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,
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?