Ranking Minnesota’s Roster Depth By Position Group
Image courtesy of © Kim Klement-USA TODAY SportsAll depth chart information was taken from MLB.com and the team’s official depth chart. Some players are not listed on the official depth chart at this time due to suspension, injury or contract status. Those players have been added to the depth chart or included in the discussion.
11. Center Field
Depth Chart: Buxton, Kepler, Cave, Wade Jr.
Byron Buxton might not be ready for the season’s start and this could push Max Kepler from right field to center field where he filled in admirably last season. However, he has flaws as a defensive center fielder. If Buxton and Kepler were both hurt, someone like Jake Cave or LaMonte Wade Jr. would be forced to play up the middle and this would certainly not be ideal for the team.
Depth Chart: Polanco, Adrianza, Gordon
Jorge Polanco was the AL’s starting shortstop in the All-Star Game, but there were some struggles for him in the second half including a nearly 100-point drop in his OPS. Should Polanco go down with an injury, Ehire Adrianza has proven himself to be a strong defensive replacement even if he can’t be at the same offensive level as Polanco. Nick Gordon, a former top-5 pick, has started over 500 games at shortstop throughout his professional career, but he’s been getting more innings at second base in recent years.
9. Second Base
Depth Chart: Arraez, Adrianza, Gordon
Over his last three seasons, Luis Arraez has averaged 122 games played per seasons including with last year marking a career high 146 games played. as at shortstop, Adrianza would be a defensive upgrade and it would be interesting to see how the Twins would handle a long-term injury to Arraez. Would they consider moving Polanco to second and playing Adrianza at shortstop?
8. First Base
Depth Chart: Sano, Gonzalez, Astudillo
Sano has missed time in every big-league season, so there is a likelihood he’ll miss time again this year. Luckily for the Twins, Gonzalez and Astudillo could both fill in at first base when Sano is out of the line-up. Outside of the players on the team’s official depth chart, Adrianza logged over 118 innings at first base last season as well. His defensive skills are probably better utilized elsewhere, but he can fill in if there is a need.
7. Left Field
Depth Chart: Rosario, Cave, Wade Jr., Gonzalez
Minnesota has no shortage of corner outfield options, but the depth can get stretch if Buxton is not in center and Kepler is forced to take his spot. There is no guarantee Jake Cave and Lamonte Wade Jr. make the 26-man roster out of spring training, which would leave Marwin Gonzalez as one of the few on-roster options for the club. Adrianza made appearances at both corner outfield spots last season, but almost all his time was in right field.
6. Right Field
Depth Chart: Kepler, Cave, Wade Jr., Gonzalez
Like in left field, Cave and Wade Jr. are hardly guaranteed a roster spot to start the year. An injury to Kepler or Buxton, could mean Cave or Wade Jr. end up playing on a regular basis and this might not be a terrible transition for the club. Gonzalez provides some defensive flexibility, but he has played less time in right field than any other position, so it seems more likely for the team to use other outfield options.
5. Designated Hitter
Depth Chart: Cruz
Nelson Cruz was the team’s MVP last year, but he lost some time on the IL with a ruptured wrist tendon. Sano seems like an easy replacement for Cruz at DH, but then the options at first base become Gonzalez, Astudillo, or Adrianza. Would the club consider bringing up a prospect like Brent Rooker, Trevor Larnach or Alex Kirilloff to take over the DH role if Cruz were injured?
4. Third Base
Depth Chart: Donaldson, Adrianza, Gonzalez, Astudillo
Josh Donaldson certainly upgrades this group, but an injury to him and Adrianza or Gonzalez would take over regular playing time. Adrianza is in a contract year, so it seems likely that he’d like an opportunity to show he can be an everyday player. Gonzalez took over at third base last season when Sano was on the IL. While the Twins are committed to Sano at first base, the team could always plug him back in at third if Donaldson was going to miss an extended amount of time.
Depth Chart: Garver, Avila, Astudillo
Garver established himself as one of the best offensive catchers in baseball last season and he appeared in less than half of the team’s games. Avila and Astudillo add depth to the backstop department and these two could certainly fill in for Garver if he had to miss a considerable amount of time. Ryan Jeffers, the team’s top catching prospect, also played some time at Double-A last season. The team is high on him and the improvements he has made on both sides of the ball.
Depth Chart: Berrios, Odorizzi, Maeda, Bailey, Pineda (Restricted List), Hill (Injured List) Dobnak, Thorpe, Smeltzer, Poppen
Minnesota already has built in rotational depth with Michael Pineda (suspension) and Rich Hill (elbow surgery) scheduled to join the rotation in May and June or July, respectively. Another name not included on the Twins depth chart is Jhoulys Chacin who could have the inside route to the fifth starter spot, especially with Thorpe being away from spring training for two weeks for personal reasons.
Depth Chart: Rogers, May, Duffey, Romo, Clippard, Littell, Stashak, Romero, Wisler, Smeltzer, Thorpe, Dobnak
Think back to the middle of last season and it seemed like the Twins were struggling to find reliable late inning relief options. It seemed like the club trusted Taylor Rogers and the rest of the options were question marks. At last year’s trade deadline, the club traded for two relief pitchers, Sam Dyson and Sergio Romo, because the position group was viewed as having some holes. Now this group might be one of the game’s strongest bullpens. Romo was getting some closing opportunities last season and he might be a fifth or sixth inning option on the current roster. Veteran additions like Tyler Clippard and Matt Wisler provide even more depth. If players underperform or get injured, the Twins can turn to other options at Rochester.
How would you rank the position groups? Which one has the most depth? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
- nclahammer likes this