Projecting the Twins Opening Day Roster: Version 1.0
Image courtesy of © Raj Mehta-USA TODAY SportsCatchers (2): Mitch Garver, Alex Avila
Garver and Avila are locks for the Opening Day roster, but there are a few questions surrounding the Twins and their 2020 catchers. How much will the Twins rely on Garver behind the plate? Last season, he was very successful when rotating with Jason Castro. Minnesota could try and follow a similar routine with Avila and Garver this season. Another decision facing the Twins is whether to keep Willians Astudillo on the 26-man roster. There are benefits to carrying a third catcher, but I think the Twins have better options for their bench and Astudillo has a minor-league option remaining.
Infielders (5): Ehire Adrianza, Luis Arraez, Josh Donaldson, Jorge Polanco, Miguel Sano
Much like the catchers, the infielders are almost set in stone for Opening Day. Arraez, Donaldson, Polanco and Sano will all be in the line-up and Adrianza will come off the bench. Adrianza offers a solid defensive upgrade over the other middle infielders and it will be interesting to see if he is used as a defensive replacement more regularly. Nick Gordon and Travis Blankenhorn are on the 40-man roster but neither player should figure into the team’s roster unless there were multiple injuries this spring.
Outfielders (5): Byron Buxton, Jake Cave, Marwin Gonzalez, Max Kepler, Eddie Rosario
If all are healthy, the trio of Buxton, Kepler and Rosario should be getting most of the regular reps in the outfield. Cave has a minor-league option remaining, but he has proven himself as a big-league hitter and he and Astudillo will likely be fighting for the final roster spot. Gonzalez will be on the team in the Opening Day roster in some capacity and he is in a similar spot to last season. He entered spring without a starting role but ended up being a starter after Sano’s injury.
Designated Hitter (1): Nelson Cruz
There isn’t much to debate here. Cruz will be looking to build off a tremendous 2019 campaign where he was named the team’s MVP.
Rotation (5): Jose Berrios, Jake Odorizzi, Kenta Maeda, Homer Bailey, Jhoulys Chacin
With Michael Pineda and Rich Hill out to start the year, there had been some questions swirling around the back end of the starting rotation. Tuesday night's trade certainly changed the rotation's outlook. Maeda is an immediate upgrade and it gives some of the other younger pitchers an opportunity to prove themselves at Triple-A.
Minnesota signed Jhoulys Chacin to a minor league deal last week, but he can easily be added to the 40-man roster after Hill is added to the 60-day injured list.
I think the Twins are still high on Thorpe’s potential. He has put together some strong strikeout numbers throughout his professional career and it has taken some time for him to adjust to different levels. If Chacin can't find success, Thorpe could be the next man up.
Bullpen (8): Taylor Rogers, Trevor May, Tyler Duffey, Sergio Romo, Zack Littell, Tyler Clippard, Cody Stashak, Matt Wisler
One wildcard in the bullpen picture is Fernando Romero, who seemed like a lock for the bullpen last season. Jorge Alcala will both be in camp with the team, but his remaining minor-league options make it unlikely for him to come north with the club. Stashak looked good at the end of last season and he could take the place that had been earmarked for Graterol before he was traded. Wisler will need to look good enough throughout the spring to get a bullpen spot, otherwise the Twins could turn to one of the other names mentioned above.
Who do you think makes the team’s Opening Day roster? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
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