• Three-Weeks-To-Opening-Day Roster Projections

    Last week, we looked at a projected Twins Opening Day roster. This week, weíre trying it again. I think that there are 20 ďGivensĒ at this point, three weeks before Opening Day. Of course you can disagree, if you like. I also believe that the five remaining positions are all pretty intriguing and could have several possibilities at this point.

    There are still 57 players in Twins big league camp. If there are 20 Ďgivens,í it technically means that there are still 37 players in camp competing for the remaining five spots. Of course, we know that isnít really true. Most likely there are two or three players competing for a possible third catcher job. There are maybe two or three players competing for the final utility spot. And there are maybe five to seven pitchers competing for the final three bullpen spots. That means there are nine to thirteen players competing for five roster spots. The remaining players are working to make a strong impression on the coaching staff and front office in case there are needs later in the season for call-ups.

    (The players in Red are players that I believe are givens to make the roster (obviously pending injury). Those in black are potentially up for grabs. Discuss my selections and be sure to post your roster projections in the Comments as well.)


    Catchers: Joe Mauer, Ryan Doumit, JR Towles

    No change. Iíll stick with Towles again this week, although I feel less comfortable with that selection. None of the #3 catcher options is doing much this spring. In fact, they arenít playing very much, and Butera is playing as well as any of them. Iíll stay with Towles just because I think the Twins brass is ready for that change.

    Infielders: Justin Morneau, Alexi Casilla, Danny Valencia, Jamey Carroll, Luke Hughes, Tsuyoshi Nishioka,

    No change, although I did make Luke Hughes a given at this point, now that he is healthy. Nishioka is probably a given as well since there isnít much competition for a utility role and he is hitting a little bit in camp.

    Outfielders: Ben Revere, Denard Span, Josh Willingham, Trevor Plouffe

    No change.

    Starting Pitchers: Carl Pavano, Francisco Liriano, Scott Baker, Nick Blackburn, Jason Marquis

    No changes. No surprises again. However, if Baker is more hurt, that helps the odds of Liam Hendriks making a few starts at the start of the season.

    Bullpen: Matt Capps, Glen Perkins, Brian Duensing, Anthony Swarzak, Jared Burton, Kyle Waldrop, Matt Maloney

    The first four are givens. It is looking more and more like Waldrop and Burton are close to moving into that same category, but I canít put either of them there quite yet. Maloney has been incredible, and with Terry Doyleís struggles, he would appear to be the favorite to win the long-reliever spot. Waldrop and Maloney are new since last week while Doyle and Jeff Manship come off the list. Manship certainly deserves a strong look as well the next two weeks. Casey Fien is pitching well in campís small sample size so far. I think that Alex Burnett was nearly a given in the mind of Gardy and Rick Anderson at the start of camp, but Iíd be surprised if he is a given at this point. He could still change minds in the next two weeks. Although the odds are likely against Doyle making the roster at this point, that could still change over the next couple of weeks.

    What are your thoughts? Discuss what your roster looks like?

    This article was originally published in blog: Three-Weeks-To-Opening-Day Roster Projections started by Seth Stohs
    Comments 23 Comments
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      What makes Anthony Swarzak a given? Clearly he shouldn't be a given. That he may be is another story, I suppose, but he has never been good enough to warrant a guaranteed spot. Last year's performance was substantially exaggerated. That K rate of 4.9 is not good. His number at Rochester were not stupendous either.

      Why Swarzak and Burnett and not Manship and Waldrop, indeed.
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Quote Originally Posted by shanewahl View Post
      What makes Anthony Swarzak a given? .
      He is out of options

      Seth, I pretty much agree, but there is a lot of ST ahead. As far as the 3rd Catcher goes, I think (if they take one, since Doumit has been playing alright behind the plate) that Rivera has probably had the best spring so far, since Towles cooled off. These 3 will fight it and each of them have their advantages (I mean between Towles and Rivera, because Butera's only advantage is that he si on the 40-man roster.) but Rivera can throw runners out and cought the 2 great Liriano outings... Also last season Liriano was better with Rivera catching (could be that communication thing) so I'd like to see him make it up north as Liriano's personal catcher, same way that Butera was Pavano's. If he will give them legitimate better chances to win 35 games, he should be it...
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      I think you need to consider options here.. correct me if I'm wrong, but arent' swarzak and manship out of options?
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Quote Originally Posted by diehardtwinsfan View Post
      I think you need to consider options here.. correct me if I'm wrong, but arent' swarzak and manship out of options?
      Manship has another option year left
    1. roger's Avatar
      roger -
      Swarzak is out of options. Manship and Burnett each have one remaining. I agree with Seth, send Burnett to Rochester so he can get half to most of a year experience at that level. I have liked Maloney and Burton since the were signed and remain hopeful they will be fine in the bullpen. Last spot for me comes down to Waldrop or Manship and looks like Waldrop has the edge right now.
    1. Jim H's Avatar
      Jim H -
      I doubt if the first 2 weeks of ST "results" mean that much. To this point, bullpens, live batting practice, and drills probably mean as much as game results. I would guess that 8 or more of the pitchers in camp have a shot at the last three bullpen positions. Swarzak is probably pretty safe, unless he falls off a cliff performance-wise.

      Spring games performance should start to count for more from now on. Since the bullpen candidates (whoever they really are) may get 6 or more appearances from on, this is about the time to really pay attention. I expect the non-candidates to be cut or sent to minor league camp within a week.


      I expect Butera to win the 3rd catcher spot, if there is a 3rd catcher. I think if there is a competitor with Nishioka for the backup middle infielder, (Chang, Florimon, or Holiman) we should be able to tell by the end of next week. Plouffe and Hughes seem to be the leaders for backup spots but they probably better start swinging better bats pretty soon.

      I also think that if Baker can't begin the year in the starting rotation, Swarzak could get stretched out. I like Henriks but he might benefit from AAA starts.
    1. Fanatic Jack's Avatar
      Fanatic Jack -
      Seth,

      I completely agree with you assessment. I know it's a SHOCKER. What about Carlos Gutierrez?? He has more upside than probably all three guys (Burton, Maloney, and Waldrop). How long do the Twins keep him at Rochester? What happens if they do sign Michael Wuertz to a minor league deal? Does he have any shot at making the team this late in camp? I know it's a slim chance but they could sign him.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by Fanatic Jack View Post
      Seth,

      I completely agree with you assessment. I know it's a SHOCKER. What about Carlos Gutierrez?? He has more upside than probably all three guys (Burton, Maloney, and Waldrop). How long do the Twins keep him at Rochester? What happens if they do sign Michael Wuertz to a minor league deal? Does he have any shot at making the team this late in camp? I know it's a slim chance but they could sign him.
      I think Gutierrez is technically still in the competition, but outside chance at this point, in part because he too has three option years remaining. How long do they keep him at Rochester? Until he's ready and there is a need. No way Wuertz makes the big league opening day roster coming in at this point. If they did sign him, I'd guess he would stay in Ft. Myers for a month and work out and build up arm strength. Then they would get him into a couple of games with the Miracle. Then they would send him to Rochester and he can compete with the Manship's and Gutierrez's and the rest of the bullpen arms that wind up there. I think there is a decent chance that he signs with the Twins. I mean, as good of a chance as anyone else.
    1. lee_the_twins_fan's Avatar
      lee_the_twins_fan -
      I agree with most of your assessment. Does Michael Hollimon have a shot as a utility infielder? He's been hitting hard. How is his fielding? Could he make the team instead of Nishioka?

      The OF and starting pitchers are set.

      I'm hoping the Twins only carry two catchers, but that sounds more and more unlikely. Towles would be my choice as well, if they carry three.

      Not sure about Swarzak after yesterday. I was also a big Doyle fan, until yesterday. I hope he can make a comeback.

      I hope you're right about Burton and Waldrop.

      Good post.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      I am not a fan of keeping inferior pitchers up with the Twins just because they are out of options. Keeping an average or below average pitcher on the roster for fear of losing said average or below average pitcher over the waiver wire? This kind of roster mentality is how the Twins function, I understand, but it is poor functioning.
    1. Nicholas Mueller's Avatar
      Nicholas Mueller -
      Even though I really like Jared Burton, I might consider Jeff Manship instead, because he is younger and he was a draft pick. Obviously both of them have really impressed this spring. Anyone know if Manship still has options?
    1. jimbo92107's Avatar
      jimbo92107 -
      New Rule: Every photo should have a caption, and the caption should start with the guy's name. Especially now with all the turnover, a lot of us don't know who the heck these people are!
    1. jwestbrock's Avatar
      jwestbrock -
      Quote Originally Posted by shanewahl View Post
      I am not a fan of keeping inferior pitchers up with the Twins just because they are out of options. Keeping an average or below average pitcher on the roster for fear of losing said average or below average pitcher over the waiver wire? This kind of roster mentality is how the Twins function, I understand, but it is poor functioning.
      But when those average or below average pitchers are not considerably worse than the players with options available, you give them first dibs because it is a decent idea, especially as pitchers are concerned, to keep as many as possible around.

      Now if we're talking about keeping an Anthony Swarzak-level pitcher instead of a Jonny Venters-level, then I agree completely, but we're picking between pitchers ranging from average to below average.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      Quote Originally Posted by jwestbrock View Post
      But when those average or below average pitchers are not considerably worse than the players with options available, you give them first dibs because it is a decent idea, especially as pitchers are concerned, to keep as many as possible around.

      Now if we're talking about keeping an Anthony Swarzak-level pitcher instead of a Jonny Venters-level, then I agree completely, but we're picking between pitchers ranging from average to below average.
      There are dozens of Anthony Swarzak-level pitchers to pick up at any given time, so the worry about not having enough pitchers around is not warranted (just look at how many pitchers the Twins signed this offseason). Maybe he has the advantage of being a known commodity. The Twins know that he really isn't very good, but is adequate in eating innings that don't matter? Even if Manship and Waldrop are only marginally better, marginally better is still better. One might think that holding Manship and Waldrop back in Rochester wouldn't do them any good at this point, and, in fact, it might cause more harm than anything else. I generally am in favor of recycling replacement level players for younger ones, who might have upside still. That idea doesn't apply in this case where all three are roughly the same age, but sometimes you can add my subtracting (if anyone actually would claim Swarzak off waivers, which is debatable). If Manship and Waldrop are kept in Rochester they may get more high-leverage innings that Oliveros, Gutierrez, Burnett, Guerra and other actual prospects would have gotten otherwise. All because of the almighty out-of-options with regard to easily replaceable players. Where's Gleeman when I need him!?
    1. Jim H's Avatar
      Jim H -
      I think it is more about consistency than anything else. Guiterrez is maybe the most dominating relief pitcher in camp. Yet, he has never been consistent in the minors and he isn't likely to be in the majors. When he starts showing that consistency, he will be in the majors.

      I think the same is true about Oliveras, Burnett, and maybe Robertson. I think the guys who start the year with the Twins may not have dominating stuff, but are more likely to bring "get the hitter out" stuff more often than the younger guys.
    1. roger's Avatar
      roger -
      Lets give Swarzak a pass on yesterday's performance. I wasn't listening, but from what I understand he came into a bad situation in the first inning without adequate time to warm up. He pitched a good second inning, then a decent third except for the one pitch.
    1. bkucko's Avatar
      bkucko -
      Do the Twins keep Doyle if he doesn't make the Opening Day roster or do we do a similar trade like last year with Scott Diamond? I would absolutely hate a similar move. Either Doyle makes it on the 25 man, or gets offered back to Chicago. No use wasting a minor leaguer/prospect on Doyle. Didn't work at all with Diamond.
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Looks like Baker will start the season in the DL, so the opening day roster needs some reworking I suspect that Hendriks will be the 5th starter
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Shane, I guess I just don't see who is better than swarzak for certain. He's still a fairly young pitcher compared to other options. He certainly had some moments last year. He's certainly got the attitude to pitch out of the bullpen.
    1. lee_the_twins_fan's Avatar
      lee_the_twins_fan -
      After today, I'm almost ready to go with:
      C - Mauer
      1B - Parmalee (until Morneau gets his swing back)*
      2B - Hollimon Ė he's batting over .500 and has some punch
      3B - Valencia, duh
      SS - Dozier
      LF - Revere
      CF - Span
      RF - Willingham
      DH - Doumit Ė until Morneau gets his swing back.

      Reserves: Benson, Plouffe, Casilla and Carroll
      If this group can hit and field the way they have this spring, it should be a very interesting summer.
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