Transaction Analysis: Brian Duensing

This piece, previewed here, is part of Baseball Prospectus’ “Transaction Analysis” series, which covers all trades and signings around the league. It originally ran on December 5.

The Cubs reached into the archives and grabbed a left-handed reliever in Duensing. He gave fans in Minnesota plenty to be happy about earlier in his career, and though that has tapered off some, this is a high-upside move for Chicago. More recently, he’s been a sparsely used bullpen arm for the Orioles, who have inadvertently become something of a pipeline to the Cubs. Last season, he spent the bulk of his time pitching in the minors and threw a grand total of 13.1 innings for the Orioles.

The sample size being what it is, his K/9 rate was up from the previous season and his BB/9 was down. This held true in his stint on the farm as well, so there’s some promise that he could wind up a serviceable left-hander in a bullpen that’s probably losing Mike Montgomery to the rotation, Aroldis Chapman to free agency, and possibly even Travis Wood via free agency as well. That’s probably Duensing’s greatest value to the Cubs, if he works out. He probably can’t play left field or hit playoff home runs like Wood, but if he can induce ground balls at or near his 48 percent career rate, he can handle bullpen duties like Wood has of late.

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