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Projecting the Twins Opening Day Roster: Version 1.0

The NFL season is over, and pitchers and catchers report next week, so it’s time to get excited about what the 2020 season could mean for the Minnesota Twins. Much of Minnesota’s roster is set for next year, but there are still some decisions to make including the addition of a 26th roster spot. Here’s a look at what the Twins’ 26-man Opening Day roster would look like if the season started today.
Image courtesy of © Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
Catchers (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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  • dbminn, nclahammer, ToddlerHarmon and 2 others like this

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Feeling better about the rotation, but not convinced the bullpen is good enough, or deep enough, to be an asset. 


The everyday lineup is tough, and very deep. And there's some depth on the bench. 

    • Sconnie likes this
Feb 04 2020 09:53 PM
Accurate and unlikely to shake out much different, noting as you did that Chacin and Wisler have to earn it.

A very comfy roster.
stringer bell
Feb 04 2020 09:57 PM

Well Chacín will now have to be better than Smeltzer, Dobnak and Thorpe. Now there will be a bullpen opening for either Stashak or Romero, or one of the non-roster left handers.

    • SwainZag and dbminn like this

Might see Smeltzer/Thorpe over Stashak/Wisler as the pen is pretty Righthanded


I see a $143.428M payroll to start the season (including Perez/Hill/Pineda)

Deeper starting staff.Solid bullpen that will be one of the A.L.'s best.A lineup that will score, score and SCORE.

    • Lasorda_This_Out likes this

Barring injury, the only real question marks are the 5th starter and 7th/8th bullpen spots (Stashak/Wisler).


I expect the last rotation spot to come down to a competition between Chacin/Thorpe/Dobnak. If Chacin is able to bounce back he makes the team, otherwise Thorpe/Dobnak battle it out.


I could also see Thorpe taking one of the last bullpen spots due to the lack of left-handed relief options. The other guy who could easily earn one of the last spots is Romero. His stuff is probably the best of the likely options, so if he looks good in Spring training he has a real shot at making the roster.

    • DocBauer likes this

Feeling better about the rotation, but not convinced the bullpen is good enough, or deep enough, to be an asset.

The everyday lineup is tough, and very deep. And there's some depth on the bench.

Bullpen was good last year. Will be better this year. Relax and enjoy.
    • JoshDungan1 and Lasorda_This_Out like this
Good to have competition for spots on the roster. You can NEVER have to many arms. Please don't make roster decisions because of minor league options. You earn the spot you get the shot.
    • SwainZag and blindeke like this
Alex Schieferdecker
Feb 05 2020 11:50 AM

Rooting for Thorpe to beat out Chacin in the rotation.

Feb 05 2020 01:18 PM

100% convinced that the bullpen is good enough, and deep enough, to be an asset.

Gosh, that’s all of a sudden a pretty dang good team.  If Buxton and Sano finally bring it for a whole year and the rotation puts on its best 2002 Angels (just enough pitching to stay out of the way of the hitting), we could really have something special here.


What am I saying???  I’ve probably just jinxed and ruined the season!!  Hahaha

I am really rooting for Mr. Romero to have found something over the offseason and take one of the last bullpen slots.

Won a lot of games last year, would say roster looks better than at this time last year. Bullpen vastly improved, have moved on from some of players that were there last year, Parker, Harper, Morin, Magill, Mejia no longer on team.

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