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  • Minnesota Twins Roster Projection 1.0

    On Sunday, Minnesota Twins pitchers and catchers reported to Hammond Stadium. On Monday morning, they held their first official practice of the 2014 season. Finally, after a long, cold offseason, we have actual baseball to talk about.

    Opening Day is still about six weeks away, but over the course of spring training, we will attempt to project the Opening Day Twins 25 man roster. Today will be version 1.0. Obviously a lot can happen over the next weeks, including injuries and acquisitions, so this list will change from week to week. As a player becomes a given (in my opinion), I will highlight them in red.



    Check out my projections, and then letís discuss. Be sure to add your projections too.

    Catchers (2): Kurt Suzuki, Eric Fryer

    Joe Mauer is now a first baseman. Ryan Doumit was traded. Kurt Suzuki was signed. Josmil Pinto had a nice September debut. So, how is this going to play out? Suzuki is going to be on the big league roster. Will he back up Josmil Pinto, or will he start? When Suzuki is named the primary catcher, will Ron Gardenhire be able to get Pinto enough playing time to justify a spot for him on the roster? To me, the competition is between Chris Herrmann and Eric Fryer for that backup spot right now.

    Infielders (5): Joe Mauer, Brian Dozier, Trevor Plouffe, Pedro Florimon, Eduardo Escobar

    The starting infield has not been in question all offseason, and that remains the situation as spring training begins. Mauer will be just fine at first base. Dozier will attempt to show that the changes he made in late May showed us what he really can do. Florimon showed that he is one of the gameís best defensively middle infielders. Itís a big year for Trevor Plouffe with the impending arrival of Miguel Sano. However, heís pretty safe for Opening Day. As for the utility infield spot, Escobar will likely compete with James Beresford, Doug Bernier and Jason Bartlett for the utility job. Since Escobar is by far the youngest of the group, and heís out of options, heís easily the favorite. The other guys will be competing for the 25th roster spot with several others.

    Outfielders (6): Josh Willingham, Alex Presley, Oswaldo Arcia, Darin Mastroianni, Jason Kubel, Chris Parmelee

    Things are much less certain in the outfield than they are in the infield. The only given is Josh Willingham, who will likely be the teamís left fielder. I think that the bat of Oswaldo Arcia puts him on the roster, and I think heíll primarily play in right field. Centerfield will be an interesting positional battle for the Twins in 2014 spring training. Aaron Hicks again has all the potential, but after his struggles in 2014ís regular season, what will he need to show the coaching staff this spring to begin the regular season with the Twins? Alex Presley came on and, although he has struggled in the big leagues with the Pirates, he has always shown good on-base skills in AAA. Darin Mastroianni was removed from the 40 man roster this offseason, but he has a shot to make the Opening Day roster. Finally, the Twins acquired Jason Kubel on a minor league contract. I want to put his name in red, but I figured Iíd wait just a little bit. He likely will be the primary DH and could spend some time in right field as well. Chris Parmelee, also out of options, could compete with some infielders, Chris Colabello and others for that final roster spot.

    Starting Pitchers (5): Kevin Correia, Ricky Nolasco, Phil Hughes, Mike Pelfrey, Scott Diamond

    The Twins went into free agency and were very aggressive. They signed both Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes before December. Mike Pelfrey was brought back in December. Those three will join Kevin Correia who was clearly the Twins most consistent, solid starting pitching throughout the 2013 season. That leaves one open spot. As we all know, Sam Deduno, Vance Worley and Scott Diamond are all out of options. I think that Diamond goes into spring training as the leading candidate of that group, especially if Deduno starts the season on the DL. The two that do not receive the 5th starter job will also have a chance to stick around in the bullpen. Kyle Gibson is also in the running for the job, though the fact that he has two option years remaining may actually hurt him. However, I believe he will make more starts for the Twins than the three that are out of options. Prospects Alex Meyer, Trevor May and Sean Gilmartin will all get a good look this spring, and Meyer (and possibly May) will likely make starts for the Twins throughout the season.

    Bullpen (7): Glen Perkins, Jared Burton, Brian Duensing, Casey Fien, Anthony Swarzak, Caleb Thielbar, Ryan Pressly

    The first five spots are set, pending injury or trade. Glen Perkins is the closer. Jared Burton, Casey Fien and Brian Duensing are the set-up men. Anthony Swarzak was terrific in long relief in 2014, so will he stay in that role or be given more high-leverage situations.

    Iím assuming that they will have seven bullpen arms. Based on 2013, Caleb Thielbar and Ryan Pressly should be givens as well. However, the fact that Scott Diamond, Sam Deduno and Vance Worley are out of options while Thielbar and Pressly have two options remaining means that at least for now, I canít change their font to red quite yet. Matt Guerrier may be in the equation as well, though it may completely depend upon his health. Michael Tonkin has a chance to be a solid big league reliever, but heís got two options and hasnít really had much success above AA, so he should start in Rochester.

    What are your thoughts? What does your roster look like?
    Comments 71 Comments
    1. twinsfan34's Avatar
      twinsfan34 -
      C: Pinto, Suzuki
      1B: Mauer
      2B: Dozier
      SS: Florimon, Bartlett
      3B: Plouffe, Escobar
      LF: Willingham, Kubel
      CF: Hicks, Presley
      RF: Arcia

      12 Pitchers

      If Sano is hitting like a madman...do they try to trade Plouffe? Escobar has the LH split thing going for him.

      How much better is Suzuki than Fryer/Herrmann?

      I don't think the Twins can trade Kubel right after signing him..or can they? What if both Willingham and Kubel hit well? Hard to justify either in the OF at this point.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Seth, you mentioned Aaron Hicks in the OF discussion, but didn't put him on your depth list of 6. Any significance or assumption to him not being on that list?

      What are the chances that a reliever or two are traded this spring to make room for one of the extra starters on the 25-man?

      2 spots aren't clear in your scenario- do the Twins go with a 3rd catcher, a Jamey Carroll-type additional utility guy (Bartlett), a 5th OF, or another bat for those last 2 spots?
    1. twinstalker's Avatar
      twinstalker -
      This is a depth the Twins haven't seen for quite a while. Unfortunately, it's very low-quality depth, but the first step is to have a choice, so that's progress. My biggest fears with this team are 1) Gardenhire has input into the decisions, 2) getting fooled by young hitters hitting in spring training, and 3) Chris Parmelee not getting a proper chance.

      I'm not suggesting Parmelee's anything, really, but I'm afraid this is the year where he would prove if he's a legit MLBer and the Twins won't give him a proper chance to show it. This is a lost year, and if the Twins have a player there, they need to keep/use him as an asset. The whole world knows who Jason Kubel is, and that is...a minor league contract. Keeping Kubel cannot lead to anything positive for the Twins.
    1. stringer bell's Avatar
      stringer bell -
      Pretty close to my projection. I have Bartlett making the club as the 25th player over Parmelee. I also have two out-of-options starters in the bullpen over Pressly and Thielbar. The Twins probably need a RH or switch hitter for that last position, Parmelee would replace LH hitters Kubel, Mauer, or Arcia.
    1. PseudoSABR's Avatar
      PseudoSABR -
      So you're waiving Worley and Deduno? How do you see that playing out?
    1. SgtSchmidt11's Avatar
      SgtSchmidt11 -
      It honestly seems to me that the Twins are actually hoping a pitcher gets injured enough to be put of the 60 Day just to make things easier for them.
    1. Riverbrian's Avatar
      Riverbrian -
      Gotta echo Psuedo.

      Worley, Deduno and Diamond... I'm not comfortable with any of them being given up on.
    1. savvyspy's Avatar
      savvyspy -
      That looks like a 70 win roster to me. Pitching slightly better, horrendous lineup, bottom 10 in the league in defense. Yuck.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by Riverbrian View Post
      Gotta echo Psuedo.

      Worley, Deduno and Diamond... I'm not comfortable with any of them being given up on.
      The Twins were earnestly pursuing Garza, Arroyo and Yoon- presumably they were more comfortable than some of us in moving on with at least one of these names. They must still see the DL, a last-minute trade or sneaking someone through waivers as viable ploys.
    1. tobi0040's Avatar
      tobi0040 -
      My guess is Diamond is the 5th starter, Worley is in the pen, and Deduno magically needs some rehab (DL). Boy one additional signing like Drew or Cruz could make the lineup bearable. I know Sano is up soon and that will be exciting. But we have some big holes at SS, C, 3B for awhile, and a question mark in CF.
    1. ppearson50's Avatar
      ppearson50 -
      Quote Originally Posted by tobi0040 View Post
      My guess is Diamond is the 5th starter, Worley is in the pen, and Deduno magically needs some rehab (DL). Boy one additional signing like Drew or Cruz could make the lineup bearable. I know Sano is up soon and that will be exciting. But we have some big holes at SS, C, 3B for awhile, and a question mark in CF.
      I would love for us to sign Ervin Santana at the same contract Ubaldo just got - 4 and 48 million. Its better to have too much pitching then to suffer through another rotation full of pitchers with 5 ERAs.
      If we signed Santana, we would still be under $100 million in payroll and we could trade someone like Correia or Gibson for some competition at shortstop for Florimon.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by tobi0040 View Post
      My guess is Diamond is the 5th starter, Worley is in the pen, and Deduno magically needs some rehab (DL). Boy one additional signing like Drew or Cruz could make the lineup bearable. I know Sano is up soon and that will be exciting. But we have some big holes at SS, C, 3B for awhile, and a question mark in CF.
      Unless Hicks gets called up and absolutely siezes the job in CF, there's still a big hole there, too.
    1. stringer bell's Avatar
      stringer bell -
      Quote Originally Posted by savvyspy View Post
      That looks like a 70 win roster to me. Pitching slightly better, horrendous lineup, bottom 10 in the league in defense. Yuck.
      It is "yuck" going north, but by midseason, I expect Pinto and Sano to supplant the veterans at catcher and 3B respectively. I also believe we'll see Hicks by Memorial Day. Add in a September recall for Buxton and the table is set for a much improved lineup going forward. Meyer and Gibson probably will get their promotions sometime this season, as well. I'm not terribly optimistic about the present, but the near future looks really, really exciting.
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      I think the Twins actively shop Duensing and Swarzak to create room with the #5 rotation spot logjam. I think this because I assume they would be easier to move than Diamond/Worley/Deduno.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post
      Seth, you mentioned Aaron Hicks in the OF discussion, but didn't put him on your depth list of 6. Any significance or assumption to him not being on that list?

      What are the chances that a reliever or two are traded this spring to make room for one of the extra starters on the 25-man?

      2 spots aren't clear in your scenario- do the Twins go with a 3rd catcher, a Jamey Carroll-type additional utility guy (Bartlett), a 5th OF, or another bat for those last 2 spots?
      This is a roster projection as opposed to a depth chart. So, the 25 names mentioned are the 25 who I think will be on the MLB roster on opening day. Obviously the degree of confidence is more or less for some players than others. I think that answers the questions that you have.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by PseudoSABR View Post
      So you're waiving Worley and Deduno? How do you see that playing out?

      I don't know... In reality, based on the projection, the answer is yes, but my confidence level in that isn't very high. As has been mentioned, Thielbar and Pressly have options... it'll be interesting.
    1. thetank's Avatar
      thetank -
      Quote Originally Posted by savvyspy View Post
      That looks like a 70 win roster to me. Pitching slightly better, horrendous lineup, bottom 10 in the league in defense. Yuck.
      If it takes Sano and Bruxton a few years to be productive there may be a couple of years more of 90 losses.
    1. ppearson50's Avatar
      ppearson50 -
      I thought it was interesting that Gardy has already talked about carrying 13 pitchers and already is saying Florimon is his shortstop.
    1. jmlease1's Avatar
      jmlease1 -
      I would currently bet on Deduno being the 5th starter with Gibson starting out in AAA because he has options left and so he can pitch consistently every 5th day. I'm thinking Diamond beats out Pressly for the last bullpen spot so they don't lose him for nothing (which actually might work well for his career).

      I think Hicks will beat out Mastroianni, but I don't know if he'll get the start. I do see Willingham playing a lot more DH than LF this season, but he'll probably be the Opening Day starter there. Parmelee might get the DH slot, but I agree Kubel probably has the edge.

      This might be the first time in several years where I don't object to the Twins carrying 12 pitchers.

      I want Pinto to be on the opening day roster, but I'm betting Gardy will want someone who "can really pick it back there" or something equally silly. That said, Pinto isn't going to hit like he did in Sept, but his bat should be a real asset at catcher and this offense needs it.
    1. TheLeviathan's Avatar
      TheLeviathan -
      Boy, when you put it on paper like that - I'm pretty sure I'd take the under on 70. Man I hope Sano is ready from the start.
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