Roster Projections Part 1: Pitchers and Catchers
It has been 131 days since the Twins lost a 2-1 decision to the Toronto Blue Jays. It’s been a long offseason, and frankly, rehashing the same offseason transactions and rumors needs to stop. But today down in Ft. Myers, the Twins pitchers and catchers will report and soon after will start officially preparing for the 2013 season. They’ll throw in the bullpen. They’ll do a ton of PFPs (Pitcher’s Fielding Practice). They will also likely do a lot of running.
As I did a year ago, we’ll be taking a weekly look at the Twins roster and project who will make the Opening Day roster. Today, we’ll look at the 43 pitchers and catchers who will be reporting and I’ll post a percent likelihood that the player will be on the Twins Opening Day roster.
Let’s start with the guys behind the plate, the guys who will don the tools of ignorance. I often hear the question, “Why do the Twins need nine catchers at spring training?” Well, when you have 34 pitchers reporting to camp (plus a couple others who will be working out with the team before heading to their WBC teams), you need a lot of catchers for bullpens.
40 MAN ROSTER
Joe Mauer (100%), Ryan Doumit (100%), Drew Butera (95%), Chris Herrmann (15%), Josmil Pinto (0.5%)
Mauer and Doumit will likely split the catching and DH duties for most of the season. The backup catcher will be Butera, at least most of the season. Herrmann debuted with the Twins in mid-September. If he plays well in Rochester, I can see a scenario in which he takes over as the backup catcher before the end of the season. If Mauer or Doumit were to get hurt, Herrmann would likely get the call to the Twins and take that playing time.
Danny Lehmann (0.6%), Eric Fryer (0.4%), Dan Rohlfing (0.3%), Kyle Knudson (0.2%)
0% would mean that there is absolutely no scenario in which the player will be on the Opening Day roster. These guys could make it. They would just likely need every player ahead of them to get hurt. I’ve long been a big supporter of Danny Lehmann. He has earned the respect of pitchers he has caught since joining the organization in 2007. Rohlfing will be participating in his fourth big league camp. Fryer came over from the Pirates as a minor league free agent. Knudson is a Minnesota native getting his first glimpse of big league camp.
Of course, it is no secret that the Twins had one of the worst pitching staffs in baseball in 2012. The bullpen actually did fairly well which is probably more impressive because the starting staff often forced them to pitch a lot of innings. The starting staff was in the bottom three in MLB. The offseason brought the Twins some young power pitchers that likely won’t be with the team for some time. They have a lot of guys coming back from injury as well. They have a lot of question marks and there is little reason to believe that 2013 will be significantly better than 2012. But, spring training is all about hope and optimism. The Twins will need five or six starters to really step up this season and for the bullpen to be consistent and strong.
40 Man Roster
Scott Diamond (100%), Kevin Correia (100%), Vance Worley (100%), Mike Pelfrey (98%), Liam Hendriks (85%), Kyle Gibson (75%), Cole De Vries (51%), Trevor May (2.9%), Pedro Hernandez (2.4%), BJ Hermsen (0.8%)
Correia was signed for two years to be a starter, so he will be in the rotation. Scott Diamond was set to be the Twins Opening Day starter, although recently it was reported that he may not be ready for Opening Day. He had surgery to remove bone chips in his elbow in December. Liam Hendriks had the same surgery in October, and Vance Worley had it in August. Mike Pelfrey may or may not be ready for Opening Day after having Tommy John surgery last April. Kyle Gibson returned from his Tommy John surgery in the second half of last season and pitched well early in the Arizona Fall League. Cole De Vries’ 2012 season ended with broken ribs, but he should be at 100% as spring training begins. Like Worley, May came to the Twins in the Ben Revere deal and will have to improve his control in 2013 to get an opportunity. Hernandez came over in the Francisco Liriano trade after making his big league debut with the White Sox last summer. His season ended with a lat injury. Hermsen was the Twins minor league starting pitcher of the year and pitched very well in New Britain.
Sam Deduno (8.5%), PJ Walters (8.5%), Shairon Martis (1.0%), Alex Meyer (0.5%), Nick Blackburn (0.1%)
Deduno typically walked too many and didn’t strikeout enough, but he actually pitched well for the Twins in 2012. His percentage is as high as it is due to the chance he could be a back of the bullpen type. Likewise, Walters came up to the Twins in May and pitched well until he was hurt. Martis came to the Twins in a mid-season trade and pitched pretty horribly in AA and AAA. He is on The Netherlands’ WBC roster. Alex Meyer came over in the Denard Span trade. He hasn’t pitched above A-ball yet, so unless he is amazing, his odds of being on the Opening Day big league roster are very low. Blackburn certainly would not be at 0% if he weren’t hurt.
40 Man Roster
Glen Perkins (100%), Jared Burton (100%), Brian Duensing (100%), Alex Burnett (90%), Casey Fien (80%), Anthony Swarzak (75%), Josh Roenicke (75%), Tim Wood (75%), Tyler Robertson (49%), Ryan Pressly (35%), Caleb Thielbar (30%), Michael Tonkin (3.0%)
Perkins will be the closer, and likely a set-up man on the US WBC team. Burton came to the Twins a year ago as a non-roster invite last year and stayed healthy and made himself a reliable late-inning guy. Brian Duensing needs to stay in the bullpen. He’s terrific against left-handers and not-so-much terrific against right-handers. Alex Burnett has been in the bullpen for the Twins the past three seasons. He hasn’t struckout many, although late last season he did strikeout more. Casey Fien was also a minor league signee. When he got called up, he threw 95 and was very productive. Can he prove that it wasn’t a fluke? Anthony Swarzak is out of options, and his broken ribs should not affect his roster spot. The Twins claimed Roenicke from Colorado where he pitched well last year but like Burnett didn’t strike many out. Tim Wood was the International League’s top relief pitcher in 2012. The Twins signed him to a minor league deal then added him to the 40 man roster. Tyler Robertson had his ups and downs in his rookie season. If the Twins choose to have a third left-hander in their bullpen, Robertson may have the advantage over Minnesota native Caleb Thielbar who pitched well at three levels in 2012. Ryan Pressly is the team’s Rule 5 pick which means he’ll have to be on the Twins roster all of 2013 or offered back to the Red Sox. Michael Tonkin had a terrific season out of the bullpen for Beloit and Ft. Myers last year.
Esmerling Vasquez (8.0%), Luis Perdomo (6.0%), Anthony Slama (5.0%), Rich Harden (4.0%), Deolis Guerra (1.0%), Bryan Augenstein (0.2%), Lester Oliveros (0.0%)
Vasquez pitched well for the Red Wings last year as a reliever and as a starter and got a chance to start for the Twins late. Luis Perdomo had a very solid year at both AA and AAA, and then struggled late for the Twins. Is there a player that bloggers and blog commenters want to see get an opportunity more than Anthony Slama? Had he not broken his femur on a Miguel Tejada comebacker and missed nearly two months, he likely would have seen plenty of times with the Twins. Some think Harden should start. I personally think that Harden should pitch out of the bullpen and see if he can’t stay healthy for the full year. His opt-out isn’t until the end of July, so the Twins would be wise to work him in slowly considering his missed all of the 2012 season. Deolis Guerra is now out of options, and when the Twins placed him on waivers in November, he cleared. Hopefully he can be healthy and pitch well in Rochester and get another chance. Augenstein was a minor league free agent who signed with the Twins this offseason. He pitched briefly for the Diamondbacks in 2009 and for the Cardinals in 2011. Lester Oliveros had Tommy John surgery in September and may be on a similar recovery plan as Gibson was last year.
ROSTER PROJECTION #1 (2/12/13):
Catchers: Joe Mauer, Ryan Doumit, Drew Butera
Starting Pitchers: Scott Diamond, Kevin Correia, Vance Worley, Mike Pelfrey, Liam Hendriks, Kyle Gibson (Diamond and/or Pelfrey likely starting season on DL)
Relief Pitchers: Glen Perkins, Jared Burton, Brian Duensing, Alex Burnett, Casey Fien, Josh Roenicke, Tim Wood (Anthony Swarzak possibly on the DL?)
What are your thoughts or projections on the Twins Opening Day roster as Pitchers and Catchers report?