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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 week’s 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 they’ll 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 he’s 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 he’ll fill a role on this roster.
    What we don’t 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? I’d 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 don’t know: Aaron Hicks was certainly the story of the first three weeks of minor league camp. He hasn’t had a hit in a couple of games, so he’ll 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 doesn’t 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 don’t 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 haven’t 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 don’t 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. jun's Avatar
      jun -
      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 totally agree, we don't need another Butera in the outfield since we have one as the catcher and another one as the middle infielder. Enough is enough.
    1. jun's Avatar
      jun -
      Quote Originally Posted by Rick Niedermann View Post
      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.
      Agreed. However I believe Hernandez has earned a spot in the bullpen. Fien would be the 7th or 8th man in the bullen.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by jun View Post
      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)
      Your SP projection is close, but if Diamond is scheduled to have his first start on April 12, Deduno, or someone else, is getting at least a start or two in early April.

      Regarding the BP, a few things we know for certain:

      1) The Twins won't have the next 3-4 potential starters on their depth chart as role players in the bullpen. Duensing, for sure, but at most, only one of the other 3, likely dependent on...

      2) ...Just how soon Swarzak becomes available for long relief. The Twins do love their mop-up man doing all the hard mopping.

      3) And they love Burnett, too. And Fien has done nothing to change their plans for him, either. And Wood is there to justify his signing.
    1. jun's Avatar
      jun -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jim H View Post
      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.
      I agree with you Benson should not be on the major league roster. However I have a hard time to find any difference between Escobar and Florimon except that Escobar has hit better than Florimon in the spring. I really don't understand why people are so high on Florimon, he is clearly the Butera in the middle infield. Btw, is his defense really that good?
    1. stringer bell's Avatar
      stringer bell -
      The bullpen is still shaking out IMHO. I think the Twins want a third lefty in the 'pen and I think Robertson has pitched himself into contention. Ryan told me he liked what he saw a week ago when he faced Tampa. He has had one outing since and pitched two scoreless innings. I think Burnett is now on the outside looking in and that one bullpen spot will be going to someone who is not making the starting rotation. Right now I see Diamond and Swarzak DLed, Worley, Correia, Pelfrey, De Vrieze, and Deduno starting, with Walters, going to the bullpen. The rest of the bullpen: Perkins, Burton, Duensing, Robertson, Fien, and Pressley. That would necessitate making space for Walters and Deduno. Wood and Roenicke could both be outrighted, I guess.
    1. stringer bell's Avatar
      stringer bell -
      After sleeping on it, I have changed my bullpen projection. I think Roenicke makes the club at the expense of Fien. Roenicke is more suited to long relief and Fien has that option remaining. I like Fien and expect he will be back with the Twins before April is over, but without having a true long man it probably makes sense to keep Roenicke.
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