Two weeks ago, I posted version 1.0 of the Roster Projections. As I sit in the Minneapolis airport, with just over an hour remaining before boarding, I thought version 2.0 would be good. I am excited to spend the next eight days in Ft. Myers and I definitely welcome and encourage people to send me questions or specifically any questions you would like me to ask players.
Not a lot has changed in the two weeks as far as my projections. There may, in fact, be even more question marks. At this point, I donít think any more players would be classified as a ďgiven.Ē So, check out my new roster projection and thoughts, and then fill the comments with your thoughts.
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 (2): Kurt Suzuki,
To this point, I donít think the catcher situation is any more clear. Suzuki still appears to be the favorite to start, and he will certainly make the Opening Day roster. Josmil Pinto is now playing and appears to be healthy, so heís back in the mix. With him being 25 already and the fact that a catcher is not going to play every day anyway, I could see a scenario in which he makes the team and catches two or three times a week and DHs once or twice as well. He certainly would, or at least could, be a solid bat off of the bench when he doesnít play. At this point, I still think it more likely that Eric Fryer or Chris Herrmann head north as the backup. Herrmann is left-handed and has versatility. Fryer is right-handed and has played a bit of outfield in the minor leagues as well.
Infielders (5): Joe Mauer, Brian Dozier, Trevor Plouffe, Pedro Florimon, Eduardo Escobar,
No change here. The question seems to be whether or not Florimon will be ready for Opening Day. If heís not, the question becomes what to do at shortstop and at utility infielder. We know that Escobar is out of options and is a given to make the roster. Would the Twins have him start if Florimon isnít ready? If so, would they add Jason Bartlett, Doug Bernier or James Beresford to the 40 man roster for a couple weeks to serve as the utility infielder? I think if we know that itís going to be a week or two that Florimon is out, the Twins would start the season with Danny Santana as their starting shortstop. He would know that no matter what, he would head down to Rochester when Florimon is ready to come off of the DL. He is on the 40 man roster, so that would be cleaner.
Outfielders (6): Josh Willingham, Alex Presley,
Oswaldo Arcia, Darin Mastroianni, Jason Kubel, Chris Parmelee
Iím not changing my outfield projection at this point. Willingham remains the only given. I would like to think that Arcia is a given, but I just donít know if that is true. I thought Jason Kubel was borderline given, based on him turning down an MLB deal with another team to sign a minor league deal with the Twins. However, as much as spring training numbers donít mean a thing, he has looked lost at the plate to this point. Obviously a lot can change. My sense is that the centerfield decision is not as much of a given as I initially thought. I believe that Presley is the leading candidate, but I think that Aaron Hicks is going to get a real opportunity to win the job again. Presley is a given in that he is out of options and he would slot into the 4th
outfielder job is he is not the starter. If Presley is the starter, Mastroianni likely remains the favorite to be the fourth outfielder although Wilkin Ramirez and Jermaine Mitchell are likely to stick in big league camp and be given plenty of opportunity to win a backup role. Chris Colabello would be a guy who would provide a lot of power from the right-side of the plate as you note that this is a left-handed heavy team. Chris Parmelee is out of options and is showing well in the early stages of big league camp. I think heís nearly a given as well, but could he win the starting right field job from Arcia (which would push Arcia back to Rochester)?
Starting Pitchers (5): Kevin Correia, Ricky Nolasco, Phil Hughes, Mike Pelfrey,
No change at the top of the starting pitching ranks. The top four will be in the rotation to start the season, unless they are not healthy. The fifth starter job is still as much in the air as ever. Worley has been solid. Diamond had a good showing and then struggled on Monday night, though he didnít get any defensive help. Deduno is working out of the bullpen to this point. He could be being eased back and monitored more closely after his shoulder surgery. Kyle Gibson has been good in his appearances. His wife will be having their first child in the next week, but he will continue to make his spring starts. I think heís going to have to be a shut down pitcher to win a job, but I think he can be. Same thing with Alex Meyer, though based on his time missed a year ago, I think the odds are even less for him.
Bullpen (7): Glen Perkins, Jared Burton, Brian Duensing, Casey Fien, Anthony Swarzak
, Caleb Thielbar, Sam Deduno
I believe that, barring injury or trade, the first five remain givens. The question becomes how the guys who are out of options affect the bullpen. As you can see, I now have Sam Deduno taking Ryan Presslyís spot in the bullpen. He could pitch in long relief and Swarzak could be given some more high-leverage situations. I think that Caleb Thielbar will earn, or has earned, a job as well, but since he has two options remaining, he could be squeezed. I think that with all of the left-handers on the 40 man roster (plus Gilmartin and others), Diamond could be a trade candidate if the Twins can find a taker.
What are your thoughts? What does your roster look like?