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Projecting the Twins 2020 Opening Day Roster 2.0

Posted by Ted Schwerzler , 10 February 2020 · 1,561 views

minnesota twins josh donaldson kenta maeda opening day
The last stab I took at this was on January 20th. There haven’t been many moves since then, but the ones that have been made are absolutely monumental. While I felt good about where that version of the Twins was, it’s undeniable they are much better off now. Putting out one final projection prior to Spring Training getting underway, here’s where I see things as of today.

Projection 1.0

Catchers (2) – Mitch Garver, Alex Avila

No change here. These two are locked in and ready to go. Garver will need to stave off some expected regression, but he’ll also be dealing with an expanded workload. If Willians Astudillo pushes his was onto the roster, I don’t see the playing time coming behind the plate.

Infield (5) – Miguel Sano, Luis Arraez, Jorge Polanco, Josh Donaldson. Ehire Adrianza

Another position group with no change. Donaldson punctuated the offseason when Minnesota signed him to the 4th biggest deal handed out this winter. This group will need to take a step forwards defensively, and I’m confident that they should be able to.

Outfield (5) – Eddie Rosario, Byron Buxton, Max Kepler, Marwin Gonzalez, Jake Cave

More status quo here. The final position spot comes down to Jake Cave or Willians Astudillo for me, and I don’t see the utility of Astudillo being a net positive. He’s below average everywhere, while Cave can handle the bat and play all three outfield positions. The infield is more stable this season, and although Marwin should spend most of his time in a corner outfield spot, he’s the utility guy you feel comfortable about moving around.

Designated Hitter (1) – Nelson Cruz

Yes, still here to hit bombas.

Rotation (5) – Jose Berrios, Jake Odorizzi, Kenta Maeda, Homer Bailey, Jhoulys Chacin

This is the group that has seen the most change. Chacin was signed to a minor league deal, and while 2019 was awful, he was great in 2018. If the Twins see signs of that at all during the spring, they’ll have picked up a very solid 5th starter. I like the long-term ability of Lewis Thorpe, and both Randy Dobnak and Devin Smeltzer have looked strong, but they all have options remaining. Now adding a bonafide stud in Kenta Maeda, this is a group that should be plenty capable of racing out to a second straight division title.

Bullpen (8) – Taylor Rogers. Trevor May, Sergio Romo, Tyler Duffey, Tyler Clippard, Zack Littell, Matt Wisler, Cody Stashak

This group stays the same as I had it in round one, but that was prior to Minnesota designating Brusdar Graterol a reliever. He absolutely would have been on the roster, but instead was used to swing the deal for Maeda. Coming off a 2019 that saw this group finish as the third best unit in baseball, they’ve added some very quality pieces to make another run at the top.

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  • howieramone2 and DannySD like this



I agree with your roster. Teams tend to give veterans first chance out of ST. Bailey and Chacin on shaky ground Dobnak, Thorpe, and Smeltzer will be given chance if don't perform. Not an Astudillo or Cave fan (or Wade), but Cave most likely out of ST with Rooker and Kirilloff waiting for opportunity.

    • mikelink45 likes this

With Chacin's deal being a minor league one, I tend to think that Dobnak is in the lead. They believed in him enough to pitch in the playoffs on the road against the Yankees. If Chacin looks untouchable every time out in the spring, maybe he or Smeltzer or Thorpe gets the nod. Otherwise, I think Dobnak is #5 to start the season.

    • mikelink45 and Aerodeliria like this
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Ted Schwerzler
Feb 10 2020 12:21 PM

 

With Chacin's deal being a minor league one, I tend to think that Dobnak is in the lead. They believed in him enough to pitch in the playoffs on the road against the Yankees. If Chacin looks untouchable every time out in the spring, maybe he or Smeltzer or Thorpe gets the nod. Otherwise, I think Dobnak is #5 to start the season.

It's a minor league deal so they don't need to immediately make a 40 man move. He'll be given every opportunity to make the 26 man opening day roster.

    • mikelink45 likes this

 

It's a minor league deal so they don't need to immediately make a 40 man move. He'll be given every opportunity to make the 26 man opening day roster.

 

 

It all depends on what the FO told him. If they said, "We'll have a spot for you. Don't worry, you won't be in the minors all year," then yeah, he'll be given every chance. If they said, "We can't promise anything because we're still trying to improve our roster. But we'll give you a fair shake and cut you loose early if it looks like you won't start the season with us," then the FO keeps an honest reputation and no harm if he's not the #5.

 

I don't know what they told him, but given that the Twins signed Chacin on Feb 2, and were involved in the Betts/Maeda/Graterol hoopla part one on Feb 4, it seems pretty likely to me (obviously just my opinion) that they would have let him know that they were not fully settled yet.

 

With that as my backdrop, I'm sticking with my original post/opinion: Dobnak ahead of Chacin and the rest. Adding to that opinion, if it looks like Chacin won't get the spot, they'll offer him a release in plenty of time to try to hook on with another team, much like what happened with Anibal Sanchez.

 

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Ted Schwerzler
Feb 10 2020 03:10 PM

 

 

It all depends on what the FO told him. If they said, "We'll have a spot for you. Don't worry, you won't be in the minors all year," then yeah, he'll be given every chance. If they said, "We can't promise anything because we're still trying to improve our roster. But we'll give you a fair shake and cut you loose early if it looks like you won't start the season with us," then the FO keeps an honest reputation and no harm if he's not the #5.

Typically these minor league deals have opt outs near or around Opening Day allowing for immediate clarity.

Not excited by Chacin, hope for a rookie break out, but most love it if Balazovic pushed his way up the ladder.I also have questions for Bailey.

 

I am not big on Gonzales as the fifth outfielder, but he will stay around - is this his last year with us?He was very valuable last year although his bat was replacement level.This year Donaldson reduces his value as Ehire takes the infield like you have shown.  

 

If Buxton is healthy do we need a fifth outfielder and if not I suspect that Cave will go to be replaced with?Maybe La Tortuga, although the fun is no longer the reason to keep him.  

 

Finally Matt Wisler?Not sold on him.Let's see what ST brings.

    • jud6312 likes this
Agree with your opening day roster as being the most practical one, even if it's not the best one, or short lived.

I only say not the best because there is a decent chance someone shines above Wisler or Chacin but that pair makes the initial roster if they flash at all.

Stating the obvious, the other guys have options and these 2 are make it or gone. Nothing wrong with that.
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Ted Schwerzler
Feb 10 2020 03:47 PM

 

Agree with your opening day roster as being the most practical one, even if it's not the best one, or short lived.

I only say not the best because there is a decent chance someone shines above Wisler or Chacin but that pair makes the initial roster if they flash at all.

Stating the obvious, the other guys have options and these 2 are make it or gone. Nothing wrong with that.

Right. This isn't necessarily what I would do, it's what I believe the Twins will do based on the information we have right now.

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stringer bell
Feb 10 2020 08:54 PM

I doubt Chacín spends a day ay Rochester. Either he makes the rotation or they cut him loose, much like a young player who is out of options. That situation means he likely has the inside track for what is slated as the fifth spot in the rotation. He will have to show that 2019 is an outlier and that he isn't finished. 

 

I will predict here that one of the last two guys last in the rotation even when Pineda and later Hill are added to the available starters. Things happen and injuries or ineffectiveness from the three guys slated to front this year's rotation.

 

As far as the last guy on the bench, I think it will be the versatile Astudillo over the redundant Cave and/or Wade. I expect that if one of Astudillo or Cave has a clearly superior spring, they will win the last spot, but I'll pick the Turtle.

I would like to see younger/better guys over Chacin and Wisler, but aside from that I like it.

 

Any Opening Day roster that has Astudillo in Rochester is a good Opening Day roster.