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Buxton: "Pissed" at Twins for No Call-Up Decision...

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According to the Star Tribune, Byron Buxton is displeased with the Twins after not being called up in September of 2018. According to Byr...
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Where does the talent come from

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 05:07 PM
So I did back of the napkin math only here but looked at three recent WS teams to see how they constructed their teams. I only added up t...
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Jonathan Schoop or Ian Kinsler?

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Did the Twins make a mistake jumping the gun on the Schoop signing?   Ian Kinsler just signed with San Diego for 2 years $8M total....
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Article: Official Rule 5 Draft Day Thread

Twins Minor League Talk Today, 04:31 PM
The Winter Meetings in Las Vegas have been fairly quiet against in 2018. Certainly there are meetings, but there haven't been a lot of si...
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Article: Rundown: Cruz, Cahill, Soria and Ramos

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 04:31 PM
FanCred's Jon Heyman reported Monday that the Twins were in the mix for Nelson Cruz. New Twins beat writer for MLB.com Do-Hyoung Park con...
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2018 Minnesota Twins Roster Projection (2.0)

It’s been about 10 days since I posted my first 2018 Minnesota Twins Roster Projection of spring training. It’s time to update it. We’ve got more data points, and yesterday the team made its first roster transactions by sending six players down to minor league camp. We’ve had more quotes from manager Paul Molitor and occasional quotes from the front office. While there won’t be - and frankly shouldn’t be - a lot of change between the first roster projection and the Opening Day roster, we can try to read between the lines to try to figure out those final roster spots.
Image courtesy of Jasen Vinlove, USA Today
Here is my updated attempt at projecting the Twins Opening Day roster for 2018… I encourage you to read my thoughts, develop your own and then post your thoughts and projections in the comments below.

Questions still up in the air:
  • Will the Twins sign any of the remaining free agents, starting pitcher or other, before Opening Day?
  • Will the Twins go with a four-man rotation or a five-man rotation to start the season? Of course, this likely means the difference between a 12-man pitching staff and a 13-man pitching staff. Of course, that means the difference between four bench bats and just three bench bats.
THE HITTERS (13)

Catchers (2): Jason Castro, Mitch Garver
Next in Line: Bobby Wilson

Jason Castro will be the primary catcher. He will likely catch 110-120 games, so the question will be who can start behind the plate in the other 40-50 games.

You may also have noticed that I’ve gone so far as to say that Mitch Garver is a given. To this point, the front office has not provided Mitch Garver with any real competition for the #2 catcher spot. As you know, I believe that is the right decision. If there would be an injury to either Castro or Garver before Opening Day, MLB-veteran Bobby Wilson is the catcher in-house that would likely take the backup catcher spot. Depending on the type of injury and the expected length of time for return, Jonathan Lucroy remains a free agent.

Infielders (7): Joe Mauer, Brian Dozier, Jorge Polanco, Eduardo Escobar, Logan Morrison, Ehire Adrianza, Erick Aybar, Miguel Sano (DL or suspended)
Next in line: Nick Gordon

Mauer at first. Dozier at second. Polanco at shortstop. Morrison at DH. That stuff we know.

We also know that Miguel Sano will be the primary third baseman when he is able to play. He’s already been playing third base in spring games, so it would appear that he may not be a DL candidate at the start of the season. That leaves the MLB investigation as the question mark out there. If Sano is suspended, Eduardo Escobar takes over as the starting third baseman. Ehire Adrianza would move up to the primary utility infielder role, and I still believe that Erick Aybar would be the favorite to take a second utility role. But again, depends on how many bench bats the team has.

Again, this leaves Kennys Vargas off the roster, especially due to his redundancy with Mauer and Morrison. He is out of options, so it will be interesting to see how the Vargas situation plays out.

While guys like Gregorio Petit and Taylor Featherston will head to Rochester and hope for an opportunity in-season if needed. But if a middle infielder gets hurt, Nick Gordon just might be the guy to get an opportunity.

Outfielders (4): Eddie Rosario, Byron Buxton, Max Kepler, Robbie Grossman
Next in line: Zack Granite, LaMonte Wade

They’re going to be part of a “Nothing falls but raindrops” bobblehead series. The starting outfield remains intact from last year. Rosario had a bit of a breakout season in 2017. Byron Buxton was tremendous in the second half and won not only the Gold Glove but the Platinum Glove as well in 2017. Kepler had a similar 2017 as he had in 2016, and we’re all hoping that he’ll take a step forward in 2018. The defense is strong.

With the additions of Morrison and Aybar, the fourth outfield spot is now up for grabs. Robbie Grossman and Zack Granite are the two options, so there may be a bit of a competition. Right now, I’m projecting Grossman mostly because he’s out of options and Granite has two options remaining. While Granite has been able to hit left-handers pretty well in his pro career, Grossman has traditionally been quite good against southpaws.

That would make Granite the first in line to come up if there is an injury as his defense is elite, and he can play all three outfield positions real well. LaMonte Wade isn’t yet on the 40-man roster, but he can make an impression when people see him in person. Ryan LaMarre has made a strong impression in his first couple of weeks of games for the Twins, even showing some power.

POSSIBLE LINEUPS

Here are some potential lineups for when Miguel Sano returns to the roster.

Primary lineup versus RHP: Joe Mauer 1B, Brian Dozier 2B, Jorge Polanco SS, Miguel Sano 3B, Logan Morrison DH, Eddie Rosario LF, Byron Buxton CF, Max Kepler RF, Jason Castro C.

Versus LHP: Joe Mauer 1B, Brian Dozier 2B, Jorge Polanco SS, Miguel Sano 3B, Logan Morrison DH, Byron Buxton CF, Eddie Rosario LF, Mitch Garver C, Max Kepler/Robbie Grossman RF.

THE PITCHERS (12)

Starting Pitchers (5): Ervin Santana (DL), Jose Berrios, Jake Odorizzi, Kyle Gibson, Adalberto Mejia, Phil Hughes
Next in line: Aaron Slegers, Stephen Gonsalves, Zack Littell

Ervin Santana is out of his cast, and reports from Ft. Myers indicate he remains on pace to be ready to pitch again in late April or early May. Jose Berrios, Jake Odorizzi and Kyle Gibson are givens to make the Opening Day roster. Frankly after that, there are a lot of questions.

Will the Twins add another starter? Should they? Obviously recent reports regarding Lance Lynn indicate that the team is willing to add another starter, on the right terms.

Jose Berrios appears ready to take another step forward in 2018. The acquisition of Jake Odorizzi was a very nice move for the Twins. And hopefully whatever clicked for Kyle Gibson the last two months last season remains with him through the 2018 season.

And then there is the fourth starter spot, and maybe even the fifth starter spot. And maybe that fifth starter will be a long reliever until he is needed for a start. There are a couple of veterans who will be considered. Phil Hughes likely is the front-runner for another shot if he is healthy and has some velocity. Anibal Sanchez’s non-guaranteed contract likely means that he is gone if the Twins don’t have him on the Opening Day roster.

In terms of youth, Adalberto Mejia is the likely favorite with Aaron Slegers behind him, though they could flip-flop depending upon opportunity over the next couple of weeks.

Next in line will be the young guys. Adalberto Mejia and Aaron Slegers could both wind up in AAA to start the season. Also there will be Stephen Gonsalves who will be ready at some point this season, even as early as June. Fernando Romero is certainly one to watch as well. He’s got dominant stuff and no doubt Paul Molitor would love to see him in his bullpen. I have to think that the powers-that-be see enough bullpen depth that they will continue to push Romero’s path to starting. However, if he starts for half of a season, he could be a strong bullpen addition in the second half. Zack Littell and Felix Jorge were optionedon Wednesday, but we could see both of them in 2018.

Bullpen (7): Fernando Rodney, Addison Reed, Trevor Hildenberger, Ryan Pressly, Zack Duke, Taylor Rogers, Tyler Duffey
Next in line: Alan Busenitz, John Curtiss, Jake Reed. Gabriel Moya

New to the team are veterans Fernando Rodney, Addison Reed and Zack Duke. They will all make the team if healthy. Taylor Rogers and Trevor Hildenberger are also going to be on the roster. Out of options, Ryan Pressly is also going to make the team.

And then a lot of talent and a lot of questions. I think Tyler Duffey’s ability and history as a starter in the minor leagues makes him the favorite for the long-reliever role, though his fastball/curveball combination could eventually make him valuable in later innings too.

Of course, as long as Tyler Kinley remains on the roster and in the organization, he’s got to be a favorite to make the roster. Right now, it appears that 98 mph fastball is what keeps teams intrigued, but will he be able to contribute to a winning team in 2018? Could the Twins work out a deal with Miami to keep him? Will be an interesting couple of weeks.

Meanwhile Alan Busenitz, based on his late-season performance really deserves a legitimate chance to make the Opening Day roster. John Curtiss has some of the best stuff in the organization. Jake Reed gets great movement on his fastball and slider too. And Gabriel Moya will pitch a long time in the big leagues as a strong left-hander. We are likely to see all four of them in a Twins uniform in 2018.


What are your thoughts? What does your Opening Day roster look like?

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37 Comments

Its really crazy to see just how few slots there are available.
Catchers: Solid.
Infield: Solid.
Outfield: Solid.
Rotation: Not going to get a Top Line guy, but, still pretty solid (especially once Erv comes back). Good depth with Gonsalves, Littell, Romero, Slegers, Enns, etc.
Bullpen: Solid with quality depth. Guys like Busenitz, Moya, Kinley, Curtiss, and Reed on the outside looking in right now?! If Pressley proves to be ineffective it looks like there are no less than 3 guys waiting to take his place and contribute. Two of which have already had a taste of the Bigs; one of which has had some success (Busenitz). You could also maybe add in Romero toward the end of the season due to innings limits as I think he pitches around 150 this year.

All in all, this seems to be a solidly built roster. There's a little wiggle room for those 24th and 25th spots, but, at this point its merely semantics if you ask me. Obviously, success in 2018 depends on the Buxton's, Rosario's, Sano's, Polanco's, Kepler's, and Berrios' of the world continued development. But as always, this is the time of year for projection and excitement! Go Twins!
    • Twins33, brvama, mikelink45 and 3 others like this

If the choice is Adrianza and Aybar or Adrianza and Vargas as the last two bench pieces, I'll take Vargas. With Mauer and Morrison both in essentially full time roles, having an extra bat on the bench makes more sense to me than a 2nd utility player. 

 

I'd probably feel the same way if Escobar was the primary utility and the choice was Adrianza or Vargas -- give me the bat.

    • BJames and NewClearHarley like this
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Homer Hanky
Mar 07 2018 10:44 PM

Why not take a flyer on Luuuuuucroy! 

 

Great Cather insurance... right handed bat, and GREAT character guy on the bench to lead the way.... 

    • Pitz, Dr. Evil, BJames and 1 other like this
Four man rotation out the gate: Berrios, Odor, Gibber, Mejia
With Hughes as long man/spot starter makes five.
Bullpen: Rodney, Reed, Duke, Pressley, Rogers, Hildy, and Kinney is seven, makes 12 total pitchers.
Position players: two catchers, Mauer, Morrison, Dozier, Polanco, Sano, Rosario, Buxton, Kepler, Adrianza, Grossy, Escobar makes 13 hitters for 25 total.
This leaves Vargas in limbo and Duffey stretching out in AAA. My first cut is Grossy when Big Erv returns. Using Adrianza as they did at the end of last season, platooning with Kepler.

I don't understand the intrigue with Gabriel Moya. Funky style, yes. Effective? Meh. 

 

Phil Hughes had a good career, time to hang 'em up...unless he can find that missing 4 mph he dropped between the couch cushions. It's there beside the hundred dollar bill. 

    • adorduan and Dave The Dastardly like this
I’ve been impressed with Ryan LeMarre. Can someone bring some vital statistics about this guy, please? Age, other teams he’s been with, good “d” or good “bat?” Right or left handed. Thanks, Seth should know this info backwards and forwards.
I love that there are actually pitchers who I WANT to see on the opening day roster that there won’t be room for and not because they are being blocked by reclamation projects!!! I have no doubt that we will see Busenitz, Curtis, Moya, and Reed all at some point this season as long as they stay healthy.

The 4th outfielder I’d love to swing Granit’s way. I really hate the defensive fall off when Grossman is out there, but I’m pretty sure that having those options will let Grossman keep the job for the time being.

As for the infield and Aybar, I’d rather see someone else land that roster spot and call up Gordon if there is a need to fill a hole, I’m not a fan of three utility guys on the 25 man roster even if one of them is playing third base every day for a little while, especially since I don’t believe Aybar is on the 40 man, although Vargas’s 40 man spot is probably soon to be open since I doubt he’ll clear waivers and will not make the Twins opening day roster without an injury.
    • mikelink45 likes this
Still do not like Pressly. Do like the hitters we finished last year with, no Aybar or Vargas. Probably will be Grossman though I prefer Granite. We shall see.
    • mikelink45 likes this
The Twins badly need a 5th starter, and a temporary 4th. I could see them jettisoning Mejia to the minors, not keeping Sanchez, putting Hughes in as a temp 4th, and opening the seson with Duffey so they can keep Kinley in the bullpen and make the decision when Santana returns for a larger pitching staff vs. shorter bench.

I also wonder about catcher...would Garver be best ssrved catching on a regular basis with the rotation of the future for a portion of the season at Rochester, being the first to be called up. Thus, Wilson or someone else as backup.

Want to assume that at least two 40-man spots will open up, one from Vargas, the other possibly Sanchez. So the Twins will have at least one "musical chairs" spot. Of course, Aybar makes it if Sano is disabled, and then the Twins need to settle on two of the three guys on the roster for infielder/bench bat come Santana's return.

Would still like to see the Twins add one of the Big Three starter free agents. But time is running out for season prep.

The only way I see Aybar on the opening day roster is if Sano is suspended for a lot longer than 10 days AND they want two utility players.Otherwise, Adrianza clearly is a better option as #2 utility player.

 

Expect to see Busenitz start the year in Rochester along with Curtiss, Reed and Moya.Also think that Kinley will begin the season there after the Twins trade Vargas to the Marlins for him (does Kinley have to clear waivers prior to doing a trade?).Not certain where Duffey fits in all this.Does he have options?  

 

Still see Hughes as the #4 starter on opening day, sliding to #5 when Erv is back.That puts Mejia into the Rochester rotation with Slegers, Gonsalves and Romero.Gonna be one fine pitching staff for the Red Wings this spring.

 

Assuming Sanchez is released and Vargas is traded, that opens two 40-man spots.Could they shock the you know what out of us and sign a starter sometime during the next week or two?Is one of those big three about ready to accept a short-term deal?After all, ten million bucks beats the hell out of sitting on the couch and watching games next month.At least it would to me.   

The Twins badly need a 5th starter, and a temporary 4th. I could see them jettisoning Mejia to the minors, not keeping Sanchez, putting Hughes in as a temp 4th, and opening the seson with Duffey so they can keep Kinley in the bullpen and make the decision when Santana returns for a larger pitching staff vs. shorter bench.

I also wonder about catcher...would Garver be best ssrved catching on a regular basis with the rotation of the future for a portion of the season at Rochester, being the first to be called up. Thus, Wilson or someone else as backup.

Want to assume that at least two 40-man spots will open up, one from Vargas, the other possibly Sanchez. So the Twins will have at least one "musical chairs" spot. Of course, Aybar makes it if Sano is disabled, and then the Twins need to settle on two of the three guys on the roster for infielder/bench bat come Santana's return.

Would still like to see the Twins add one of the Big Three starter free agents. But time is running out for season prep.


Garver is 27 years old and has 863 PA's in the upper minors. I don't understand what's accomplished by sending him back to AAA. If he's not ready now, he never will be.
    • USAFChief, Twins33, Oxtung and 8 others like this

 

Garver is 27 years old and has 863 PA's in the upper minors. I don't understand what's accomplished by sending him back to AAA. If he's not ready now, he never will be.

This.

 

Also, I'm not so sure the Rochester staff is any more the "rotation of the future" than the Twins' staff is. Berrios, Gibson, Meija aren't likely to be going anywhere soon. Better, to me, to get him acclimated to catching at the big league level so he can be more of a help to the AAA guys when they do arrive. Not to mention, he obviously only will improve his hitting at the MLB level by getting ABs against big league pitching, at this point.

    • USAFChief, Twins33, KidBro and 2 others like this

 

Berrios, Gibson, Meija aren't likely to be going anywhere soon. 

 

If the Twins decide that Gibson is the hometown FA that they want to keep over Mauer or Dozier, I will be scratching my head.If he pitches well enough to even make that a discussion, then QO and nothing more.

    • Minny505 likes this

 

I don't understand the intrigue with Gabriel Moya. Funky style, yes. Effective? Meh. 

 

He needs more than 6 innings to prove if his game will be effective at the MLB level.MiLB numbers are quite dominate.He served up a couple "welcome to the bigs" jacks after getting called up straight from AA, but he was otherwise decent in a small sample.

 

I'll be a fan of his jitterbug style as long as it isn't Balk City.

    • bluechipper likes this

That Rochester bullpen is going to be tough.

    • bluechipper and BJames like this

Twins have to figure out what they need to do with Duffey.He had early success as a starter.Flopped in '16.He's a two-pitch pitcher.To me, he's ideal in that long relief role...pitch the 4th and 5th when a starter falters and hopefully don't see a hitter more than once.With Reed and Hildenberger already in late high-leverage spots, and with Curtiss (really like him), Busenitz, Reed coming along, I don't think we'll see Duffey in a lot of those late inning tight spots.

I’ve been impressed with Ryan LeMarre. Can someone bring some vital statistics about this guy, please? Age, other teams he’s been with, good “d” or good “bat?”
Right or left handed.
Thanks, Seth should know this info backwards and forwards.

He's 29. Throws left, bats right. Don't know anything about his defense except that he can supposedly play all three OF positions according to an article posted last night/this morning. Based on his minor league track record and his small sample size of MLB track record he's not a bat guy. Tinkers with his swing a lot but is trying not to do that anymore.

Here's an article about him: http://www.startribu...game/476193873/

If the Twins decide that Gibson is the hometown FA that they want to keep over Mauer or Dozier, I will be scratching my head. If he pitches well enough to even make that a discussion, then QO and nothing more.


Gibson is not a FA after this season. He still has another arbitration year remaining.

That said, the suggestion that he's not going anywhere just about ruined my day.
Ok, not really, but he's not very good, and I don't understand why everyone thinks he eventually will be.

Gibson is not a FA after this season. He still has another arbitration year remaining.
That said, the suggestion that he's not going anywhere just about ruined my day.
Ok, not really, but he's not very good, and I don't understand why everyone thinks he eventually will be.

If he's not any good this year he'll probably be gone and it'll be Gonsalves time for a full year. Does that help?
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ashburyjohn
Mar 08 2018 01:10 PM

Here's an article about him: http://www.startribu...game/476193873/

"Twins outfield prospect Ryan LaMarre tries to keep it simple in a complex game"

 

Prospect? He turns 30 after the season. :)

 

Picky picky picky. The headline writer should have said "Twins outfield hopeful Ryan LaMarre..."

"Twins outfield prospect Ryan LaMarre tries to keep it simple in a complex game"
 
Prospect? He turns 30 after the season. :)
 
Picky picky picky. The headline writer should have said "Twins outfield hopeful Ryan LaMarre..."

Yeah, that definitely would have made more sense.
Photo
puckstopper1
Mar 08 2018 05:54 PM

 

That Rochester bullpen is going to be tough.

 

Agreed, Bobs!And if Pressly struggles, Elvis better be leaving the building quickly in favor of one of those up and coming bullpen arms.

So why do we need both Escobar and Adrianza as backup infielders?Would it not make more sense to keep Vargas and send Adrianza through wavers? If Adrianza is welected we still would have Abar and Gordon at AAA.Will Adrianza get any playing time???He shouldn't unless someone gets hurt.I'd prefer Vargas on the Bench.  

I don't get the Aybar signing. He can't hit or field. I would prefer someone that can do one or both.

As for leadership.... They have no rookies, and few second year players. How many "veterans" do they still need?

I just hope if kinley is bad, or not trusted, they move on quickly.

It's a good roster. Not sure it is great, but it is good.
    • Twins33 and Oxtung like this

Hildenberger has about 1/3 of MLB experience under his belt and has been pretty sucky this Spring.Not sure that he is a lock...He has options.

Same with Grossman as far as suckiness goes.He does not have options, but has a non-guaranteed contract and the Twins can use part of that $2M elsewhere.


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