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If you jump back a week, Emilio Pagan had tidy numbers. He was sitting on a 2.45 ERA and just finished his ninth save. He seemed like a reliever we could trust.
Now back to the present, where Pagan is getting hit hard and we have to wonder if Minnesota makes a change.
The Twins have a closer conundrum on their hands
The past two outings have been a mess for Pagan: Two innings, five runs, a homer allowed. His ERA is now over 4, and his FIP — which has never bought into Pagan this year — is over 5. This has the looks of a smoke-and-mirrors show. If you prefer Statcast for your expected ERA, that data spits out a 4.59 number.
The graphs on Baseball Savant paint a bleaker picture. Pagan is allowing all sorts of hard contact and struggling to get chases out of the strike zone. A strong strikeout rate helps, though he’s also dealing with a nasty walk problem. When he comes into a game, I don’t have the nerve to watch.
Pagan was tasked for a two-inning save Wednesday, but couldn’t finish the second inning. He still gets a hold for his one-inning, three-run stint, which tells you how silly the hold stat is. Even if your league is sick of the save chase, holds do not present a satisfying alternative.
The Twins are battling for the AL Central title, so they could look at other options in the ninth inning. What’s not to like about Jhoan Duran? He’s posted a 2.35 ERA over 30.2 innings, with 41 strikeouts against just six walks. An occasional issue with homers — he’s allowed four — is the only blip on his radar. And that 100 mph fastball is forever a selling point.
(It’s a golden age for Durans, isn’t it? Jarren Duran is having fun as the Boston leadoff man, though he can’t play in the Toronto series because he’s unvaccinated. Ezequiel Duran is an interesting player in Texas. Maybe it's just a reflex, but I want some of these guys. Okay, okay, no más.)
Minnesota’s Duran is long gone in the deeper leagues, but you can still pick him up in some medium and shallow pools. His current Yahoo roster tag is 41 percent.