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  https://twitter.com/...444002225364993   Rowson is 40 years old, has been both the hitting coach for the Cubs and the Yankees...
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Minnesota Twins Roster Projection 2.0

Three weeks ago, as spring training was starting, I posted my first roster projections. In it, I gave percentages for what I felt was likelihood of each player, 40 man roster players and non-roster invitees, making the Opening Day roster. The Minnesota Twins have now played more than a dozen spring games. There have been some injuries. Some players have done well while others have struggled. Of course, the final rosters won’t likely be known for another three weeks, [PRBREAK][/PRBREAK] ut it is fun to try to project that Opening Day roster and see how those projections change over the next three weeks.

Check out my projections, and let us know what you think.

Do you think any of the other players are givens? Which question marks do you think will make it? Go on record in the comments and see how your opinions change from week to week.

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: Joe Mauer, Ryan Doumit, Drew Butera

Clearly Joe Mauer and Ryan Doumit are givens to not just be on the roster, but to likely be very much in the middle of the lineup. They will likely alternate between catching and DH duties. So, the big question right now appears to be whether or not the Twins will keep Drew Butera as their third catcher or if they will go with just two catchers (who both start)? Will they be able to find an ‘emergency catcher’ to ease the manager’s concerns? If they were to make a move in the coming weeks for a bench bat, then I think that Butera starts the season in Rochester. However, until that happens, I’ll still assume Butera makes the roster.

Infielders: Justin Morneau, Brian Dozier, Trevor Plouffe, Pedro Florimon, Jamey Carroll, Eduardo Escobar

Attached Image: Eduardo Escobar.jpg We know that Justin Morneau and Trevor Plouffe will be the starters at the corners. We know that Jamey Carroll will be on the roster in some role, and that the Twins seem to prefer that be as a utility player that they know they can turn to at any time. To this point, Pedro Florimon (SS) and Brian Dozier (2B) have seemingly done what the Twins had hoped and are clearly the favorites up the middle. Defense does, and really should, matter with a pitching staff that will definitely allow contact, specifically ground ball contact. I would probably put the percent likelihood that Florimon and Dozier are on the roster at nearly 80%, maybe even a little higher, but I’m not quite willing to say they are locks. Likewise, I put the likelihood of Eduard Escobar being on the roster at close to 70% at this point because of his great glove. He was the emergency catcher of the White Sox a year ago, and the Twins would like to see him behind the plate in game situations this spring to make sure they are comfortable with that. If he proves able to do that sufficiently, that percentage goes up even more. Ray Olmedo might be the sleeper as a second utility infielder.

Outfielders: Josh Willingham, Aaron Hicks, Chris Parmelee, Darin Mastroianni

There are three givens to make the Twins roster in the outfield. Josh Willingham and Chris Parmelee will be the starters in the corners. Darin Mastroianni will be on the roster in some capacity. He was fighting for the starting centerfield job, but his hamstring injury has cost him a week of time to impress. Speaking of impressing, I think it is fair to say that Aaron Hicks has done just that. He has hit five home runs in the last three days. Sure, two of the three he hit on Thursday would not have been homers in most ballparks on most days, but he has been playing well. Frankly, he is the guy that the Twins had hoped would come to camp and earn the job with his play and with his composure. To this point, he has done just that. He has put up numbers and he has shown poise. Will he continue to show those traits over the next three weeks as he will begin to see more big league pitchers? Will the Twins send him to Rochester for a month to gain an extra year of team control? Joe Benson is the third guy in the battle for centerfield, and although he has shown good defense and hit a long home run, he has struggled to make consistent content. Again, there is still time to change this before the season, but right now, Benson’s hope to make the Opening Day roster would be if they go with just two catchers. Then, Benson would be competing with the likes of Chris Colabello, Brandon Boggs, Clete Thomas and Wilkin Ramirez for that spot.

Starting Pitchers: Kevin Correia, Vance Worley, Scott Diamond, Mike Pelfrey, Liam Hendriks, Cole De Vries (if Diamond starts season on DL)

It’s all about health. If Kevin Correia, Vance Worley and Mike Pelfrey remain healthy, they are givens. Scott Diamond will not pitch in a game for another ten days. Will that be soon enough to have him ready to start two weeks later? I think that’s a big question, though if he isn’t ready, he would be put on the Disabled List. Liam Hendriks seems to be the front runner for that final starting role, if Scott Diamond is ready. If he is not, there are two spots open. One would likely be Hendriks. The other appears to be up for grabs between Kyle Gibson and Cole De Vries. With three weeks to go before the season starts, De Vries likely is in the lead for that spot. That may be the best for Gibson’s long-term success. He can start in Rochester and gradually work innings. If he’s with the Twins, they will want him to be going 6-7 innings right from the start. In Rochester, they can just say, he’s going 4 innings in his first four starts, then go up to five innings for three or four starts. Then maybe a couple of six inning starts. Then a promotion by mid-May with 100 more innings before being shut down.

Bullpen: Glen Perkins, Jared Burton, Brian Duensing, Alex Burnett, Casey Fien, Josh Roenicke, Ryan Pressly, (Anthony Swarzak-DL?)

The first three spots are set. Glen Perkins is the closer. Jared Burton and Brian Duensing are the set-up men. After that, there is likely not a given. Anthony Swarzak is yet to pitch and could start the season on the Disabled List. He, along with Tim Wood and Josh Roenicke are out of options. Obviously as a Rule 5 selection, Ryan Pressly could be lost if not on the 25 man roster. Burnett didn’t have great peripherals in 2012, but he did get put up a good ERA, so he is closest to being a given despite struggling this spring. Fien was very good with the Twins once he was promoted and has been good this spring. Also remember that Burnett and Fien do have an option remaining. Could that factor in to the roster spots? I’m sure they would love to have another left-hander, but Tyler Robertson and Caleb Thielbar have struggled while Rafael Perez isn’t ready to pitch yet.

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

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