The past two weeks, I have attempted to project the Twins Opening Day roster. This week, we’ll try it again. I still believe that there are 20 “Givens” at this point, two weeks before Opening Day. I also believe that the five remaining positions are all pretty intriguing and could have several possibilities at this point, especially since there are some injury questions with Scott Baker and Justin Morneau.
There are still 39 players in Twins big league camp which means 14 players need to be sent back down before the season starts. The manager, coaching staff and front office has some tough decisions. Terry Ryan stressed competition in spring training, and he has received that! The 40 man roster is not an issue as the Zumaya injury and Terry Doyle's return to the White Sox allows some flexibility too.
(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, Drew Butera
I switched from JR Towles back to Drew Butera. Frankly Butera hasn't done much, but JR Towles and Rene Rivera have not done anything to warrant being added to the 40 man roster to take the spot.
Infielders: Justin Morneau, Alexi Casilla, Danny Valencia, Jamey Carroll, Luke Hughes, Sean Burroughs
Last Friday, I was still assuming that Tsuyoshi Nishioka would make the roster. He was sent down on Monday. That leaves the final spot on the roster for Burroughs, Michael Hollimon, Pedro Florimon, and Brian Dinkelman (especially since Ron Gardenhire has indicated the Brian Dozier will start the season in Rochester). Right now I give a slight edge to Burroughs (who is also not on the 40 man roster) because he bats left handed and although he doesn't have any power, he puts together solid at bats. I am curious how much playing time Florimon and Hollimon get over the next week. Florimon definitely has the best glove and arm of the three, but the lesser bat. Hollimon struggled with the bat last year between New Britain and Rochester, but he did hit 18 home runs. I like his bat best of the three because of the power, but he'll have to show he can play enough defense for a role player.
Outfielders: Ben Revere, Denard Span, Josh Willingham, Trevor Plouffe
Starting Pitchers: Carl Pavano, Francisco Liriano, Scott Baker, Nick Blackburn, Jason Marquis
No changes. Baker threw two scoreless innings in a AAA game on Thursday, but if he needs to start the season on the DL, Liam Hendriks has stepped up as the guy who would make a start or two if needed.
Bullpen: Matt Capps, Glen Perkins, Brian Duensing, Anthony Swarzak, Jeff Manship, Kyle Waldrop, Matt Maloney
The first four are givens. Terry Doyle was sent back to the White Sox. I really believe that the final three spots are up for grabs between Manship, Waldrop, Maloney and Jared Burton. For some reason, I sense that Alex Burnett isn't completely out of the competition and if he pitches well over the next ten days, he could earn a spot again. I would also add that Jeff Gray is on the 40 man roster and out of options. I'm not certain why he has pitched so few innings in "A" games this spring, but I have to believe that because he's out of options, he'll at least be given some innings the next week or so. For this week's projections, I took Jared Burton out and put Jeff Manship back on. Maloney is pitching well and is out of options (is it fair, or unfair, to point out that he's having a very similar spring as Dusty Hughes had last year!). Manship and Waldrop have been pitching very well. They do have options remaining. Jared Burton has continued to be very good, but because he is on a minor league contract, he can be sent down.
What are your thoughts? Discuss what your roster looks like?