• 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. cmathewson's Avatar
      cmathewson -
      I rest my case. It's way too early to worry about arbitration years. When was the last time the Twins even let a good player get more than a couple years into arbitration? They bought out most if not all of Koskie's, Guzman's, Hunter's, Mauer's, Morneau's, and Span's arbitration years. They traded Pierzingski, Mientkievizc, and Revere before it was an issue.

      If Hicks is anything like the player we expect, he'll never make it to arbitration with the Twins. They'll sign him to a long-term deal the first year he's eligible.

      That's why I was focused on the Super two status. If they can at least prevent him from becoming a Super Two, they can delay the long-term deal by a year.
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Interesting talk about Hicks and what the best strategy of delaying arbitration is; please compare that to the Angels' worries and action about delaying arbitration for Mike Trout and the Nats' issues with delaying arbitration for Bryce Harper and you will have a glimpse into part of the problems in the Twins' organization, and their fans' expectations. Frankly, I expect the Twins to bring the best 25 up north. Period. Like winning organizations do. I do not care about arbitration. I care about the Twins winning. Should not be an issue for an organization that made Drew a super 2 (heck, that rhymes.)
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by cmathewson View Post
      That's why I was focused on the Super two status. If they can at least prevent him from becoming a Super Two, they can delay the long-term deal by a year.
      You're 100% right. It's that they get an extra year to make that decision. I think that's important.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by thrylos98 View Post
      Interesting talk about Hicks and what the best strategy of delaying arbitration is; please compare that to the Angels' worries and action about delaying arbitration for Mike Trout and the Nats' issues with delaying arbitration for Bryce Harper and you will have a glimpse into part of the problems in the Twins' organization, and their fans' expectations. Frankly, I expect the Twins to bring the best 25 up north. Period. Like winning organizations do. I do not care about arbitration. I care about the Twins winning. Should not be an issue for an organization that made Drew a super 2 (heck, that rhymes.)
      Although I will constantly advocate keeping a player down 1 month to keep them from being a free agent for a year, the Twins are not a team who really worries about it despite so many fans on this site thinking they do.

      1.) When the Twins had a prospect the caliber of Trout and Harper (Mauer), they called him up for Opening Day, not worrying about what that would cost them long term.

      2.) Chris Parmelee and Liam Hendriks were both on the Opening Day roster in 2012, so clearly the Twins don't worry about such things.

      3.) The Nationals called up Harper to make his debut on April 28. He will be a Super 2 eligible The Angels called Trout up on April 28th as well, but he has 1.070 years of service, so he won't be a Super 2.
    1. snepp's Avatar
      snepp -
      I don't care about the arbitration portion of it, avoiding super-2 is largely irrelevant. With the way the payroll is heading and their obvious reluctance to spend any significant money in free agency, that first year of arb isn't going make any difference to the financials. Who else are they going to be paying in those years? Mauer, Worley, and a bunch of minimum wagers.
    1. cmathewson's Avatar
      cmathewson -
      Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
      Although I will constantly advocate keeping a player down 1 month to keep them from being a free agent for a year, the Twins are not a team who really worries about it despite so many fans on this site thinking they do.

      1.) When the Twins had a prospect the caliber of Trout and Harper (Mauer), they called him up for Opening Day, not worrying about what that would cost them long term.

      2.) Chris Parmelee and Liam Hendriks were both on the Opening Day roster in 2012, so clearly the Twins don't worry about such things.

      3.) The Nationals called up Harper to make his debut on April 28. He will be a Super 2 eligible The Angels called Trout up on April 28th as well, but he has 1.070 years of service, so he won't be a Super 2.
      Great points Seth. This is what I've been trying to say. We need to distinguish between the theory of the CBA and the practice of managing a roster in relationship to it. In practice, I can count on one finger the times the Twins apparently took an inferior player north to save service time (Bartlett). It was nearly disastrous. They will likely take the best 25 guys north and let the contract issues take care of themselves.

      Service time might be used to break ties, however. If Mastroianni and Hicks are equal coming out of spring training, they'll go north with the Maestro. This is the way they seem to be leaning right now, because Gardy loves Maestro and doesn't want to put too much pressure on Hicks. But if Hicks is clearly the better player, he will go north, with Maestro as the fourth outfielder. I might be alone on this board in arguing that Hicks is clearly the better player right now. I base my opinion as much on OBP skills as range in the outfield. With Willingham and Parmalee on the corners, they need an above-average center fielder. Maestro is average at best.

      Benson is the wild card. If they send Hicks down, Benson becomes the fourth outfielder. This might not be in his best interests, considering the year he had last year. He needs to play everyday (as does Hicks). Maestro is a good bench player and not the future center fielder. Long term it makes sense to have Hicks and Benson starting in center field in Minnesota and Rochester. Between Benson and Hicks, Hicks is the clear favorite right now, especially since they need an OBP guy at the top of the order, not a free-swinging power hitter.
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