It hasn't been that long since a lot of Twins fans had written Glen Perkins off as a nice story that just wasn't going to work out. Hometown kid goes to the hometown university and gets drafted by the hometown team in the first round. Goes onto fame and fortune. Everyone wins. Fuzzy feelings and butterflies abound. Get Hollywood on the phone.

Except that in Perkins' case, he had a 4.81 ERA through his first 303 Major League innings and was coming off of a pair of 5.00+ ERA seasons. He lost a lot of zip on his fastball, wasn't missing bats and was giving up hard contact when he was healthy enough to stay on the field, which was a rarity in its own right.

Given that he was 27 by the time all of this history was already in the books, it didn't seem likely that just two years later we'd all be thrilled to have Perkins locked into a three-year extension with an option for a fourth year. It didn't seem plausible for Perkins to morph into one of the best pitchers in recent Twins history, but that's just what's happened. And it's not only that. Over the past two seasons, Perkins has morphed into one of the best relievers in all of baseball. Period.

As fans, we're down about the Twins as a collective unit right now, and with good reason. The past two seasons have been hard to watch, and while there's hope now in the form of an enviable farm system, 2013's forecast is pretty bleak as well. I think it's important not to let that negativity completely overshadow the positive elements of this team, though. I'll be the first to admit that I'm guilty of excessive negativity, but I couldn't help marveling last night as I sought out something positive to focus on for today's post.

Over at FanGraphs, I was looking through stats and thought to myself exactly what benchmarks we like to see in terms of relief pitching. The stereotypical dominant arms whiffs a batter per inning or more, walks fewer than one-third of that amount, and keeps an ERA under 3.00.