• "Opening Day is One Week Away" Roster Projections

    It's hard to believe, but after a long 2011 season and a very long offseason, Opening Day is just one week away for the Twins and the rest of baseball (except the A's and Mariners, I guess.). I have been doing these weekly roster projections for for weeks, and it's a lot of fun. As much as we like to think our roster projections a month out look pretty solid, it's impossible to know. No one could have predicted that Chris Parmelee would perform so well. And who knew with the bullpen.

    Think about this. I posted a roster projection last Friday, and by Sunday, the Twins helped clarify things and my projection was already outdated. With one week to go, a few more spots on the roster have appeared to be solidified, but there are still question marks. Obviously injury concerns with Scott Baker and Kyle Waldrop have affected things, and we continue to keep the family of Jason Marquis in our thoughts as they remain with their daughter who was in a bicycle accident just over a week ago.

    There are still roster moves to be made. Some have really impressed this spring, and it will be interesting to see how it plays out. As a side note, the full-season minor league seasons actually start the day before the major league opener. Keep tuned to Twins Daily. When we get any official information on the major league and then the minor league rosters, this will be a great place to find that information and discuss it.

    (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

    I have had JR Towles as the third catcher, and I have had Drew Butera retaining his spot. This week, I am going to project that the Twins will go with just two catchers. I don't know how comfortable Ron Gardenhire will be with that arrangement, and frankly, despite the fact that I don't like the idea of a third catcher, I do like the idea of Ryan Doumit getting a lot of at bats, and without a third catcher, I don't think that he will get as many.

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

    Clearly the stories here have been Justin Morneau playing solely first base over the past 2-3 weeks and the play of Chris Parmelee. I'm not convinced that Parmelee is really ready or that it is best for his development to be on the big league roster. Thats a major reason, although not the only one, that I don't necessarily think that it is best for the Twins to have him in the big leagues. I made the argument earlier in the week that Luke Hughes could start at 2B with Casilla being a utility player. I don't think that would happen, but I would like to see Hughes get some time. Carroll has started hitting a little bit of late, but there are no concerns with him. The final bench spot does appear to be between Dinkelman, Burroughs, Butera and JR Towles. Dinkelman has had a very good camp and could be making the Twins brass consider him as a viable LH Pinch hitter option. Dinkelman or Burroughs would need to be added to the 40 man roster. Although Gardenhire did say a couple of weeks ago that Brian Dozier would start the season in Rochester (which is good), he remains in camp and continues to impress.

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

    No change, in terms of who will likely be in the outfield, but plenty of change in the alignment. On Sunday, Gardenhire announced that Josh Willingham was moving back to Left Field and (no surprise) Denard Span will start in center field. He also said that Ben Revere will be the 4th outfielder. That means that Right Field will be manned by Trevor Plouffe, Ryan Doumit and Chris Parmelee, as well as by Revere.

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

    The top three spots appear set, and Baker and Marquis are the other two starters. However, it is still unclear whether Baker will need to start the season on the Disabled List or whether Marquis could be put on the bereavement list to start the season. In my opinion, at least one of those scenarios are pretty likely to happen, and that's why I have added Liam Hendriks to the starting rotation. I can't quite put him in red because it's possible Baker and Marquis will be ready for opening day. Although Baker and Marquis are both on the roster (and should be red), I put them in green to note that is where the question mark in the rotation lies.

    Bullpen: Matt Capps, Glen Perkins, Brian Duensing, Anthony Swarzak, Jared Burton, Matt Maloney, Jeff Gray,Kyle Waldrop,

    It's fairly clear that the Twins have set six spots in their bullpen at this point with Burton and Maloney grabbing hold of two more spots. Kyle Waldrop was certainly the favorite for that last spot and may be in red now if not for some inflammation in his elbow. He will likely begin the season on the DL. So, the final roster spot is up for grabs between Jeff Gray, Alex Burnett and Casey Fien. At this point, it come down to what makes sense. Burnett has been there the past two years, but he has really struggled in camp (and the last two seasons). Fien has pitched just fine, but he hasn't been put into early situations in the game, against big league hitters, so although his numbers look terrific and he's pitched well, it just doesn't seem that he's likely (although he is still there). Gray was a name that I mentioned last week as a guy not to forget. He didn't get many opportunities in "A" games the first couple of weeks of camp, but he's on the 40 man roster and he's out of options, so I hoped he would at least get a shot. He's pitched a couple of times and done pretty well. He's had quite a bit of (unimpressive) big league time, but I think he's the guy who gets that spot out of spring training.

    What are your thoughts? Discuss what your roster looks like? The season is getting close, and I'm getting excited! I hope everyone else is too!

    This article was originally published in blog: "Opening Day is One Week Away" Roster Projections started by Seth Stohs
    Comments 32 Comments
    1. Gernzy's Avatar
      Gernzy -
      Wow, this is exactly what I think the roster will be. Biggest questions is if Baker and Marquis are going to be starting right away.
    1. luckylager's Avatar
      luckylager -
      Can't argue with what you have projected, Seth. I can still imagine Gardy going with three catchers (if so, hopefully Towles as #3), probably at the expense of Burroughs. I am excited for the season to begin. If the starting pitching is decent, it should be a good year.
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      That's about right.. Still think that it might be Hollimon over Burroughs. Looks like Baker will be placed on the DL retroactive to 3/27. He will pitch a minor league game tomorrow so it will not count for DL placement
    1. roger's Avatar
      roger -
      Seth, I see that the New Britain roster was announced last night (online at the New Britain Herald). Several surprises of who is, and isn't, on the roster. Biggest surprises to me were that Oliveros, Perdomo and French are all on the pitching staff. Also a bit of a surprise that Mastroianni is in New Britain...listed as a second baseman. They only have three outfielders, however, so expect Mastroianni will see some time in the outfield. D. J. Romero is back as their third baseman.
    1. sorney's Avatar
      sorney -
      Holy irrational fear of losing a catcher for the day. I don't get Gardy's obsession. If Mauer gets injured in a game where Doumit is DH'ing, you lose what, 2 at bats max where a pitcher has to bat?!?! Who cares!! Call up someone from AAA the next day if needed. The idea of carrying an inferior bat (Drew) just in the off chance they need the pitcher to bat (whom probably can hit better than Butera anyway) is just plain dumb.
    1. Hater's Avatar
      Hater -
      Let's be clear here - Seth is a total Twins fan... BUT... He loves the minor leaguers. Kyle Waldrop was a favorite to make the team? Please dude, you have been raving about his ground ball rate since 2009. The guy is cannon fodder. Can we also get over Luke Hughes playing second base? Yeah, I'm sure he will play there which sucks, with an UZR of -100 but be realistic. The guy has shown nothing (until now hitting 50abs) that makes him a starter. He can't field any postion! It's like saying Eddie Rosario will be our starting second baseman of the future because the Twins are going to try them out there.
    1. woolhouse's Avatar
      woolhouse -
      I would say that the biggest advantage to having a third catcher is it gives flexibility to get Doumit in the lineup more often. I would rather see Doumit getting extra at-bats then Burroughs. Luke Hughes can play third, Casilla (and, in a pinch, Plouffe) can play short, and it seems everyone can fill in at third. I'm for the extra catcher... or, I should say, I'm for Towles as the third catcher. A bat off the bench with some hope for some pop.
    1. zenser's Avatar
      zenser -
      I agree with sorney. If the twins lose their DH for a few innings is it that big of a deal to move Mauer to catcher for Doumit for a few innings. Its not like they are going to miss the offense. I am sure one of the pitchers could hit a weak grounder to second just as good as Butera could.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by roger View Post
      Seth, I see that the New Britain roster was announced last night (online at the New Britain Herald). Several surprises of who is, and isn't, on the roster. Biggest surprises to me were that Oliveros, Perdomo and French are all on the pitching staff. Also a bit of a surprise that Mastroianni is in New Britain...listed as a second baseman. They only have three outfielders, however, so expect Mastroianni will see some time in the outfield. D. J. Romero is back as their third baseman.
      Roger, I have all of the minor league rosters as they sit today... I haven't posted them yet because they are subject to change for a couple more days. But you're right, there are several surprises on that roster... but for me, there are biggers surprises at the lower levels, and a TON of players staying for extended spring training.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Kyle Waldrop was a favorite to make the team? Please dude, you have been raving about his ground ball rate since 2009. The guy is cannon fodder.
      Pretty sure I'm not the only one who was saying that he was the favorite for that final spot within the last week, up until his elbow issue.

      Here's a story that was just published by Phil Mackey, with lots of quotes: http://www.1500espn.com/sportswire/E...th_Twins033012
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Agreed, a pitcher hitting one or two tomes is mo worse than butera hitting. Really dumb to keep him on the roster for that tiny chance of a problem.
    1. Hater's Avatar
      Hater -
      Unfortunately for Waldrop, he had done enough this spring -- and over his last two years in the minor leagues -- to earn a spot on the 25-man roster heading into the season opener - thats the quote I see from Phil Mackey. It's not referenced where he got that assumption. Even though Alex Burnett has sucked all i've heard is they want him for the 7th spot even before Waldrop got hurt. Waldrop stats from 2010/2011 back it up? AAA ball 2011 79IP 84H! Only 43Ks! Laughable! AND despite being a ground ball pitcher he gave up 7 jacks in AAA ball. But he has earned it... NOPE!
    1. whydidnt's Avatar
      whydidnt -
      If the Twins plan on Morneau at DH most days, it really minimizes the need for a third C. If Doumit is in RF or Mauer at 1B, they can move to C without issue, eliminating Gardy's phobia of having a pitcher hit.
    1. mattsaari's Avatar
      mattsaari -
      So who's the backup shortstop? The starting 2B? What sense does it make to have 6 1Bs and 1 SS? Burroughs spot should go to someone who can play short. Unless they are comfortable with Luke and Trevor being the backups there.
    1. lee_the_twins_fan's Avatar
      lee_the_twins_fan -
      I find it ironic that the Twins have four players listed as 2B who are batting .361 or higher in spring training (including one with only 5 ab), but only one of those (Hughes) is expected to make the roster.
    1. luckylager's Avatar
      luckylager -
      Quote Originally Posted by lee_the_twins_fan View Post
      I find it ironic that the Twins have four players listed as 2B who are batting .361 or higher in spring training (including one with only 5 ab), but only one of those (Hughes) is expected to make the roster.
      Ironic? I don't think so. Contrary to popular belief, its not "All About the O".
    1. Mr. Ed's Avatar
      Mr. Ed -
      Quote Originally Posted by mattsaari View Post
      So who's the backup shortstop? The starting 2B? What sense does it make to have 6 1Bs and 1 SS? Burroughs spot should go to someone who can play short. Unless they are comfortable with Luke and Trevor being the backups there.
      TRyan says Casilla is having a MRI on his right knee, hoping it's not serious.

      Sounds like another multi-month DL trip for a guy who has never played 100 games in a season.
    1. John Bonnes's Avatar
      John Bonnes -
      Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Ed View Post
      TRyan says Casilla is having a MRI on his right knee, hoping it's not serious.

      Sounds like another multi-month DL trip for a guy who has never played 100 games in a season.
      I hope not too. I assume that would mean Dozier's ticket is punched, probably as the starter at second base, (or possibly at shortstop with Carroll moving to second.)
    1. MileHighTwinsFan's Avatar
      MileHighTwinsFan -
      So is it pretty much the case that Revere will be a late inning defensive replacement for Willingham, pinch runner, and backup to Span? Looks like they don't need or want him in right at all.
    1. luckylager's Avatar
      luckylager -
      According to LaVelleNeal3, Kyle Waldrop has been place of the 15 day disabled list.
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