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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. gmarais66's Avatar
      gmarais66 -
      Quote Originally Posted by ppearson50 View Post
      I thought it was interesting that Gardy has already talked about carrying 13 pitchers and already is saying Florimon is his shortstop.
      I know most people are dismissing Bartlett as nothing more than a possible utility player, but I seriously think he'll end up being the starting shortstop... Florimon is a horrible hitter, at best, and I don't see him making any significant improvement in that area this year... I think it's a good bet that Bartlett can hit much better than .221/.281/.330....
    1. whosafraidofluigirussolo's Avatar
      whosafraidofluigirussolo -
      I was guessing that the depth in left-handed relievers and marginal starters they've been accumulating might play into an attempt to trade Diamond, Duensing or Thielbar to clear up the pitching situation a bit, with one of those guys traded and the other two in the bullpen. I'm hoping for Worley to take and run with the chance to win a rotation spot again.
    1. DAM DC Twins Fans's Avatar
      DAM DC Twins Fans -
      I agree with others--the ceiling for this roster is about 75 wins.

      I project that Chris Hermann (3rd C, 5th OF) takes one of your OF spots. I hope its Mastro or Pressley because they are basically 4th OF not starting CF. I hope the Twins give Parmalee a real shot this year--playing most games--some at RF some at DH. Play Arcia every day. If that means benching Willingham, so be it. I would also give some time in RF to Plouffe in anticipation of Sano arriving in May. That probably means Kubel doesn't make the team.

      As to pitching--realizing this is all guesswork at this point--I pick Worley to have a comeback year and take the 5th starter role--with Diamond going to the pen to replace Theilbar.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by ppearson50 View Post
      I thought it was interesting that Gardy has already talked about carrying 13 pitchers and already is saying Florimon is his shortstop.
      Not sure why the latter is surprising to so many. He was the starter all last season. He's one of the best defensive shortstops in baseball (a pretty important position). And, they didn't bring in any competition. so, why would Florimon not be the starter??
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      I agreed that this is a 70-75 win roster at this time... and I think most have been saying that this is a transition year from the stop-gaps to the prospects. By July, the roster could be 40% different.
    1. ppearson50's Avatar
      ppearson50 -
      I guess I am still holding out a little hope they sign Drew. But I seriously doubt it will happen. I like Florimon but I just don't ever seeing him hit much more than last year.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by ppearson50 View Post
      I guess I am still holding out a little hope they sign Drew. But I seriously doubt it will happen. I like Florimon but I just don't ever seeing him hit much more than last year.
      I don't either (and that doesn't bother me terribly much, especially if the rest of the linup is improved)... but until they sign Drew or some competition, I don't know what else Gardy is supposed to say.

      Bartlett hasn't played since like May of 2012 at all, so I don't know that he would be able to beat him out... I would think some Rochester time would be good to shake off some cobwebs. And, based on his play the last couple of years he did play, not sure I'd expect a whole lot more.
    1. Monkeypaws's Avatar
      Monkeypaws -
      I'd prefer Hicks in some capacity over the rest of the backups in the OF.

      Also, hoping Worley makes good and grabs the 5 spot.

      I wouldn't have a problem giving Pinto a little time in AAA.
    1. stringer bell's Avatar
      stringer bell -
      jmlease1--to borrow a phrase. If Hicks ain't starting, he ain't departin' (north to Minnesota). It would be foolish to the max to take a guy coming off a disappointing year and deposit him on the bench. I think the sentiment is similar with Pinto. Both guys have much less than a half season at AAA and might benefit from some more minor league seasoning.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      Kurt Suzuki, Chris Herrmann
      Joe Mauer, Chris Parmelee
      Brian Dozier, Eduardo Escobar
      Pedro Florimon, Eduardo Escobar
      Trevor Plouffe, Eduardo Escobar
      (8)
      Josh Willingham, Aaron Hicks, Oswaldo Arcia, Alex Presley, Jason Kubel, Chris Herrmann
      (5)

      Kevin Correia, Ricky Nolasco, Phil Hughes, Mike Pelfrey, Scott Diamond, (Deduno DL somehow)

      Vance Worley (LR), Anthony Swarzak (MR), Caleb Thiebar, Michael Tonkin, Brian Duensing, Casey Fien, Glen Perkins

      (12)

      Fryer can't be. Please! Herrmann is a lefty so he has the advantage. Also, a roster with Suzuki, Fryer, and Herrmann (although I think Herrmann can be a .650+ OPS backup at 3 spots) makes for a bad bench (likely precluding either Kubel or Parmelee). Parmelee being able to play LF would be very important for him. He has to know this. A starting OF of Presley-Hicks-Arcia with Willingham DHing, and a bench of Kubel, Parmelee, Herrmann/Suzuki, and Escobar isn't bad. It isn't good, but at least the defensive liability of having Willingham and Arcia out there is reduced.

      Mastro, Colabello, Bartlett, and Beresford are good fill-in options in AAA. Pinto can force his way up with Sano, injecting life into the lineup.

      With the 5th spot in the rotation in doubt right now, I think seeing Gibson-Meyer-May at the top of the Rochester rotation (this time, the Twins can be smart about a prospect's AAA innings and limit Meyer there) would be good. Deduno would be my choice for the 5th spot, but barring any other injury, maybe they find one for him to see what can be done about Diamond/Worley. Worley makes more sense initially coming out of the bullpen.

      Ryan Pressley gets sent to Rochester to work as a starter. Darnell and Gilmartin can be starters 5 and 6 there.

      With that, the bullpen seems pretty clear-cut.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      And in September, it could/maybe should be:

      Pinto, Herrmann, Suzuki
      Mauer, Plouffe
      Dozier, Santana
      Florimon, Santana
      Sano, Plouffe

      (9)

      Hicks, Buxton, Arcia, Herrmann, Plouffe, Kubel

      (4)

      Nolasco, Hughes, Gibson, Meyer, May

      Diamond/Worley/Pressly, Ibarra, Watts, Achter, Thielbar, Tonkin, Perkins

      (12)

      Obviously I hope for a number of trades involving Willingham, Correia, Swarzak, Fien, Duensing, and perhaps even Escobar. And expecting Mike Pelfrey to Blackburn it up.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      And who knows about Rosario in LF or RF by that time too . . .
    1. big dog's Avatar
      big dog -
      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.
      Personally, I think the only thing signing Cruz does is slow the improvement of our young players. I would hate for him to take ABs and field improvement away from Arcia or even from Parmalee. Drew's a different story, if people have given up on Florimon (I haven't, but I respect the right of others to do so).
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      With Seth's projections the only righthanded bench options look to be Darin Mastroianni, Eduardo Escobar and Eric Fryer. I don't think that seems like a smart move. I think Pinto makes the team due to the lack of any reasonable RH bench bats.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      Quote Originally Posted by nicksaviking View Post
      With Seth's projections the only righthanded bench options look to be Darin Mastroianni, Eduardo Escobar and Eric Fryer. I don't think that seems like a smart move. I think Pinto makes the team due to the lack of any reasonable RH bench bats.
      With Sano in June, Plouffe becomes one. That's really the only hope there. Plouffe and Kubel makes for a good RH/LH combo.

      Colabello could be an option until then.
    1. blindeke's Avatar
      blindeke -
      Quote Originally Posted by ppearson50 View Post
      I thought it was interesting that Gardy has already talked about carrying 13 pitchers and already is saying Florimon is his shortstop.
      Gardy is so frustrating. WHY Gard WHY???
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      I am not clear on why this is a 70-win team. It already looks to be better than that given the significantly improved rotation and Mauer replacing Morneau plus Arcia developing better. Those are givens. Hicks, the 5th starter, any sort of bounceback from Willingham and Kubel, and any progress from Plouffe, Parmelee, and Florimon added into that and this would seem to be a mid-upper 70-win team.
    1. Wookiee of the Year's Avatar
      Wookiee of the Year -
      I'm with Shane Wahl on Ryan Pressly--I thought I heard the Twins had interest in stretching him out into a starter. My guess is he doesn't make the team, and I'd lean toward Deduno getting his bullpen spot.

      Suggestions that Deduno will start the year on the DL seem like wishful thinking to me.
    1. Kwak's Avatar
      Kwak -
      The Twins didn't extend Gardenhire to not let him manage his way and incorporate his ideas. He will begin with 13 pitchers (and with the full blessing of Ryan!) because that's his way (Ryan's too!). Lots of options--just not very good options--but that's another thread. There will be 3 catchers (and don't include Mauer as one!)--because that's the way they (he) do things.
      Instead of a huge competition for pitchers and jobs--there will be a mock competition. We already know four starters, a fifth? I'm guessing it will be a lot like 2004--four locks and a rotation of others for the fifth (spot) starts. That make keeping 13 pitchers appear to be a useful if not necessary. Leopards don't lose their spots, zebras their stripes, and the Twins Their Way of Doing Things. If change was desired--we would have seen it in the managerial positions. There wasn't any change there and we shouldn't expect any change in team philosophy. This season is "back to the veterans": the four locks in the rotation, the ex-Twins, and a sprinkling of veterans from other teams. The youth--stays in the minors. Until when you ask? Next year is my guess.
    1. TheLeviathan's Avatar
      TheLeviathan -
      Quote Originally Posted by Shane Wahl View Post
      I am not clear on why this is a 70-win team. It already looks to be better than that given the significantly improved rotation and Mauer replacing Morneau plus Arcia developing better. Those are givens. Hicks, the 5th starter, any sort of bounceback from Willingham and Kubel, and any progress from Plouffe, Parmelee, and Florimon added into that and this would seem to be a mid-upper 70-win team.
      im im very high on Arcia long term but this year is not a given to be better. Sophomore slumps are not uncommon even for great players. This could be a tough adjustment year leading to great things later.

      While Mauer may improve on Morneau....Suzuki doesn't replace Mauer. That may be a net loss.

      70 wins is a 9 win improvement from their pyth last year. To me that's significant improvement and a far more reasonable projection.
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