• 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 -
      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.
      Rivera:
      a. has the 5th best OPS from the remaining players in the Camp (.871); Towles' is .705 and Butera's .636
      b. has thrown several runners out at second, while last time Butera tried to throw a runner out, end up hitting Pavano's back
      c. when he catches Liriano, Liriano pitches better.

      In my mind, if they take 3 catchers North, Rivera earned the job.

      Also, Hollimon has the best Spring from everyone in Camp and he (1.246 OPS vs Burroughs' .713) should be rewarded for it. Burroughs is a nice story and he turned his life around but the guy with the hottest bat (and better defense - and he can play SS,3B,2B,OF) should get the job.

      I think Maloney now is pretty much a given unless he really screws up badly. Not sure for the others. Still plenty of time left and anyone of Manship, Waldrop, Burton and Fien can get the final 2 spots. And, again, I hope they take the hottest 2 arms up, regardless of whether they were drafted by the Twins or their daddy played for the Twins... Unless there is a miracle, I think that Burnett, Wise and Gray (and his 40-man spot) are gone to Rochester.
    1. lee_the_twins_fan's Avatar
      lee_the_twins_fan -
      I also vote for Hollimon. He's just hitting so hot, he deserves a shot. And he can apparently play 2B, SS, and 3B.

      I still think there's a chance – if Doumit doesn't hit well this spring that the twins would consider him their only backup to Mauer at CA, and would carry another bat north – probably Burroughs.

      As for RP: I'm comfortable with Burton, Maloney, Manship, or Waldrop in the final three. I think Waldrop might be left in Rochester, but right now, that's a guess.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      In my mind, if they take 3 catchers North, Rivera earned the job.
      Sure, but we all know 15-20 plate appearances in spring training is not the only piece of the equation. 40 man roster spots, other position needs.

      Also, Hollimon has the best Spring from everyone in Camp and he (1.246 OPS vs Burroughs' .713) should be rewarded for it.
      All depends on how much value you give to 20-25 plate appearances. Hollimon has given himself a chance and I'm not a big Burroughs backer, so I'd be fine with Hollimon. He's had a good two weeks. I hope when I project next week, Hollimon's still hitting and he's played some at SS and all the infield positions. But track record plays into this too. Don't get me wrong. I hope Hollimon keeps it up. I also know back-to-back 0-4s and his OPS drops to .892. Again, I personally prefer Hollimon just for power potential from the 25th man, but my projection is based on what I think will happen as opposed to what I would do.
    1. raykinsella's Avatar
      raykinsella -
      thrylos---all great points and reasons those players should make the opening day roster.
    1. Fanatic Jack's Avatar
      Fanatic Jack -
      Seth,

      Your love for Jeff Manship is really EMBARRASSING!!! Manship has options left and can be sent down. Just like Alex Burnett, Manship has been given every opportunity to be a full time reliever over the last two years and has fallen flat on his face. It's time for a change in the bullpen and Ryan knows this. Jared Burton makes the roster "Guaranteed."Before you comment on how I'm always wrong, I was right about Nishioka and Doyle. Two more guys you thought earlier in camp were the answer to this mess.
    1. Dave T's Avatar
      Dave T -
      Remember that Benson-to-Casilla-to-Mauer relay throw against the Yankees a couple weeks ago? Benson is The Man in CF. Willingham better start hitting, or he will end up making the club as the backup OF.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Manship has been given every opportunity to be a full time reliever over the last two years and has fallen flat on his face.
      Please explain, and please use Games Pitched and Innings Pitched in reliever situations ONLY to make your case.
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
      Sure, but we all know 15-20 plate appearances in spring training is not the only piece of the equation. 40 man roster spots, other position needs.
      Yes. But if they take 3 Catchers, since neither Butera or Rivera can play elsewhere, there is no advantage of Butera in any way. More than the ST appearances, Rivera is a better hitter than Butera (looking at their MiLB career numbers) and at least equal (I think he is better) defensively. Plus Liriano pitches better with Rivera catching him. Butera has a 40-man roster spot (unfortunately) which he can let go any day. Catchers like Butera are a dime a dozen
    1. Ultima Ratio's Avatar
      Ultima Ratio -
      Like last week, I really, really hope they don't take 3 Cs north, but send Hollimon and Burroughs along with Plouffe and Hughs. Hollimon has some power and speed, necessary for pinch running in the final bench spot. Though, if it is necessary -- and some day some one please provide a cogent argument -- to bring 3 catchers, then at this point I agree with Thrylos and bring Rivera up. We know what we get with butera, what's the harm in trying a different guy with no potential, again... if we must... <<<head shaking>>>...
    1. twinsfiend's Avatar
      twinsfiend -
      I haven't seen much about Doumit and his defense. Is he reasonable defensively? Can we do ok with him back there 3 days a week? I think Mauer will play 1 game a week at 1B, 1 game a week at DH, and 1 game off, so we need someone to play catcher those 3 days. That's 40% of the season! Plus 5 days a week we will have a catcher playing DH. Gardy hates worrying about losing the DH in a game even though it rarely happens. The other factor here is how much will Doumit play DH when he isn't catching? If he doesn't flourish there or someone else emerges in the DH role, then 2 catchers will certainly be fine.
    1. lee_the_twins_fan's Avatar
      lee_the_twins_fan -
      What I've read about Hollimon is that his injured arm, more than 2 years ago, was surgically repaired. While his arm wasn't good last year, he appears to have gained some strength in it – helping not only his throwing, but his hitting.

      It's time to take advantage of it.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Manship has been given every opportunity to be a full time reliever over the last two years and has fallen flat on his face.
      And, you can't use today's outing as any case for "over the last two years." Of course, he did throw a DP ball that Hollimon had an error on which may have meant a quick inning.
    1. Fanatic Jack's Avatar
      Fanatic Jack -
      Seth,

      See today's 6th inning for more on the great Jeff Manship. I give you credit your were right about Jared Burton.
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
      And, you can't use today's outing as any case for "over the last two years." Of course, he did throw a DP ball that Hollimon had an error on which may have meant a quick inning.
      That ball was smoked down the line... Hollimon did not even touch it. Even the Yankee announcers said that it should had been a base hit.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      See today's 6th inning for more on the great Jeff Manship.
      Like I said, Jack, you've got to give me more than just one outing in a spring in which he's been otherwise dominant... You've got to give me more than 3.2 innings in an-injury-filled 2011.
    1. Gernzy's Avatar
      Gernzy -
      Manship has had a solid spring until this point. He should make the team over Burnett for sure.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by Gernzy View Post
      Manship has had a solid spring until this point. He should make the team over Burnett for sure.
      If healthy, yes... but I think the question is Manship or Burton... Or at least it should be. Up until today's outing, it was a pretty even situation.
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
      If healthy, yes... but I think the question is Manship or Burton... Or at least it should be. Up until today's outing, it was a pretty even situation.
      I would not discount Fien either at this point. I think that Waldrop took a big step today gaining a spot, but still about a week left.
    1. ScottyB's Avatar
      ScottyB -
      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?
    1. ScottyB's Avatar
      ScottyB -
      Also found it interesting the Willingham played in left today!
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