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  • Roster Projections Part 1b: Infielders and Outfielders

    On Tuesday, Minnesota Twins pitchers and catchers had to report to Ft. Myers for spring training. Although many infielders and outfielders have already been working out at the Lee County Complex, they officially have to report on Friday and the team will have the first official full squad workout on Saturday. On Tuesday, I posted my first roster projections for the pitchers and catchers, and today, Ill post my roster projections for the infielders and outfielders

    Each Friday through spring training, Ill be taking a weekly look at the Twins roster and project who will make the Opening Day roster. After looking at 43 pitchers and catchers who reported Tuesday, today Ill post a percent likelihood that each infielder and outfielder will be on the Twins Opening Day roster. As we learned on Thursday when the Twins signed Rafael Perez to a minor league contract with a spring training invite, the roster is still subject to change, and I will account for those each week.
    INFIELDERS


    40 MAN ROSTER


    Jamey Carroll (100%), Justin Morneau (100%), Trevor Plouffe (100%), Pedro Florimon (66%), Brian Dozier (62%), Eduardo Escobar (51%), Danny Santana (0.6%)


    Justin Morneau will be at first base, and Trevor Plouffe will be at third base. After that, there are still plenty of question marks remaining. Question marks that may not be answered until the final week of the spring. Jamey Carroll will be on the roster. He could start at shortstop or second base, and he could be a three-position utility player. Pedro Florimon appears to be the favorite to start the season at shortstop. Brian Dozier could be given a very good opportunity to start at second base and told us not to give up on him as a shortstop. Remember that the Twins traditionally have two utility infielders on the roster. Eduardo Escobar can play all three positions very well, and was a utility infielder for the Chicago White Sox in 2012 until he was traded to the Twins for Francisco Liriano. Danny Santana will likely head to New Britain to start the season.

    NON-ROSTER INVITES


    Ray Olmedo (8.0%), Chris Colabello (1.0%), Jeff Clement (0.9%), Deibinson Romero (0.8%), Mark Sobolewski (0.7%), James Beresford (0.4%)


    In 2003, Ray Olmedo got 250 plate appearances as a 22-year-old for the Cincinnati Reds. Over the next three seasons, he had another 138 total plate appearances. He played in 27 games for the 2007 Toronto Blue Jays. He then was in the minor leagues until the White Sox called him up as a 31-year-old for 20 games in August and September (after Escobar was traded). Colabello was one of the best stories in the Twins farm system in 2012, his first year in affiliated ball. He also crushed the ball in Mexico this winter. He likely will go to Rochester, but with left-handed hitting 1B options (Morneau, Parmelee, Mauer), he could find a role as a right-handed part-time player for the Twins. The Twins drafted Clement out of high school, but he went to college and was the #3 overall pick of the Mariners in 2005. He has played in 152 games in the big leagues, for the Mariners and Pirates), including going 3-22 for the Pirates in 2012. Romero returns to Twins big league camp for the first time since he was a 40-man-roster member in 2009 spring training. A year later, he was off the 40 man roster, but he has remained with the only organization he has played for since signing with the team in 2006. Last year in New Britain, he hit .267/.356/.441 with 23 doubles and 19 home runs. Sobolewski was a minor league Rule 5 selection of the Twins in December. The third baseman was a 4th round pick of the Blue Jays in 2008. He hit 20 home runs in 2012 (18 in AA, 2 in AAA) and is known to be very good defensively at the hot corner. James Beresford became a free agent following the 2012 season, but he decided to remain with the only organization hes known since signing with the Twins from Australia. He will again be on the Australian team in the WBC this spring. The middle infielder is a terrific leader and has a great glove.

    THE OUTFIELDERS


    40 Man Roster


    Josh Willingham (100%), Darin Mastroianni (100%), Chris Parmelee (99%) Aaron Hicks (48%), Joe Benson (42%), Oswaldo Arcia (1.2%)


    Josh Willingham had the best season of his career and earned his Silver Slugger Award with career-high 35 home runs and 110 RBI. Right Field has been opened up for Chris Parmelee to take after he dominated AAA and has earned the opportunity. He will have to take the job and make it his as Twins minor league hitter of the year, Oswaldo Arcia, is quickly moving up the system behind him and should make his major league debut sometime in 2013. The biggest question mark of spring training is who will take the centerfield position. Darin Mastroianni will make the team. He will be given a shot to win the starting job after doing a nice job in the 4th outfielder role. Aaron Hicks is the name that most people are talking about. The 23-year-old had a breakout season in 2012 in AA New Britain, showing the immense talent that made him the 14th overall pick in 2008. He will have to take the job in spring, but there is little doubt that he will debut in 2013 with the Twins. The name that is too often forgotten is Joe Benson. One year ago at this time, he came to spring training after making his major league debut the September before. He was as highly-regarded last year as Hicks is this year. He was hurt the entire 2012 season and tried to play through the pain as long as he could. He is blessed with amazing athleticism and talent, and if healthy, he can still be an impact player. One important question is whether Benson would be considered an option as the 4th outfielder, or would they still want the ultra-competitive 25-year-old to continue to play every day.

    Non-Roster Invites


    Brandon Boggs (17%), Clete Thomas (14%), Wilkin Ramirez (7.0%), Brian Dinkelman (1.9%)


    If Mastroianni starts the season as a starter, and the Twins decide that they want Hicks and Benson to play every day in Rochester, Brandon Boggs and Clete Thomas will compete for the 4th outfield spot on the roster. We saw Thomas last year when he had one impressive game before becoming unable to make contact. Once he went down to Rochester, he was OK, and he certainly could be a 4th outfielder because hes good defensively and we know hes better than he showed with the Twins in 2012. Boggs was the 4th round pick of the Rangers in 2004 out of Georgia Tech. As a 25-year-old in 2008, he played in 101 games for the Rangers. He played in just 13 games for the Rangers over the next two seasons and 16 games for the Brewers in 2011. Last year in AAA Indianapolis, he hit .259/.359/.408 with 24 doubles, five triples and nine home runs. In 481 plate appearances, he walked 62 times, but he also struckout 120 times. But again, were just talking about a 4th outfield spot for a month or two. Ramirez came to Twins camp a year ago, but unfortunately, he was hurt in camp. After rehabbing, he hit .276/.316/.451 with 18 doubles and 15 home runs in 98 games in Rochester. He played 15 games (13 PAs) for Detroit as a 23-year-old in 2009 and 20 games (30 PAs) for the Atlanta Braves in 2011. What hurts his chances of making the Twins roster as a fourth outfielder is that he is really a corner outfielder with limited centerfield time in his career. Brian Dinkelman was the Twins 8th round pick in 2006 out of NAIA McKendree University. He debuted and played in 23 games as a 27-year-old in 2011. He hit .301 in his 73 big league at bats. In 2012, he missed a lot of time with injury.

    ROSTER PROJECTION #1 (2/15/13):


    Infielders (6): Justin Morneau, Trevor Plouffe, Jamey Carroll, Pedro Florimon, Brian Dozier, Eduardo Escobar


    Outfielders (4): Josh Willingham, Chris Parmelee, Darin Mastroianni, Joe Benson


    Catchers (3): Joe Mauer, Ryan Doumit, Drew Butera


    Starting Pitchers (5): Scott Diamond, Kevin Correia, Vance Worley, Mike Pelfrey, Liam Hendriks, Kyle Gibson (Diamond and/or Pelfrey likely starting season on DL)


    Relief Pitchers (7): Glen Perkins, Jared Burton, Brian Duensing, Alex Burnett, Casey Fien, Josh Roenicke, Tim Wood (Anthony Swarzak possibly on the DL?)


    What are your thoughts or projections on the Twins Opening Day roster as Pitchers and Catchers report? Make your 25-man-roster projections and we'll check back on Opening Day to see who got the most right.
    This article was originally published in blog: Roster Projections Part 1b: Infielders and Outfielders started by Seth Stohs
    Comments 46 Comments
    1. johnnydakota's Avatar
      johnnydakota -
      I wonder if the twins will pickup Tony Campana?
    1. tjsyam921's Avatar
      tjsyam921 -
      That's what I figure as well. If Benson has a good spring he'll get the spot over Hicks to start the year because of his september call up in 2011. But will he start in center or as a 4th outfielder?
    1. beckmt's Avatar
      beckmt -
      Benson will have to start or be in Rochester. Think Hicks will be the CF and leadoff hitter. Boggs could be the fourth outfileder for the start. In the end Parmalee is the key as to how this plays out.
    1. MWLFan's Avatar
      MWLFan -
      My first reaction after reading your projection was...thats the best we have. I felt like all the people at the beginning of Major League looking over the roster and saying who are these guys. But it really hits home how many retreads and AAAA players are going to filling out the roster to start the season. I just hope July and August we have really started the youth movement in earnest. I don't want to slam guys because these are players trying their best and working hard to improve everyday out there. But heart and sweat can only take you so far in baseball, sooner or later you need some talent. That talent is coming, but we are still a year or so from it. It is like 1982-83 for me, to quote Yogi it is Deja Vu all over again.
    1. jorgenswest's Avatar
      jorgenswest -
      I wish it was more like 82-83. The current roster has too many decline phase players that will not be part of the solution.

      I think there is a good chance that either the 6th infielder or 4th outfielder will be a player who is not in the organization yet.
    1. fairweather's Avatar
      fairweather -
      Why won't Drew Butera go away? What a waste of a roster spot.
    1. mcrow's Avatar
      mcrow -
      Pretty much seems like most of these spots are penciled in for the most part. I think the one thing to watch is Hicks/Benson. I think they want to take it easy with Hicks and not toss him in there if he's off to a slow start.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by mcrow View Post
      Pretty much seems like most of these spots are penciled in for the most part. I think the one thing to watch is Hicks/Benson. I think they want to take it easy with Hicks and not toss him in there if he's off to a slow start.
      Agreed. They're not going to put him into a situation that they don't think he's ready for or could handle. They certainly believe in him. But the part that we don't see will also factor into that. He may hit .220 in spring training, but may be doing the right things in practice. Since Spring Training results should never be the final determinant (although it often is), other factors have to come in to play.
    1. MWLFan's Avatar
      MWLFan -
      Quote Originally Posted by jorgenswest View Post
      I wish it was more like 82-83. The current roster has too many decline phase players that will not be part of the solution.

      I think there is a good chance that either the 6th infielder or 4th outfielder will be a player who is not in the organization yet.
      1982 Roster that would go on to lose 100 games included such players as Gary Ward, Jesus Vega, Rob Wilfong, Larry Milbourbne, Ray Smith, Fernando Arroyo, Don Cooper, Doug Corbett, Pete "Freeze" Filson. So the quality of the players overall in 1982 was not overwhelming. Now the difference is that 1982 opening day lineup was also a youth movement with Gaetti, Hrbek, Eisenriech in the starting 9 mixed with vets like Smalley, Wyneger, Dave Engle, Mickey "your so fine" Hatcher. Much deeper then what we anticipate this year. But other names that came up that year and got playing time-Viola, Laudner, Bush. So the core of the 1987-91 teams started to learn in this year. The age of the guys- Herbie was 21 on opening day (jumping AAA I believe), Viola was 22, G-man was 23 and Bush 23. In 1983 a 22 year old named Greg Gagne showed up and we had our Shortstop for the next decade. And all this took place in a brand new Ball park. Maybe we will be surprised in the names coming out spring training.
    1. Bombo Rivera's Avatar
      Bombo Rivera -
      Willingham and Parmlee in the same starting OF? They are not going to cover much ground. With the Twins pitching staff they might have to utilize the softball defense of 4 OFers anyway. Better have whoever plays CF wear track shoes.
    1. cmathewson's Avatar
      cmathewson -
      Shocked that the two guys Ryan has penciled in for SS and CF are not even 75% chances. I would say Florimon is close to 90%. He was the starting SS for the last two months last year after all. Nothing has changed since then. And I'd say it's Hicks' job to lose. Consider how they handled Mauer after trading Pierzinski. That is exactly Hick's situation now. He'd have to show some serious flaws to be sent down, imho.
    1. East Coast Twin's Avatar
      East Coast Twin -
      Quote Originally Posted by MWLFan View Post
      Herbie was 21 on opening day (jumping AAA I believe) . . . .
      Herbek actually jumped from A ball to the majors as did Eisenreich, which is pretty amazing. Gaetti jumped from AA. Viola was drafted in 1981 and made his major league debut within a year. Laudner was draft in 1979 and made his major league debut two years later.

      The Griffith regime had a little different philosophy about promoting prospects through the system.
    1. LewFordLives's Avatar
      LewFordLives -
      Quote Originally Posted by Bombo Rivera View Post
      Willingham and Parmlee in the same starting OF? They are not going to cover much ground. With the Twins pitching staff they might have to utilize the softball defense of 4 OFers anyway. Better have whoever plays CF wear track shoes.
      I think Bombo raises a good point. We know Gardenhire likes speed in the outfield. By the end of May, it wouldn't shock me if Willingham and/or Parmelee is relegated to DH duties and the combination of Mastroianni, Hicks, Benson is holding down at least two spots in the outfield.
    1. mcrow's Avatar
      mcrow -
      Quote Originally Posted by LewFordLives View Post
      I think Bombo raises a good point. We know Gardenhire likes speed in the outfield. By the end of May, it wouldn't shock me if Willingham and/or Parmelee is relegated to DH duties and the combination of Mastroianni, Hicks, Benson is holding down at least two spots in the outfield.
      I highly doubt that. If you have Willingham or Parmelee added to the DH mix then you hvae difficulty getting Mauer time at DH and you'd have to sit Doumit more. They're best served as a team if they can have all 4 of these guys in the lineup as much as possible.
    1. LewFordLives's Avatar
      LewFordLives -
      When the starting pitching gets lit up, the first thing Gardy is going to do is blame the outfield defense.
    1. mcrow's Avatar
      mcrow -
      Quote Originally Posted by LewFordLives View Post
      When the starting pitching gets lit up, the first thing Gardy is going to do is blame the outfield defense.
      I don't think so. The guys you propose will be out there really are not that great in field either so it's some huge upgrade. Granted Willingham and Parmelee are not great OF but it's not like we'd be replacing them with a GG caliber OF. Certainly Benson, Hicks and Mastroianni are faster and might have better skill but what you give up at the plate isn't worth the extra defense.
    1. MWLFan's Avatar
      MWLFan -
      Quote Originally Posted by East Coast Twin View Post
      Herbek actually jumped from A ball to the majors as did Eisenreich, which is pretty amazing. Gaetti jumped from AA. Viola was drafted in 1981 and made his major league debut within a year. Laudner was draft in 1979 and made his major league debut two years later.

      The Griffith regime had a little different philosophy about promoting prospects through the system.

      yes Cheaper...hard to believe I know. They also had a good eye for talent and knew what they had in 1980-81 was not what was going to win. But it took a few years to recover from the floatsam that was drifted through in the late 70's early 80's. Patience was required both in the front office and in the fan base. There was no quick easy fix for those problems as there will be none for these current sets.
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      Quote Originally Posted by LewFordLives View Post
      When the starting pitching gets lit up, the first thing Gardy is going to do is blame the outfield defense.
      Aside from Okie Blackburn, Okie Gardy seems to hold the starters accountable though at times he may lay the excuse on a lingering physical ailment. Last year, I'm pretty sure during every news conference after games that weren't started by Diamond, Gardy used the phrase, "left a few pitches up in the zone" at minimum two times.
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      Quote Originally Posted by East Coast Twin View Post
      Herbek actually jumped from A ball to the majors as did Eisenreich, which is pretty amazing. Gaetti jumped from AA. Viola was drafted in 1981 and made his major league debut within a year. Laudner was draft in 1979 and made his major league debut two years later.

      The Griffith regime had a little different philosophy about promoting prospects through the system.
      True and those were exciting times, but we can't pretend that the salary gulf between young players and veterans hasn't exponentially increased over the last 30 years. Young Twins of this era would likely skip a few levels if the Twins weren't most concerned about furture arbitration and losing players to free agency before they hit their prime.
    1. mcrow's Avatar
      mcrow -
      Quote Originally Posted by nicksaviking View Post
      Aside from Okie Blackburn, Okie Gardy seems to hold the starters accountable though at times he may lay the excuse on a lingering physical ailment. Last year, I'm pretty sure during every news conference after games that weren't started by Diamond, Gardy used the phrase, "left a few pitches up in the zone" at minimum two times.
      Yes, generally he's willing to lay blame where it belongs but like you said it seems like Blackburn was an exception.
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