullpen WPA ranks sixth in the MLB, with Dyson coming from a Giants team that far-and-away ranks No. 1, according to FanGraphs.
The top 15 relievers in WPA:
- Will Smith, Giants - 3.73
- Kirby Yates, Padres - 3.53
- Josh Hader, Brewers - 2.95
- Felipe Vazquez, Pirates -. 2.82
- Scott Oberg, Rockies - 2.72
- Sergio Romo, Twins - 2.07
- Tony Watson, Giants - 2.02
- Taylor Rogers, Twins - 1.98
- Nick Wittgren, Indians - 1.93
- Seth Lugo, Mets - 1.91
- John Gant, Cardinals - 1.91
- Aaron Bummer White Sox - 1.89
- Sam Dyson, Twins - 1.83
- Alex Colome, White Sox - 1.82
- Brad Hand, Indians - 1.69
You might notice that most of the top closers and late-inning arms in the game are in the top 15, with the top four especially nasty in Smith, Yates, Hader and Vazquez, three of whom being widely talked about as on-the-market relievers drawing interest from the Twins and other contenders.
Smith, Yates and Vazquez were not traded, meaning the Twins wound up landing the top reliever to be dealt Wednesday, according to FanGraphs.
"For the Twins, Sam Dyson presents an immediate upgrade and appealing option in high-leverage situations. The right-hander, who is still arbitration eligible next season, is a groundball specialist with just seven walks on the year. His 2.74 FIP and 2.47 ERA speak to how well he’s performed this season, and his 1.1 WAR ranks 19th among 165 qualified relievers. Dyson relies on a low-to-mid-90s sinker and a low-90s cutter that runs in on lefties and away on righties. Those two represent around 70% of Dyson’s pitches, with a four-seamer, change, and slider mixed in the rest of the time."
So long as Minnesota's lineup keeps hitting and the starting pitching can keep avoid giving up a ton of runs, the back end of the Twins' bullpen, based on the numbers, is now good enough to close down most games without massive failures.