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Twins Opening Day Roster Projection 2.0

Posted by Ted Schwerzler , 11 March 2019 · 1,740 views

minnesota twins spring training opening day 25 man roster
It’s nearly the middle of March, and the Minnesota Twins are just 17 days away from their 2019 Opening Day game against the Cleveland Indians. Roughly one month ago I made my first roster projection for the season, and a handful of things have transpired since then. Heading down to Fort Myers to see the club in action this week, I figured now was a good time to come out with a revised edition.

Most notably, the club signed Marwin Gonzalez and Miguel Sano is destined to begin the season on the Injured List. That shuffles a few things for position players, but there’s a relative level of clarity there. It’s on the pitching side that things remain up in the air, and that will be worth monitoring down the stretch.

Here’s how I see things looking on March 28 given the information we have today.

Rotation (5): Jose Berrios, Kyle Gibson, Jake Odorizzi, Michael Pineda, Martin Perez
Changes: None


The rotation has all been locked in since the beginning of Spring Training. Martin Perez was inked as the 5th starter, and while the move has drawn plenty of ire (myself included), it appears the Twins are right thus far. Wes Johnson has the former Rangers prospect shoving near 97 mph, and he’s working with a different pitch mix that could unlock a new level of effectiveness. Minnesota targeted Anibal Sanchez as an outlier last year and witnessed him succeed in the Braves organization. Perez looks to be that guy in 2019, and everyone wants to see it come together here.

Bullpen (7): Trevor May, Blake Parker, Taylor Rogers, Trevor Hildenberger, Adalberto Mejia, Fernando Romero, Matt Magill
Changes: Addison Reed to IL


Addison Reed was signed to a two-year contract last winter, and he was coming off a 2.84 ERA. He’s been very good out of the pen for most of his career, and he’d pitched in high-leverage situations tallying 125 saves to his credit. Unfortunately, with Minnesota, he turned in a 4.50 ERA, 5.11 FIP, and the strikeout numbers sagged dramatically. He also lost another mph of velocity for the third year in a row, and the swinging strikes fell off a cliff. Despite the small sample, spring training hasn’t been kind to him either. I’m not sure if he’s still hurt from 2018, but the club could make a case to stash him and let him find a bit more success on a rehab stint.

Should the Twins decide that Reed is right, and he needs to come north, the decision then comes down to the trio of Matt Magill, Trevor Hildenberger, and Fernando Romero. Magill looks like he has plenty of supporters in the clubhouse and will make the roster. Hildenberger has options, but despite late season struggles, has been plenty reliable in the past. No matter how much talk there’s been about Romero, letting him have a couple weeks of working as a reliever in real game action at Triple-A could be good. If Minnesota needs to make a tough decision, I’d bet on it being a short trip to Rochester for Fernando.

Catchers (3): Jason Castro, Mitch Garver
Changes: Add Willians Astudillo


There’s somewhat of a domino effect caused by Miguel Sano needing to start the year on the IL. Marwin Gonzalez goes from super utility to primary third basemen, and that opens a bench spot. Astudillo isn’t the most ideal catcher, but he provides defensive flexibility with the ability to play all over the diamond. La Tortuga probably isn’t going to live up to his September hype, but he’ll be given the opportunity early.

Castro returns with a clean bill of health, and although he’ll be the presumed starter, a defensively revitalized Mitch Garver could challenge sooner rather than later. Castro is in the final year of his deal, and Garver assuming a more serious hold on the full-time role would be a great development for the Twins.

Infielders (5): C.J. Cron, Jonathan Schoop, Jorge Polanco, Ehire Adrianza, Marwin Gonzalez
Changes: Miguel Sano to IL, Lucas Duda released


Miguel Sano had as impressive of a winter as the Twins could’ve hoped, but it ended on an unlucky note with a gash to the back of his heel halting the start of his 2019 season. He’ll be ready in May, but we could end up waiting to see him until June. That development makes the addition of Marwin Gonzalez even more imperative.

The Astros used Marwin all over the place last year, and Minnesota will likely do the same as soon as they are able. Ehire Adrianza will be able to spell most of the infield positions, and Marwin will need to slot in primarily at third from the get-go. A platoon at first base doesn’t appear likely, meaning Tyler Austin needs to be dealt or passed through waivers (unlikely) before hitting Triple-A. Duda was a nice get for camp, but not making the team, he’ll look to latch on elsewhere.

Outfielders (5): Eddie Rosario, Byron Buxton, Max Kepler, Nelson Cruz, Jake Cave
Changes: None


No changes to the outfield, and that’s a serious positive for this group. Byron Buxton has been en fuego this spring, while the starting trio has remained healthy. Jake Cave is due for some regression from his impressive rookie season, but he’s more than a serviceable fourth regardless.

It took a while for Nelson Cruz to appear in game action this spring, but being the veteran he is, that was never cause for concern. He won’t play outfield aside from the remote possibility of appearing in interleague action. That said, the 38-year-old year old should launch plenty of longballs from the heart of Minnesota’s lineup this year.

If there is something to monitor here, it’s Michael Reed. Like Jake Cave before him, the front office tabbed Reed as a player with a potential for more. He was hurt to start the spring and has just begun getting into game action. Zack Granite was jettisoned off the 40 man before him, and the hope would be that he could be shipped to Triple-A. Without options though, Reed will need to clear waivers before being able to be removed off the 40 man.

For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow at @tlschwerz




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Joe A. Preusser
Mar 11 2019 01:48 PM
I predict Astudillo will not make the opening day roster. Most likely Duda or Austin.
    • DocBauer likes this
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ChrisKnutson
Mar 11 2019 03:24 PM
Regardless of whether Reed goes on the IL, or not, Romero should make the team.
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Ted Schwerzler
Mar 11 2019 03:48 PM

Regardless of whether Reed goes on the IL, or not, Romero should make the team.


Talent wise, sure. Roster wise, I don’t think it makes sense. If you’re committed to Magill, and they are, then why send out Hildy over Romero? Fernando can go to AAA for two weeks, work as a reliever, and you’ll need him by mid April.
    • DocBauer likes this
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diehardtwinsfan
Mar 11 2019 03:53 PM

Austin will be in ahead of someone... My guess Adrianza or Astrudillo.

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Ted Schwerzler
Mar 11 2019 04:29 PM

Austin will be in ahead of someone... My guess Adrianza or Astrudillo.


I’m not sure this is accurate. Marwin can play 1B as can Kepler. Austin is a better fit as a platoon option and he bats from the same side as Cron. If anything, Duda makes sense off the bench before Tyler. They’ll hope to trade him, but a terrible Lance Lynn is what it cost to acquire him.
    • LA VIkes Fan likes this
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MnTwinsTalk
Mar 11 2019 04:30 PM
I assume this would mean Tyler Austin is gone on a trade
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Ted Schwerzler
Mar 11 2019 04:32 PM

I assume this would mean Tyler Austin is gone on a trade


Ideally, yes. If not, he’ll be lost on waivers after being DFA’d.

Yep, this seems right, as it's exactly what my 25 man projection was, including having Reed on the DL. This seems like a good bet to how the roster will start the season.

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MMMordabito
Mar 12 2019 09:48 AM

Who does Tyler Austin hit 40 HRs for this year?

 

1) Gardy

2) Yost

3) Renteria

    • Dman likes this

 

Who does Tyler Austin hit 40 HRs for this year?

 

1) Gardy

2) Yost

3) Renteria

 Probably not 40 and you need to live with that 30 to 35% K rate.I think Rooker can do that if they need him too and if not at least he has options.Not sure I see room for Austin unless they go with fewer pitchers.

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LA VIkes Fan
Mar 12 2019 01:06 PM

Do you guys really think that Austin will get claimed if he's DFA'd at the last minute along with all of the other guys from other teams who finished 26th or 27th in the race for the 25 man roster? I really wonder. I agree though, he's not going to make this team. With Cron and Cruz, the inn is full for high SO guys with power and no ability to play anything other than 1B or DH. I know he's played OF in the past, but not this spring. Besides, Cron, Cruz, Cave, Adrianza and I would say Astudillo are all better than Austin, and the last three are all are a better fit for that 24th and 25th spot. All more versatile and all better right now.  

 

Austin had his chance to show us last year why the team couldn't risk losing him. He didn't. He had 244 ABs, 266 PAs, hit .230/.287.480 (.767), 103 OPS+, with 95 SOs (35.7%), and 19 BBs (7.1%). 17 HRs and 47 RBIs in half a season is good, but the OPS is very average and the rest of the numbers are in line with his career MLB averages. Meh. Dave Kingman esque if we're lucky.Lots of guys like him around unless you think he can be more. He's already 27.5 years old. I don't see it. 

 

Reed should pass through waivers. He's never been successful at theMLB level and he's already 26. 

 

My prediction: Twins try to trade Austin for an A ball guy with actual upside but aren't successful. Austin and Reed get DFA'd at the last minute and don't get claimed. Both wind up in Rochester and we can see if the staff found the secret and call them up later. If Austin gets claimed, no huge loss. 

    • snap4birds likes this