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  • Two-Weeks-To-Opening-Day Roster Projections

    The past two weeks, I have attempted to project the Twins Opening Day roster. This week, we’ll try it again. I still believe that there are 20 “Givens” at this point, two weeks before Opening Day. I also believe that the five remaining positions are all pretty intriguing and could have several possibilities at this point, especially since there are some injury questions with Scott Baker and Justin Morneau.

    There are still 39 players in Twins big league camp which means 14 players need to be sent back down before the season starts. The manager, coaching staff and front office has some tough decisions. Terry Ryan stressed competition in spring training, and he has received that! The 40 man roster is not an issue as the Zumaya injury and Terry Doyle's return to the White Sox allows some flexibility too.

    (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. Discuss my selections and be sure to post your roster projections in the Comments as well.)

    Catchers: Joe Mauer, Ryan Doumit, Drew Butera

    I switched from JR Towles back to Drew Butera. Frankly Butera hasn't done much, but JR Towles and Rene Rivera have not done anything to warrant being added to the 40 man roster to take the spot.

    Infielders: Justin Morneau, Alexi Casilla, Danny Valencia, Jamey Carroll, Luke Hughes, Sean Burroughs

    Last Friday, I was still assuming that Tsuyoshi Nishioka would make the roster. He was sent down on Monday. That leaves the final spot on the roster for Burroughs, Michael Hollimon, Pedro Florimon, and Brian Dinkelman (especially since Ron Gardenhire has indicated the Brian Dozier will start the season in Rochester). Right now I give a slight edge to Burroughs (who is also not on the 40 man roster) because he bats left handed and although he doesn't have any power, he puts together solid at bats. I am curious how much playing time Florimon and Hollimon get over the next week. Florimon definitely has the best glove and arm of the three, but the lesser bat. Hollimon struggled with the bat last year between New Britain and Rochester, but he did hit 18 home runs. I like his bat best of the three because of the power, but he'll have to show he can play enough defense for a role player.

    Outfielders: Ben Revere, Denard Span, Josh Willingham, Trevor Plouffe

    No change.

    Starting Pitchers: Carl Pavano, Francisco Liriano, Scott Baker, Nick Blackburn, Jason Marquis

    No changes. Baker threw two scoreless innings in a AAA game on Thursday, but if he needs to start the season on the DL, Liam Hendriks has stepped up as the guy who would make a start or two if needed.

    Bullpen: Matt Capps, Glen Perkins, Brian Duensing, Anthony Swarzak, Jeff Manship, Kyle Waldrop, Matt Maloney

    The first four are givens. Terry Doyle was sent back to the White Sox. I really believe that the final three spots are up for grabs between Manship, Waldrop, Maloney and Jared Burton. For some reason, I sense that Alex Burnett isn't completely out of the competition and if he pitches well over the next ten days, he could earn a spot again. I would also add that Jeff Gray is on the 40 man roster and out of options. I'm not certain why he has pitched so few innings in "A" games this spring, but I have to believe that because he's out of options, he'll at least be given some innings the next week or so. For this week's projections, I took Jared Burton out and put Jeff Manship back on. Maloney is pitching well and is out of options (is it fair, or unfair, to point out that he's having a very similar spring as Dusty Hughes had last year!). Manship and Waldrop have been pitching very well. They do have options remaining. Jared Burton has continued to be very good, but because he is on a minor league contract, he can be sent down.

    What are your thoughts? Discuss what your roster looks like?

    This article was originally published in blog: Two-Weeks-To-Opening-Day Roster Projections started by Seth Stohs
    Comments 34 Comments
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Quote Originally Posted by ScottyB View Post
      I found it interesting that at the end of the game Towles was put in at 3rd base. Could this possibly be an effort to add more flexibility to the bench? He did successfully make a play in the 9th. I think somebody somewhere wants this guy to make the team. With Doyle gone and Zumaya either on the 60 day or cut, this leaves 2 spots open on the 40-man. Room for Burroughs & Towles perhaps?
      That was a gameday error. I watched the game on YES and Towles replaced Butera at C. Hollimon replaced Burroughs at 3B for the duration of the game.
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      You can take Butera off the 40 man quite easily and replace him with Towles or Rivera. There's no reason to have a 3rd catcher to prevent a pitcher hitting when the 3rd catcher is actually worse than the average pitcher. I do think Parmalee is headed north, so I wouldn't be surprised if he gets the spot in place of a 3rd catcher.
    1. jorgenswest's Avatar
      jorgenswest -
      How can we discount Hollimon's record in the minors based on a handful of spring at bats that have no meaning? His career AAA slash line is 222/320/426. His AA slash line is 252/342/439. He has over 1600 plate appearances at those levels. His OPS in the independent league was .774 and the team OPS was .805. I don't see significant speed in his minors data. There is question about his ability to play SS. What would he possibly add to the bench? Florimon would add defense. Burroughs a left handed bat.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      How can we discount Hollimon's record in the minors based on a handful of spring at bats that have no meaning?
      We shouldn't! Like I've said, I like the story, and I"m no fan of Burroughs and Hollimon does have more power than him... Neither is graet defensively, and we are talking about the 25th man on the bench. You have to go with defense/speed (which could be Florimon) or power (which would be Hollimon)... but I think it most likely would be Burroughs because h'es probably the best overall hitter of the group.
    1. peterb18's Avatar
      peterb18 -
      You don't have to be a stat guy to determine if Manship should make the roster. Just watch him pitch! He should not be on the final roster, period.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by peterb18 View Post
      You don't have to be a stat guy to determine if Manship should make the roster. Just watch him pitch! He should not be on the final roster, period.
      I don't know what that means? Not tall enough? The slider isn't sharp enough? Too stocky? He's been dominant all spring. When healthy, he was a solid pitcher all the way up. He got the win in a pretty huge final weekend game two seasons ago for the Twins to send them to the playoffs. Not sure what you're saying here by "just watch him pitch." I have. A lot!
    1. Highabove's Avatar
      Highabove -
      Jarred Burton will make this ball club. He has been a solid and established setup man in the past. How many of the other candidates have that on their resume? The best pitchers will fill out the bullpen, regardless if they are on the 40 man roster or not.
    1. billymac's Avatar
      billymac -
      The Twins obviously need to break camp with three catchers until they see how durable Mauer will be this year and find out if they can live with Doumit's skills behind the dish. The question becomes who is the third catcher? There are no decent options and neither Butera nor Rivera provide any pop off the bench. It's okay to have a third catcher as long as they play SPARINGLY. Late innings defensive replacement and catch about one out of every 10 games would be acceptable.
    1. kirbyelway's Avatar
      kirbyelway -
      The 3rd catcher thing is ridiculous!!!! We have 2 catchers on the roster, so the 3rd should only be needed in an emergency. If we have an emergency use Willingham for a couple of innings and call someone up the next day. No need to carry the 3rd catcher with you up north. Problem solved!!!!!
    1. mnfireman's Avatar
      mnfireman -
      as Starter 1 1 .500 5.67 6 6 0 0 0 0 27.0 32 18 17 5 10 0 19 1 0 0 120 1.556 6.3 1.90
      as Reliever 2 1 .667 5.59 23 0 3 0 0 0 37.0 46 26 23 2 15 1 25 0 0 2 169 1.649 6.1 1.67
    1. mnfireman's Avatar
      mnfireman -
      Those are Manship's career starter/reliever splits. Obviously the columns shifted to the right, but you see he is the same pitcher in either role.
    1. jorgenswest's Avatar
      jorgenswest -
      As they build the bench, they need to look for a some plus skill that the player can contribute.

      Florimon (+ defense, speed?).
      Burroughs (left handed bat).
      Butera, Towles, Rivera (they can play C)
      Hollimon (don't see one. Based on career, he shouldn't be used to pinch hit or as a defensive sub)

      As for the bullpen. We need a mix of lefties and righties. We need a few with rubber arms that can pitch back to back days. We need a guy who can come in and get a strikeout. We need a couple guys that can pitch 2-3 innings. We need a guy who can give us a spot start.

      Where do Manship, Fien, Waldrop, Burnett or Burton fit in? What skills do they bring to the pen? What roles can they fill? Lets look at the skills.

      I hope the Twins are looking at skills as the build the roster. I hope the Twins are ignoring the spring statistics. It has no predictive value. None. Zero. The data is useless. Let's ignore it.
    1. Andrew Bryz-Gornia's Avatar
      Andrew Bryz-Gornia -
      Quote Originally Posted by jorgenswest View Post
      Hollimon (don't see one. Based on career, he shouldn't be used to pinch hit or as a defensive sub)
      Hollimon has some power and he walks quite a bit. Unfortunately, that's come with high strikeouts and low batting averages.
    1. Todd G's Avatar
      Todd G -
      Carrying a 3rd catcher on the roster is just a waste. It eats up a bench bat that would be used more often than the possibility of needing the 3rd catcher to prevent a pitcher from having to hit (which is a moot point since Butera, Towles and Rivera don't hit much better than a pitcher would anyway). Also Doumit's defense hasn't proven to be too much of a liability in the limited exposure hes had so far this spring. Just say no to Gardy's nooky-blankey third catcher crapola.
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