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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. stringer bell's Avatar
      stringer bell -
      Benson has an option left, correct? I would expect that he will be sent down and play every day for the Red Wings. If he can get it going there, then the Twins can look at giving him a bit more sporadic playing time in the majors. However, if Arcia hits as I expect, he will probably be promoted when (not if) either the Hammer or the Big Canadian get moved.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      stringer, my question is more, how long do you go before you say "I get more out of Benson as a 4th OFer, than I do out of keeping him in AAA hoping he develops into a starter"? I mean, if he 's in AAA for two more years, and then is a 4th OFer, wouldn't you have gotten more out of him if he's a 4th OFer now, rather than, um, if Hicks isn't up, I have no idea who....At some point, you get value out of a guy either through him being up, by him being traded. So, how long do you wait, vs, just call him up and either see what you have, or use him as a 4th OFer?*

      *I have no idea if that is what he really is, but at some point, you are better off getting ML use out of him, than waiting to see what he is or is not.
    1. Dilligaf69's Avatar
      Dilligaf69 -
      Have to think Hicks and Maestro come north with Benson/Arcia playing everyday in AAA with callups at some point this season. Hicks may even be sent back down at some point with the other two getting an oppurtunity. Next yr When Justin is gone and probably Hammer then you have Hicks/Benson/Arcia/Maestro and parm at 1B. If everything falls into place that's probably what we are looking at in 2014.
    1. stringer bell's Avatar
      stringer bell -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      stringer, my question is more, how long do you go before you say "I get more out of Benson as a 4th OFer, than I do out of keeping him in AAA hoping he develops into a starter"? I mean, if he 's in AAA for two more years, and then is a 4th OFer, wouldn't you have gotten more out of him if he's a 4th OFer now, rather than, um, if Hicks isn't up, I have no idea who....At some point, you get value out of a guy either through him being up, by him being traded. So, how long do you wait, vs, just call him up and either see what you have, or use him as a 4th OFer?*

      *I have no idea if that is what he really is, but at some point, you are better off getting ML use out of him, than waiting to see what he is or is not.
      I think Benson gets this year to re-establish himself as a potential starter. If he isn't up to it this year, he probably joins the Clete Thomases of the world as guys that will kick around and hope to "find it" maybe with the Twins, maybe with someone else. I really like Benson's tools and I don't see any point in having him play once or twice a week and otherwise serving as a pinch-runner and defensive replacement. However, if he can't get it going this year, it's probably time to move on to the next class.
    1. Mr. Brooks's Avatar
      Mr. Brooks -
      I agree. I think with a guy like Benson who has the tools, but for whatever reason may or may never develop them, that you keep giving them chances to be an everyday player until they run out of options.
      Then, at that point, if they are good enough, you use up their cheap years as a 4th OF'er or some other minor role capacity, and then once they get to the point where they reach their 2nd or 3rd arb years, you move on again.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Thanks! Sounds reasonable as an approach, I guess. So a college guy, we'd wait until he is into his prime? Interesting, I have to think about the implications of that.
    1. Mr. Brooks's Avatar
      Mr. Brooks -
      Not necessarily. I'm only speaking for guys like Benson who have all the tools, but for whatever reason something isnt quite clicking.
      Most of your 5 tool prospects are going to be drafted out of HS or as a 16 year old I'ntl signing.
      I think you move on a lot sooner if the guy doesnt have the tools.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      Seth, when is Benson a 4th OFer, though? If he's not great this year, can they have him on the roster next year as a 4th (likely faster, better arm, more power than Maestro)? I guess I'm asking, much like trying to keep a SP a SP instead of making him a good RP, when do you say "benson is really a 4th OFer)?
      It's a good question. One I'm trying to get a better feel for. Maybe it's more of a gut thing of when a guy is most likely not to be a regular. I'm trying to read that situation.
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      You give a guy like Benson every chance to play every day until he's out of options and forces it. He's a 5 tool player who could have a top end ceiling of similar to Cuddyer with more speed and defense. His floor, which I think he's at right now, is a 4th OF. He needs a chance to develop those tools, and quite frankly he should get it as long as an opportunity provides. Once he's out of options, it's a different story, but until then, you give him the opportunity to start.
    1. stringer bell's Avatar
      stringer bell -
      Quote Originally Posted by diehardtwinsfan View Post
      You give a guy like Benson every chance to play every day until he's out of options and forces it. He's a 5 tool player who could have a top end ceiling of similar to Cuddyer with more speed and defense. His floor, which I think he's at right now, is a 4th OF. He needs a chance to develop those tools, and quite frankly he should get it as long as an opportunity provides. Once he's out of options, it's a different story, but until then, you give him the opportunity to start.
      I agree 100% about Joe. While his hitting has been subpar, he's apparently healthy and isn't beating himself up too much when he doesn't get a hit. The strikeouts continue to be too high, but slumps happen. As long as he has an option left, it is fine to send him down and wait (hope) for Joe to harness his tools.
    1. Kwak's Avatar
      Kwak -
      Benson's floor?--is what last year was, and this season is shaping-up to be--a Bust! He's got about 2 months to show that he might become a MLB player or else be relegated. The Twins have many high-quality OF prospects that rising in the system.
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      Benson can already give you elite CF defense. As long as that continues, his floor is a 4th OF. His offense is the issue at hand.
    1. Physics Guy's Avatar
      Physics Guy -
      I agree for the most part that Benson can give above average to elite defense, but not sure he can hit enough yet to be a 4th OF. Doesn't he need to hit at least .250? I might put his floor at AAA OF, unless you are OK with a .220 4th OF. I don't think the Twins were, hence going from Komatsu to Thomas to Mastro last year. Benson did hit .239 in what was considered an unimpressive debut in 2011, so maybe he's not far off. He just needs to show that 2012 was about injuries and not regression.
    1. Mr. Brooks's Avatar
      Mr. Brooks -
      Quote Originally Posted by Physics Guy View Post
      I agree for the most part that Benson can give above average to elite defense, but not sure he can hit enough yet to be a 4th OF. Doesn't he need to hit at least .250? I might put his floor at AAA OF, unless you are OK with a .220 4th OF. I don't think the Twins were, hence going from Komatsu to Thomas to Mastro last year. Benson did hit .239 in what was considered an unimpressive debut in 2011, so maybe he's not far off. He just needs to show that 2012 was about injuries and not regression.
      I dont think he has to hit .250 to be a serviceable 4th OF'er so long as he can show some power.
      Mastro is a career .248 hitter with NO power, and I think most of us agree he is a serviceable 4th OF'er, so I think .235 with power would be acceptable.
    1. Mr. Brooks's Avatar
      Mr. Brooks -
      Quote Originally Posted by Kwak View Post
      Benson's floor?--is what last year was, and this season is shaping-up to be--a Bust! He's got about 2 months to show that he might become a MLB player or else be relegated. The Twins have many high-quality OF prospects that rising in the system.
      I'd say 2 months is a bit of an exaggeration. I mean, even if he only shows enough this year to relegate himself to 4th OF duty, he could still work his way into the line up after that.
      It does however, make TR's job a lot easier if he DOES show us something in the first couple months, because if he shows he can be a competent every day outfielder that allows us to move Willy and Justin at the deadline.
    1. cmathewson's Avatar
      cmathewson -
      The battle between Benson and Hicks is a lot like the battle between Gomez and Span. Span was clearly the better player that spring, and Gomez clearly needed more time in AAA. But the Twins went the other way because they wanted to show some value for the Santana trade. In this case, there should be no such pressure.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      True, but hicks sells tickets, benson does not, yet. I still have hope he is a .275 guy with great defense and some pop. But I would bet there is some pressure to have Hicks up. But I also doubt that matters to Ryan or Gardenhire.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      Let's calm all the homies down. There are plenty of approaches to take:

      1: Start Mastroianni/Boggs at CF and delay on Hicks and Benson as they partake in AAA awesomeness.

      2. Start Hicks (most likely scenario) and have Mastro as the 4th OF. Maybe even Ramirez as the fifth OF. This means that Benson, imagine this, should get some AAA batting time. Imagine that. They wrongly demoted him last year to AA in an abominably stupid move. So why not just give Benson the 3-spot in the Rochester order for awhile before relegating him to 4th OF status?

      Clearly the floor is 4th OF: this guy is better than Mastro by a significant margin. Full stop. But that 4th OF option isn't really going to happen immediately. The 2013 could rightly end with Benson-Hicks-Arcia manning the OF.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by Shane Wahl View Post
      Let's calm all the homies down. There are plenty of approaches to take:

      1: Start Mastroianni/Boggs at CF and delay on Hicks and Benson as they partake in AAA awesomeness.

      2. Start Hicks (most likely scenario) and have Mastro as the 4th OF. Maybe even Ramirez as the fifth OF. This means that Benson, imagine this, should get some AAA batting time. Imagine that. They wrongly demoted him last year to AA in an abominably stupid move. So why not just give Benson the 3-spot in the Rochester order for awhile before relegating him to 4th OF status?

      Clearly the floor is 4th OF: this guy is better than Mastro by a significant margin. Full stop. But that 4th OF option isn't really going to happen immediately. The 2013 could rightly end with Benson-Hicks-Arcia manning the OF.
      Abominable? Characterizing a demotion as something akin to the torture of prisoners might be a wee bit harsh?

      They do have the very separate interests of the AAA team's ownership to consider.
    1. jun's Avatar
      jun -
      Quote Originally Posted by adjacent View Post
      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)
      Starters: De Vries, Diamond, Pelfrey, Correia, Worley (Deduno would be the 6th starter or long reliever)
      Bullpen: Perkins, Burton, Duensing, Hernandez, Pressly, Walters, Deduno. (Fien would be the extra)
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