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  • Minnesota Twins Roster Projection 3.0

    In two weeks, the Minnesota Twins will start their trek north for the start of the regular season. In the last few days, the Twins have sent several players down to minor league camp. There are still 50 players in camp and half of them will not be on the active roster on Opening Day. Here is this weekís look at my Twins Roster Projection.

    Let us know what you think. There are still a few roster spots up for grabs. 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

    What we know: Of course Joe Mauer and Ryan Doumit are givens.

    What we don't know: The big question at this point is whether or not the Twins will carry a third catcher, or if theyíll be able to trust Eduardo Escobar to be the emergency catcher. If they think Escobar can do the job if absolutely needed, Mauer and Doumit can still be in the lineup most every day and Ron Gardenhire can have an offensive (in the good sense of the word) 25th man on the roster. As of today, I still think that Butera is the favorite, but now he is not competing with just other catchers, but heís also competing with all potential bench bats too.

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

    What we know: We know that Justin Morneau, Trevor Plouffe and Jamey Carroll will be on the roster. Those are easy. This week, I did chance Dozier, Florimon and Escobar to givens. As was expected, Florimon is the shortstop and Dozier will be the second baseman. Escobar has also grabbed that second utility spot, and his willingness to be the emergency catcher (as he was with the White Sox a year ago), just solidifies that heíll fill a role on this roster.
    What we donít know: How long will Plouffe be hurt? Who plays at third base if Plouffe needs to go on the Disabled List? I assume it will be Jamey Carroll, although there is a chance that Eduardo Escobar could start there a bit as well. Is there any chance that the Twins could use Mark Sobolewski at the hot corner if Plouffe ends up being out for a while? Iíd say doubtful, but it does have to be asked. Finally, I believe that Chris Colabello is in the race for that 25th spot on the roster, with Drew Butera and Joe Benson.

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

    What we know: Josh Willingham will be the left fielder and hit. Chris Parmelee will be the starting right fielder as the season begins. We know that Darin Mastroianni will be on the roster.

    What we donít know: Aaron Hicks was certainly the story of the first three weeks of minor league camp. He hasnít had a hit in a couple of games, so heíll need to show that he is able to handle some struggles in a positive way. Joe Benson really struggled the first three weeks of minor league games. However, he is hitting the ball hard and getting on base the last several games. If he has a strong next week to ten days and Hicks doesnít rebound, this race is still up for grabs. Finally, Mastroianni is not going to sit back and let the other guys take the centerfield job. He missed about a week with his hamstring injury, but he came back and hit again. So, I still believe that Hicks is the current favorite for the starting job, but it is not completely settled yet. Benson could still be competing for the 25th spot on the roster, a bench bat with some pop.

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

    What we know: Kevin Correia, Vance Worley and Mike Pelfrey are all new to the organization, and they are all givens to make the rotation. Scott Diamond would be a starter, but he is yet pitch in a game and likely will begin the season on the disabled list. Kyle Gibson was competing for a job in the rotation, but his struggles got him sent back to Rochester to start the season.

    What we donít know: Two spots in the rotation are open to start the season. Liam Hendriks and Cole de Vries are certainly the leading candidates, and those two havenít changed on this list since last week. Hendriks gave up three homers in his start this week, but he was quite good in the first three. De Vries has been good throughout the spring. However, a couple of pitchers are getting noticed. PJ Walters has pitched very well in spring training, as he did last year until his injury. If he is an option for the rotation, he should get a start or at least get extended. Sam Deduno has pitched very well for the Dominican WBC team. He pitched well against Spain and Thursday night against the USA team. No question that Deduno has stuff, but can he throw enough strikes consistently? Can he get through five innings consistently? Deduno and Walters are not on the 40 man roster which reduces their chance of being on the Opening Day roster, but if they pitch well in Rochester, they will get another opportunity.

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

    What we know: Perkins is going to be the closer. Burton and Duensing will be set up men. Swarzak becomes a given for the 25 man roster because he will be on the Disabled List.

    What we donít know: Pretty much everything else. Alex Burnett has gone from being nearly a sure-thing to his odds being no better than 50% to make the Opening Day roster with a really rough spring training. He has an option remaining, as does Casey Fien. With Fien, the option might be the lone thing that keeps me from calling him a given. After that, the questions only get more difficult. Pressly has been really good all spring training and the odds of the Twins keeping him on the roster are quite high. Josh Roenicke and Tim Wood are both out of options. Roenicke threw a ton of innings last year as a long-man with the Rockies. Especially with Swarzak out to start the season, Roenicke provides value. Wood had one really rough outing, but he has been pretty solid. Walters and Deduno could still be candidates for a long term role if the Twins go in that direction. The other option is Tyler Robertson. He was roughed up in his first couple of spring outings, but he has been very good since. If the Twins decide that a third lefty is necessary, Robertson will be the choice. And, Pedro Hernandez has done a very nice job as a lefty out of the bullpen this spring as well.

    What are your thoughts? What does your roster look like two weeks before the season opener?
    This article was originally published in blog: Minnesota Twins Roster Projection 3.0 started by Seth Stohs
    Comments 86 Comments
    1. adjacent's Avatar
      adjacent -
      I saw Pedro Hernandez pitching in the game on TV today. Not too bad. I don't think he is going to be with the Twins, but if they need an extra starter, he is an option (and he is lefty)
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      People sure didn't like the Francisco Liriano trade at the time, but it's pretty clear that it was yet another great trade by Terry Ryan. Liriano continued his struggles with the White Sox and then left and went to the National League. In Escobar, the Twins have a utility player for the next five or six years, and possibly a long, lefty reliever for the next 6-7 years... pretty nice.
    1. Snortwood's Avatar
      Snortwood -
      Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
      People sure didn't like the Francisco Liriano trade at the time, but it's pretty clear that it was yet another great trade by Terry Ryan. Liriano continued his struggles with the White Sox and then left and went to the National League. In Escobar, the Twins have a utility player for the next five or six years, and possibly a long, lefty reliever for the next 6-7 years... pretty nice.
      What is hard to believe is that the Twins got more out of the Pierzynski trade with the Giants than they did from sending Johan to the Mets. Compare and contrast Terry Ryan and Billy Smith. No cuss words allowed. You may begin.
    1. jimbo92107's Avatar
      jimbo92107 -
      In the art of pitching, Cole DeVries has shown better mastery than Liam Hendriks, who has better stuff, but less consistency. Meanwhile I still think Sam Deduno could be one of the best late-blooming pitchers in the league. If he's finally found a way to throw his crazy fastball for strikes, he could really shut down some teams.

      The Benson/Hicks competition is nonsense. Aaron Hicks clearly is the better ballplayer. Either send down Joe Benson or make him the fourth outfielder. Darrin Mastroianni is pretty good too, but with Hicks leading off, you want your other outfielders to have more pop. Benson can drive balls over the fence, while Masto is mainly a slap hitter. In any case, if Morneau gets traded mid-season, they'll just bring up whoever gets sent down now, and move Parms to 1B.

      I haven't seen Escobar try to play catcher, but with so many mediocre arms on the staff, seems to me Gardy will want a third backstop that is more than an emergency fill-in. Past balls, bad throws and crappy handling of pitchers could lose more games than an average bat can make up for. If Butera's not on the opening day roster, I'll still be surprised. Who ya got that's better? We sent him to the Nationals for Matt Capps.
    1. FrodaddyG's Avatar
      FrodaddyG -
      Quote Originally Posted by Snortwood View Post
      What is hard to believe is that the Twins got more out of the Pierzynski trade with the Giants than they did from sending Johan to the Mets. Compare and contrast Terry Ryan and Billy Smith. No cuss words allowed. You may begin.
      I forget, what GM hamstrung Ryan's leverage before the Pierzynski trade the way Ryan did to Smith prior to the Johan trade?
    1. glunn's Avatar
      glunn -
      Quote Originally Posted by FrodaddyG View Post
      I forget, what GM hamstrung Ryan's leverage before the Pierzynski trade the way Ryan did to Smith prior to the Johan trade?
      Ulysses S. Grant?
    1. old nurse's Avatar
      old nurse -
      Quote Originally Posted by FrodaddyG View Post
      I forget, what GM hamstrung Ryan's leverage before the Pierzynski trade the way Ryan did to Smith prior to the Johan trade?
      Pierzynski and Santana were both on the last year of a contract. How is the leverage on one any different than the other other than that is your opinion?
    1. Kwak's Avatar
      Kwak -
      Quote Originally Posted by FrodaddyG View Post
      I forget, what GM hamstrung Ryan's leverage before the Pierzynski trade the way Ryan did to Smith prior to the Johan trade?
      Boston's package's included Coco Crisp and NYY offer included Melky Cabrera--plus their salaries. The Mets were only offering guys would be paid at the minimum. Oh, and "some" were "in love" with Carlos Gomez and all of his "tools".
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
      People sure didn't like the Francisco Liriano trade at the time, but it's pretty clear that it was yet another great trade by Terry Ryan..
      I think that one needs to wait few years to see how it all pans out, before it is labelled "a great trade". If Liriano gets his act together and has a few great seasons, this would be "yet another great trade by Terry Ryan" like trading Kyle Lohse for Zach Ward...

      Give it some time...
    1. josecordoba's Avatar
      josecordoba -
      Few Thoughts

      1. I wouldn't be devasted if Hicks went down to Triple A. Keith Law suggested about 250 at Bats would be a good idea. I get the argument about bringing him up. I would rather be cautious in this case rather then agressive. Worse case scenario is you win 65 games with Joe Benson rather then 70 games with Aaron Hicks.

      2. The deal with Liriano is Thrylos is right that he could pull a Loshe. Yet the problem is the Twins probably got all the return they were going to get for him. He was also a pending Free Agent. If Escobar or Hernadez provide any positive value over the next half-decade this trade's a win. Liriano had a long enough leash with the Twins.
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Quote Originally Posted by Snortwood View Post
      Compare and contrast Terry Ryan and Billy Smith. No cuss words allowed. You may begin.
      You may also compare and contrast Andy MacPhail and Terry Ryan. You can start with world championships or signing top tier free agents, if you like...
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      This is a forum about the roster projections.

      The White Sox and Twins made the deal. The TWins could (we don't know) get 13 years of service time and the White Sox got 2 months of bad pitching from Liriano. At that point, he became a free agent. So what Liriano does from this point on has nothing to do with the Twins/White Sox trade.

      Everyone talks about how the last 2-3 weeks of spring training are more telling than the first 3 weeks. The Twins decided to stand by Benson due to his talent and upside rather than focus on his injury-plagued 2012 season. After missing all that time last year and not being able to do baseball activities all offseason, it's no surprise that he started slow. I still project Hicks to be the starter, but if Benson stays hot, makes contact, takes a few walks and plays defense, it's not completely over yet.
    1. Rick Niedermann's Avatar
      Rick Niedermann -
      I really see another year where the starting staff is in flux most of the season. We have 3 gimpy arms in Diamond, Pelfrey, and Worley. Our addition of Correria is to be an innings eater but his history would suggest he will be demoted to the bullpen at some point due to ineffectivess and Hendriks sent to AAA for more refinement. I haven't seen the improvement in Hendriks to warrant a spot in the rotation. Still no out pitch and very much suseptible to the long ball. A long look at Deduno, Hernandez, Walters and De Vries (a continued pleasand surprise) needs to be done yet this spring. My starters going North would be Worley, Pelfrey, Correria (only cuz I hafta), DeVries, Deduno. ( Diamond DL)
      The bullpen isn't that hard to figure out. Perkins-closer. Burton-setup Duensing-LH specialist. Fien should be in as a 7th inning guy. Pressley wins a spot, you can always return him to the Sox later if he falters, Wood-paying him, so he comes North. So the final spot goes to either Roenicke, Robertson, Hernandez, or Burnett. Right now I'd go with Hernandez. LH has done well this spring. Robertson is to inconsistent. Burnett goes back to AAA with his option and poor pitching. Roenicke you pass through wavers and hope for the best.
    1. Jim H's Avatar
      Jim H -
      I have a hard time seeing Benson or Escobar on the major league roster as backups. While that maybe their ceilings, I don't think we can say that for sure, yet. They both need regular AB's and a chance to improve their games, if you believe either can be a major league regular. Having Escobar around as a backup to the utility man(Carroll) doesn't make a lot of sense to me. Benson almost certainly needs regular AB's at this point of his career to be productive. He wouldn't get that as the 5th OF and probably wouldn't as the 4th.

      I think Butera makes the team. His presence doesn't take AB's from Mauer or Doumit, on the contrary, his presence or somebody like him, probably means those 2 get more AB's. If Butera takes a few AB's from some other backup, which is really the case, that isn't going to hurt the offense that much.

      I think DeVries makes the team, either as the 5th starter or a long reliever. Although there are ways for Deduno to make the team, he probably begins in AAA. Burnett hasn't pitched himself to AAA, yet, but he better step it up. I think the Twins keep Pressly, his upside is probably higher than Roenicke or Wood and they can't keep all three.

      I think Robertson goes to AAA and the Twins want to keep Hernandez starting, at least for now, so he goes to AAA as well.

      As far as comparing MacPhail and Ryan. Ryan did a much better job getting his team to the postseason and having a competitive team year after year. Ryan was/is much better at building a farm system. MacPhail had 2 teams get to the postseason, neither of whom was among the top 10 teams in baseball in those years, by most measures. That those teams won was probably a greater testiment to Kelly's skill as a manager than MacPhail's at roster building. It was another example of getting hot and lucky in the postseason rather than having the best team in the postseason.
    1. Winston Smith's Avatar
      Winston Smith -
      I would really like to know how many times would a 3 rd catcher really be required? Is it 1 or 2 innings a year? It seems like a total waste of a bench spot to have a 3rd catcher that may be needed for an inning or 2 and can't hit. If Mauer or Doumit get hurt you can have a replacement up the next day. When you have a thin bench anyway it makes no sense!
    1. jorgenswest's Avatar
      jorgenswest -
      Deduno is intriguing.

      His combination of groundball rate (58.3%) and infield fly ball rate (17%) are both among the highest rates for starting pitchers last year. It points to how difficult it is for batters to get good contact against him.

      Where does he fit on a staff? Starter or reliever?

      I would think that starting is the better role. The only way he can be successful as a starter would be if he can handle large pitch counts.

      Can he be effective at 120+ pitches? Will he still get the same movement on his pitches to that point? Will he maintain enough command? Some pitchers maintain their effectiveness with large pitch counts.

      Will he remain healthy with large pitch counts? He had Tommy John surgery in 2008.

      I don't think there is another option. His command makes coming in as a middle reliever with runners on base difficult. As a starter, unless they are willing to extend him to large pitch counts, he will have a hard time going beyond 5 innings.
    1. jorgenswest's Avatar
      jorgenswest -
      Should Doumit get any regular time at catcher?

      I hope the Twins will be paying attention to his defense. If it is as bad as some studies suggest, his bat at catcher can not make up for this deficiency. They had better be looking at the videos and pitch f/x. Steinbach had better be working with him towards improving his ability to frame pitches. If not, his only useful role is as DH/PH/emergency 3rd catcher.

      I am not saying Butera is the answer. He does not fare as well defensively as you would expect from a guy who is limited with the bat. I don't think the Twins have an answer.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      I saw nothing while watching Doumit catch a ton last year taht told me that he shouldn't be catching. I don't think I'll ever be able to buy stats for framing pitches. I really don't. I think that if he isn't getting those close pitches to be called strikes, some of that has as much to do with inexperienced or wild pitchers that aren't going to get umps calls too.

      Regarding Deduno. He's earned the right to be a starter, but I wouldn't have him ahead of De Vries or Hendriks at this point. The 40 man roster situation is also a factor at this point in the season.
    1. FrodaddyG's Avatar
      FrodaddyG -
      Quote Originally Posted by old nurse View Post
      Pierzynski and Santana were both on the last year of a contract. How is the leverage on one any different than the other other than that is your opinion?
      Because Ryan basically insulted Santana with his extension offer on his way out the door, leaving Smith with essentially no chance of re-signing him, forcing him to make a deal. Pierzynski was dealt because of Mauer's presence, but could have easily been kept as a backup C/DH at the time.

      SF gave up a good package because AJ was a useful player entering his prime at a position that's starved for offense. It wasn't like they were getting sure-thing prospects in return, but they panned out better than prospects generally do.

      The Mets ended up giving up less in their deal because they knew the Twins' hand was forced, and all of baseball knew Santana had one foot out the door the second he turned down Ryan's "competitive" 5/$100M offer. The prospects they got in return ended up being essentially useless during their Twins tenure, but making a deal was something Smith had to do given the circumstances.
    1. Brandon's Avatar
      Brandon -
      The big debate is the pitching staff so I'll start with the CF debate and go with Hicks and Mastroianni. If the Twins weren't trying to say the job is Hicks to loose then I would go with Benson and Mastro while Hicks lets his clock go in the minors the first 2 months.

      next is the 25th spot. Butera, Colabello, or Benson in this trifecta i see Benson comming north to continue to push in CF and RF with Parmelee. The Twins will want someone who can come in and play the corner OF spots for defense with pop at the end of games. and pinch hit too. Though good arguements could be made for the other 2 and I would not be disappointed in any of the 3 comming north.

      Starting pitching. This is hard cause I feel like we are stuck with Correia in the rotation even though he hasnt shown yet that he deserves it this spring. I would like the rotation to start out with Worely, Dedunno, Devries, [Hendriks (2nd most likely to be sent down after Walters)/ Walters (who could be in pen but is also not on roster or out of options) and Corriea or Pelfry for the last 2 spots]. (Diamond and Pelfry start on the DL unless Pelfry shows better command and results by the end of spring training. the spot is his to loose at this point but he has struggled with command issues. He may need to go on a rehab assignment and stay in extended spring training for a few weeks to work on command.) The first month of the season is shaping up to be tryouts for the rotation. I think Correia should be the fall back option if these other guys show they do not belong. Especially Dedunno, though Dedunno and DeVries appear to be ahead of Hendriks at this point. I am not sure what to think of Walters though I suspect he could end up the in the pen as a long man replacing Swarzak.

      Bullpen
      Perkins, Burton, Deunsing, Fien, Wood, Roenicke, Pressly, Walters,
      I wonder if the Twins will open with 4 starters and 8 relievers to start the season so Wood, Roenicke, Pressly, and Walters can see which one goes down when Diamond comes up. Walters is the odd man out in both the rotation and bullpen IMO. As he is not on the roster and Dedunno appears to be in the lead for the rotation between Walters and Dedunno.
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