• Minnesota Twins Roster Projection 2.0

    Three weeks ago, as spring training was starting, I posted my first roster projections. In it, I gave percentages for what I felt was likelihood of each player, 40 man roster players and non-roster invitees, making the Opening Day roster. The Minnesota Twins have now played more than a dozen spring games. There have been some injuries. Some players have done well while others have struggled. Of course, the final rosters wonít likely be known for another three weeks, ut it is fun to try to project that Opening Day roster and see how those projections change over the next three weeks.

    Check out my projections, and let us know what you think.

    Do you think any of the other players are givens? Which question marks do you think will make it? Go on record in the comments and see how your opinions change from week to week.

    The players in Red are players that I believe are givens to make the roster (obviously pending injury). Those in black are potentially up for grabs.

    Catchers: Joe Mauer, Ryan Doumit, Drew Butera

    Clearly Joe Mauer and Ryan Doumit are givens to not just be on the roster, but to likely be very much in the middle of the lineup. They will likely alternate between catching and DH duties. So, the big question right now appears to be whether or not the Twins will keep Drew Butera as their third catcher or if they will go with just two catchers (who both start)? Will they be able to find an Ďemergency catcherí to ease the managerís concerns? If they were to make a move in the coming weeks for a bench bat, then I think that Butera starts the season in Rochester. However, until that happens, Iíll still assume Butera makes the roster.

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

    We know that Justin Morneau and Trevor Plouffe will be the starters at the corners. We know that Jamey Carroll will be on the roster in some role, and that the Twins seem to prefer that be as a utility player that they know they can turn to at any time. To this point, Pedro Florimon (SS) and Brian Dozier (2B) have seemingly done what the Twins had hoped and are clearly the favorites up the middle. Defense does, and really should, matter with a pitching staff that will definitely allow contact, specifically ground ball contact. I would probably put the percent likelihood that Florimon and Dozier are on the roster at nearly 80%, maybe even a little higher, but Iím not quite willing to say they are locks. Likewise, I put the likelihood of Eduard Escobar being on the roster at close to 70% at this point because of his great glove. He was the emergency catcher of the White Sox a year ago, and the Twins would like to see him behind the plate in game situations this spring to make sure they are comfortable with that. If he proves able to do that sufficiently, that percentage goes up even more. Ray Olmedo might be the sleeper as a second utility infielder.

    Outfielders: Josh Willingham, Aaron Hicks, Chris Parmelee, Darin Mastroianni

    There are three givens to make the Twins roster in the outfield. Josh Willingham and Chris Parmelee will be the starters in the corners. Darin Mastroianni will be on the roster in some capacity. He was fighting for the starting centerfield job, but his hamstring injury has cost him a week of time to impress. Speaking of impressing, I think it is fair to say that Aaron Hicks has done just that. He has hit five home runs in the last three days. Sure, two of the three he hit on Thursday would not have been homers in most ballparks on most days, but he has been playing well. Frankly, he is the guy that the Twins had hoped would come to camp and earn the job with his play and with his composure. To this point, he has done just that. He has put up numbers and he has shown poise. Will he continue to show those traits over the next three weeks as he will begin to see more big league pitchers? Will the Twins send him to Rochester for a month to gain an extra year of team control? Joe Benson is the third guy in the battle for centerfield, and although he has shown good defense and hit a long home run, he has struggled to make consistent content. Again, there is still time to change this before the season, but right now, Bensonís hope to make the Opening Day roster would be if they go with just two catchers. Then, Benson would be competing with the likes of Chris Colabello, Brandon Boggs, Clete Thomas and Wilkin Ramirez for that spot.

    Starting Pitchers: Kevin Correia, Vance Worley, Scott Diamond, Mike Pelfrey, Liam Hendriks, Cole De Vries (if Diamond starts season on DL)

    Itís all about health. If Kevin Correia, Vance Worley and Mike Pelfrey remain healthy, they are givens. Scott Diamond will not pitch in a game for another ten days. Will that be soon enough to have him ready to start two weeks later? I think thatís a big question, though if he isnít ready, he would be put on the Disabled List. Liam Hendriks seems to be the front runner for that final starting role, if Scott Diamond is ready. If he is not, there are two spots open. One would likely be Hendriks. The other appears to be up for grabs between Kyle Gibson and Cole De Vries. With three weeks to go before the season starts, De Vries likely is in the lead for that spot. That may be the best for Gibsonís long-term success. He can start in Rochester and gradually work innings. If heís with the Twins, they will want him to be going 6-7 innings right from the start. In Rochester, they can just say, heís going 4 innings in his first four starts, then go up to five innings for three or four starts. Then maybe a couple of six inning starts. Then a promotion by mid-May with 100 more innings before being shut down.

    Bullpen: Glen Perkins, Jared Burton, Brian Duensing, Alex Burnett, Casey Fien, Josh Roenicke, Ryan Pressly, (Anthony Swarzak-DL?)

    The first three spots are set. Glen Perkins is the closer. Jared Burton and Brian Duensing are the set-up men. After that, there is likely not a given. Anthony Swarzak is yet to pitch and could start the season on the Disabled List. He, along with Tim Wood and Josh Roenicke are out of options. Obviously as a Rule 5 selection, Ryan Pressly could be lost if not on the 25 man roster. Burnett didnít have great peripherals in 2012, but he did get put up a good ERA, so he is closest to being a given despite struggling this spring. Fien was very good with the Twins once he was promoted and has been good this spring. Also remember that Burnett and Fien do have an option remaining. Could that factor in to the roster spots? Iím sure they would love to have another left-hander, but Tyler Robertson and Caleb Thielbar have struggled while Rafael Perez isnít ready to pitch yet.

    What are your thoughts? What does your roster look like?
    This article was originally published in blog: Minnesota Twins Roster Projection 2.0 started by Seth Stohs
    Comments 28 Comments
    1. glunn's Avatar
      glunn -
      This is a great post.

      I very much agree about Gibson -- better to let him get up to speed in Rochester and not tax his arm and his confidence by starting him in the majors.

      I wonder what's up with Deduno -- the natural movement on his pitches is exceptional and it seems to me that he could be amazing if he could just develop more control.
    1. tjsyam921's Avatar
      tjsyam921 -
      As good as Hicks is playing i think it works for and against him. Twins need a good lead off hitter and center fielder, but the way he's playing could also show them he could be on his way to living up to his potential and want that extra year of control.
    1. old nurse's Avatar
      old nurse -
      Quote Originally Posted by glunn View Post
      This is a great post.


      I wonder what's up with Deduno -- the natural movement on his pitches is exceptional and it seems to me that he could be amazing if he could just develop more control.
      That has probably been said of Deduno for the last 10 years
    1. Jeremy Nygaard's Avatar
      Jeremy Nygaard -
      I'm at the point now where I think Hicks should be an opening day starter. If - at some point this year - he goes into a giant swoon, send him down for three weeks to help him restore confidence and bring him back when he's showing it. Oh, that gives the Twins another year of service too.
    1. orange's Avatar
      orange -
      Hey Joe Benson, I struggle with getting "consistent content"(ment?) too!
    1. Cap'n Piranha's Avatar
      Cap'n Piranha -
      Given how Pressly has looked this year, along with his rule 5 status, I think he's in good shape to make the team. Escobar is also having a good spring offensively--what does he have to do to pass up Florimon? And finally, any chance that Herrmann can unseat Butera, or is Gardy & Co too high on Butera's defense (I'm assuming Herrmann is not as good defensively).
    1. jimbo92107's Avatar
      jimbo92107 -
      Quote Originally Posted by tjsyam921 View Post
      As good as Hicks is playing i think it works for and against him. Twins need a good lead off hitter and center fielder, but the way he's playing could also show them he could be on his way to living up to his potential and want that extra year of control.
      I'd keep Hicks on the MLB roster for two big reasons.

      First, he's clearly ready. Not completely polished, but far ahead of Benson and far more talented than Mastrioanni.

      Second, putting Hicks in CF now would be a big boost for the kids coming up through the minor leagues. Guys like Kepler and Arcia want to see that the Twins put performance ahead of team control. Even Joe Benson down in AAA will know that if he starts playing great CF and banging hits, he'll be headed for the show. The Twins have a ton of guys coming up that are watching how management handles Aaron Hicks. Will they respect his accomplishments, or stash him in AAA like a can of soup to be opened at their convenience?

      Ballplayers want to be treated like persons, not human resources. Fair play says Aaron Hicks is the best player at CF. If you want your team to be a merit-based system, then Hicks is earning his shot. If Hicks finishes the spring well, then reward him with a roster spot.
    1. cmathewson's Avatar
      cmathewson -
      This is as good a projection as any right now. I think you can pretty near turn those black names red. The only one I'm not sure about is Burnett. He's had a horrible spring and Gardy might want a situational lefty. Problem is, neither Robertson nor Thielbar has pitched particularly well either. But if Robertson puts together a handful of good outings at the close of spring, I look for him to go north instead of Burnett.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      Spot on about the proper use of Gibson!!!
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by Cap'n Piranha View Post
      Given how Pressly has looked this year, along with his rule 5 status, I think he's in good shape to make the team. Escobar is also having a good spring offensively--what does he have to do to pass up Florimon? And finally, any chance that Herrmann can unseat Butera, or is Gardy & Co too high on Butera's defense (I'm assuming Herrmann is not as good defensively).
      Herrmann could unseat Butera at some point... He isn't as good as Butera defensively (3 wild pitches by Gibson yesterday and have to wonder if Butera would have been able to do anything with them. I didn't see, but am just guessing). Also, Herrmann is hitting .100 this spring. He'll be fine, but it won't happen on Opening Day.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by cmathewson View Post
      This is as good a projection as any right now. I think you can pretty near turn those black names red. The only one I'm not sure about is Burnett. He's had a horrible spring and Gardy might want a situational lefty. Problem is, neither Robertson nor Thielbar has pitched particularly well either. But if Robertson puts together a handful of good outings at the close of spring, I look for him to go north instead of Burnett.
      I just don't think that they'll go with a lefty because 1.) none are making it clear they should, and 2.) so many RHP are out of options and I think they would give them a shot first.

      That's also the reason that I can't quite put Burnett and Fein in Red. They do have an option left and others don't.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      I hope that if they do send Hicks down, that they put Benson in there and see what happens. At this point, he's a 4th OFer probably anyway, with Hicks, Arcia, Parmalee, Willingham all her or about to be here. So I'm not worried about his long term development at this point.
    1. Twinsfan46's Avatar
      Twinsfan46 -
      I hope Burnett doesn't make the team with all of the other options they have. He has been terrible this spring and doesn't strike people out like you'd want a reliever to do. I would rather see Pressly take that spot. Send Burnett to AAA as insurance and roll with some of the other guys.
    1. Rosterman's Avatar
      Rosterman -
      So the Twins have 15 spots set, which includes a 4th-string outfielder and two pitchers that could be disabled (one of them coming off Tommy John). Doesn't say much for the overall talent. I'm looking at the names thrown out and wonder, actually, how many of the guys will be around come 2015 or even 2016. As for Hicks, if he remains halfway hot, you do start him. If he needs retooling, send him out for a month and again for a month if need be. I see some possible rotation in/out of centerfield. Of course, Morneau is a sticking point. If he goes, we move Parmelee to first and now have need of an additional outfielder. Be interesting to see how the bullpen actually shakes out. Names like Robertson and Burnett are still good to go in the minors and be out future. Fien could also go down and join Guerra and Slama as possible 2014 relievers that the Twins need to keep or finally cut loose. Be interesting to see if any of the non-rosters get promoted. There ain't many names to remove, unless it is Roeincke/Wood and Pressly. That's about it...unless the Twins would have to waiver Butera to send him down.
    1. stringer bell's Avatar
      stringer bell -
      Fien was the superior pitcher to Burnett last year, he has been the better pitcher in ST, so I think he should be ahead of Burnett. I'd love to see Robertson shine the rest of the spring and win a spot.
    1. Jim Crikket's Avatar
      Jim Crikket -
      I disagree on starting Gibson in Rochester, unless Diamond is ready to answer the bell right away or, as could be the case in 3 weeks, Gibson just isn't showing he's ready for the Big Leagues.

      But if he's clearly one of the best 5 starting pitchers, I would not waste any of his limited innings this season in Rochester. Make him your 5th starter who's rotation spot gets skipped when things fall that way, but don't waste him in Rochester. Let's be honest, it's highly unlikely he's going to be so good that he lasts 6-7 innings every game anyway. He's going to get knocked around once in a while like every rookie (at least those not named Strasburg) is. He'll have his share of 4 inning starts without artificially limiting his innings in Rochester.
    1. spycake's Avatar
      spycake -
      Quote Originally Posted by tjsyam921 View Post
      As good as Hicks is playing i think it works for and against him. Twins need a good lead off hitter and center fielder, but the way he's playing could also show them he could be on his way to living up to his potential and want that extra year of control.
      I think the "extra year of control" angle is generally overrated:

      - If he's a solid major league player, they will almost certainly sign him to a long-term contract which buys out those seasons anyway.

      - And it seems the only way to save money doing this would be to keep him down long enough to delay arbitration, then go year-to-year in his contracts until free agency, but then you'd be taking an even greater "risk" that one of those years he might have a big season and cash in with a huge arbitration award.

      I'm guessing service time is very rarely an issue in situations such as these.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jim Crikket View Post
      I disagree on starting Gibson in Rochester, unless Diamond is ready to answer the bell right away or, as could be the case in 3 weeks, Gibson just isn't showing he's ready for the Big Leagues.

      But if he's clearly one of the best 5 starting pitchers, I would not waste any of his limited innings this season in Rochester. Make him your 5th starter who's rotation spot gets skipped when things fall that way, but don't waste him in Rochester. Let's be honest, it's highly unlikely he's going to be so good that he lasts 6-7 innings every game anyway. He's going to get knocked around once in a while like every rookie (at least those not named Strasburg) is. He'll have his share of 4 inning starts without artificially limiting his innings in Rochester.
      So, if Gibson isn't showing he's one of the top 5 starters, which he isn't right now... where should they have him "waste" those innings? In Extended Spring?
    1. ericchri's Avatar
      ericchri -
      If he's not one of the 5 best, his innings wouldn't be wasted in AAA. I think that was the point of saying if he's clearly one of the 5 best.

      Echoing JC, I've advocated the notion of treating him as the #5 starter before and skipping him every time it makes sense as opposed to rolling all 5 starters back a day because of an off-day in the schedule. In the grand scheme of things, I'm not sure I really care a whole lot how Gibson gets used this year, though. It only matters if the "Strasburg situation" happens where he would be dominating and has to be shut down before the playoffs. Since I'm not expecting playoffs this year, regardless of how well he pitches, whatever way he gets used, be it AAA or majors, reliever or not, it's all about building him up to be a big factor next year anyway. But my ideal would probably having him pitching well as the #5 and getting skipped from time to time during the season.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      That seems to be the point people are missing, IF he's one of the 5 best starters, it is wasteful to have any innings not in the majors. If he's not, I don't care if it is EST or AAA where he gets up to speed. I just want him fully, 100%, ready for next year to pitch 200 innings give or take.....and I want him up here if he is deemed ready.
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