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Front Page: A Stab at the Twins Postseason Roster

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#1 Ted Schwerzler

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Posted 05 September 2019 - 08:01 PM

It’s all but a forgone conclusion that the Minnesota Twins are going to play in the Postseason following the conclusion of the 2019 Major League Baseball season. With a 5.5 game lead in the AL Central, a soft schedule still ahead, and representative of the most superior team in the division, getting there is part of the battle Rocco Baldelli’s club has all but accomplished. The question become centered around who makes that roster, and that’s where things get sticky.In the last year of active roster expansion to 40 players Minnesota has taken full advantage. They currently have 36 players up with the big-league club, and Kyle Gibson is hoping to return from Ulcerative Colitis in short order. That means there’s more than 10 players who must be trimmed prior to the Postseason, and there’s only a few spots up for grabs.

As of right now, here’s how I see this playing out:

Catchers (2): Jason Castro, Mitch Garver

This duo should be considered a lock. They have combined to represent the most impressive production at the position in years, and Garver has been a walking bomba for much of the season. Playing into the platoon advantage, and both now providing adequate or better defensive skills, just about every ability is crossed off here. Willians Astudillo was fun early in the year, but he’s not much of a factor at this point.

Infield (7): C.J. Cron, Luis Arraez, Jonathan Schoop, Jorge Polanco, Marwin Gonzalez, Miguel Sano, Ehire Adrianza

Starting positions have been well established in this group for a while. Arraez has taken over at 2B for Schoop, but Jonathan provides a nice right-handed option and some pop off the bench. Gonzalez can play all over the place, and his flexibility has spelled Minnesota in multiple different ways over the course of the season. Sano and Cron are both locked in on the corners, and there shouldn’t be any surprises here.

Edit: Completely blanked in leaving out Adrianza. He has been exceptional for the Twins this year, and will provide both utility and a capably bench bat. He definitely makes the roster.

Outfield (4): Eddie Rosario, Byron Buxton, Max Kepler, Ian Miller, Jake Cave

There are zero doubts who the Twins starting outfield trio is when health is at its highest. Buxton remains somewhat of a wild card as he returns from his shoulder dislocation, and there’s always the possibility of the next malady that puts him on the shelf. After being left for dead early in the year, Jake Cave has played himself into a significant opportunity both down the stretch and into October. Kepler and Rosario are etched in stone as well.

Miller represents the first wild card on the roster. He was added to the 40 man and made a September call up for a reason. Speed is his asset, and he can play as a defensive replacement in the outfield. The Twins don’t run much, but Postseason baseball certainly provides unique opportunities. I’d think he’s got an inside track at a spot right now and having a guy like that is evidence of strong roster utilization.

Edit: With Adrianza being added, it's Cave that was redundant. While Miller can't provide the bat, he's as good or better of a defender and brings the speed option to the table. Jake has been great since Byron has been out, but he will be left off the Postseason 25man assuming Buxton is full go.

Designated Hitter (1): Nelson Cruz

One and only, Nelson Cruz. No surprise here, but the 39-year-old that has crushed all season will be expected to do the same in October. There’s previous World Series experience under his belt and Minnesota is certainly hoping for that to be of value for much of the youth on the roster.

Rotation (4): Jose Berrios, Michael Pineda, Jake Odorizzi, Martin Perez

In the Postseason you don’t need a five-man rotation. For a five-game series, you probably don’t even need a fourth starter. Minnesota finds themselves in a weird spot though. The ideal game one starter would be Jose Berrios, but he’s scuffled through August. His last start against the Red Sox didn’t provide strong results from a command perspective, but the stuff was back. He had regained velocity and missed bats. In a short series you could ask him to go twice, and on short rest, but that may be playing with fire.

Baldelli has got the best, and most consistent, production from Pineda this year. He represents a strong option for game two, and Odorizzi has flashed enough to lock down game three. Perez has been up and down most of the season, but he’s trending back towards the positive of late. He could be pushed to the pen or may represent a game four option if the Twins have one in hand.

Noticeably excluded from this list is homegrown talent Kyle Gibson. That’d be a pretty tough reality for the former 1st round pick to swallow, but illness may make that a reality. His ability depends almost entirely on how he rebounds from his sickness, and the effectiveness of the medication. If he can get back, and get right, in enough time then there’s probability he bumps someone from this foursome.

Bullpen (7): Taylor Rogers, Sergio Romo, Tyler Duffey, Trevor May, Sam Dyson, Zack Littell, Brusdar Graterol

Recently Cooper did a great job constructing an ideal Postseason pen for Minnesota at Twins Daily. I’d agree with him that the first four names above are all locks. Rogers is the closer, Romo was brought in for these moments, and both Duffey and May have worked their way into high leverage. Dyson should also be considered a lock, but that requires him to be healthy. He’s dealt with bicep issues since the trade from San Francisco and owns a 7.15 ERA through 11.1 IP with his new team.

That leaves two openings for Baldelli to decide on, and one was seemingly already made. When Brusdar Graterol was promoted to the 40 man roster a few days ago, it was with an eye on the Postseason. Yes, he’s still transitioning to bullpen life for now, and he’ll need to make sure he doesn’t pitch himself out of the opportunity, but this is the goal. Triple-digit heat coming in from the pen isn’t something the Twins have employed previously, and that could be a significant weapon in tight October games.

Choosing from a known commodity on the roster is a bit tougher but Littell looks to be the right option. Following the blowup in Tampa he’s been nothing short of exception. Across 19.2 IP he owns a 0.92 ERA and .675 OPS against. There’s strikeout stuff and the velocity plays into the upper 90’s. Ryne Harper and his curveball may be enticing, Lewis Thorpe as another lefty makes some sense, and Trevor Hildenberger with previous experience could be tempting as well. Having been passed over previously however, I think this is the spot that Littell gets and thrives.

We’re still about a month away from Postseason action, and so much can happen from both a health and effectiveness standpoint. I feel good about this 25-man group right now, but we’ll re-evaluate as things get closer. What would your Postseason roster look like? How does it differ, or where is it the same?

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#2 yarnivek1972

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Posted 05 September 2019 - 08:17 PM

If you have Ian Miller, what is Cave’s role? He isn’t going to start. He has “reverse splits” so he isn’t likely to pinch hit. He certainly isn’t going to come in for defense. Adrianza is still the best defensive shortstop on the roster and is capable in most other spots. And he hits pretty well from both sides.
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#3 TNTwinsFan

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Posted 05 September 2019 - 08:19 PM

The K numbers from Littell and Thorpe would be the way I'd go.
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#4 gagu

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Posted 05 September 2019 - 08:52 PM

A very respectable list, but Astudillo will not be denied. He proved again tonight how valuable he is in the clutch. Tortuga in, Miller out. Adrianza maybe has a shot to displace Schoop. The pitchers all make sense. I'd bet on Graterol being strong. Littell is the best bet for a spot that may go to the pitcher with the hottest hand in late September. Of course everything changes if there are injuries.

Anyway, at this point in time, choosing the roster is more about deciding on which options are better than the others rather than which options are less bad than the others. That's a very nice luxury.

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#5 jz7233

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Posted 05 September 2019 - 09:24 PM

If Buxton can be healthy enough to produce offensively, Ian Miller will not be on post season roster. I would say Adrianza is a lock. Astudillo has a chance.

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#6 jz7233

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Posted 05 September 2019 - 09:31 PM

I would like to see Cron on the bench more in post season. Garver or Kepler takes over at 1B. I like the idea of Astudillo replacing Schoop. I think Adrianza is a lock just like Gonzalez. Cave can be the 4th or 5th outfielder. That would make this roster as flexible and productive as possible.

 

vs RH pitcher

 

1.Arraez (2B) 

2.Polanco (SS)

3.Cruz (DH)

4.Kepler(RF) 

5.Sano (3B)

6.Rosario (LF)

7.Garver(1B)

8.Castro©

9.Buxton(CF)

 

vs LH pitcher

 

1.Kepler (RF)

2.Polanco (SS)

3.Cruz (DH)

4.Arraez (2B)

5.Sano (3B)

6.Garver ©

7.Rosario (LF)

8.Cron (1B)

9.Buxton (CF)

 

Bench: Gonzalez, Cron/Castro, Adrianza, Cave, Astudillo


#7 DocBauer

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Posted 05 September 2019 - 09:48 PM

Gibson is a wild card. Some time off to regain strength, he could easily push Perez to the pen, and that's NOT a slight to the Perez who started the season and who has looked good to very good lately with a 1 game WOOF start.

I understand Miller could be a 2019 version of Jarvis Brown as a defensive replacement and PR option. [Kudos if you remember back far enough to remember Brown]. But Brown was a decent prospect with at least a little ML game time. Do we really keep him over Adrianza? At this point, I say no.

Agreed Astudillo doesn't fit for a couple short series. He's just missed too much time to reliably replace other options on hand. [And I'm a believer and a fan].

Agree with Littell in the pen. State yet AGAIN I love Graterol, but let me see him pitch in September successfully before I include him. Otherwise, this is an awesome audition to get ready for 2020.

One more time:

Rosario
Buxton
Kepler
Cruz
Sano
Polanco
Arraez
Cron
Gonzalez
Adrianza
Schoop
Garver
Castro

Cave is a deserving wild card, but no room, IMO.

Berrios
Pineda
Odorizzi
Gibson (if he rebounds)

Roger's
Dyson
Romo
Duffey
May
Perez
Littell
?

The last spot belongs to Thorpe TODAY. I need to see more of Graterol making the jump successfully before I include him. Both make it if Gibson just can't get his strength back in time and Perez moves in to the rotation.

I believe Cave is a wild card if the Twins decide on a 3 man rotation or a 7 man pen. I don't see that as of right now.

Just for giggles, you want an extreme wild card? 9 man pen and Graterol just isn't ready and Stashek gets a spot.
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#8 DocBauer

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Posted 05 September 2019 - 10:08 PM

A very respectable list, but Astudillo will not be denied. He proved again tonight how valuable he is in the clutch. Tortuga in, Miller out. Adrianza maybe has a shot to displace Schoop. The pitchers all make sense. I'd bet on Graterol being strong. Littell is the best bet for a spot that may go to the pitcher with the hottest hand in late September. Of course everything changes if there are injuries.
Anyway, at this point in time, choosing the roster is more about deciding on which options are better than the others rather than which options are less bad than the others. That's a very nice luxury.


I like your post but yet, I struggle to agree.

I LOVE Astudillo and what he brings to this team both on the field and off of it. I feel that those who point to his offensive numbers aren't paying close enough attention. Yes, he struggled at times, failed and failed at times, when coming back from his 2 stints on the IL. But he has produced when healthy, or at other times and other words, when he got AB and got back in a groove after returning from the IL. And his versatility should not be dismissed, he is at least solid whenever and wherever he plays. And that's important. Especially over a long season. But this is a short series, hopefully 2, and I just don't think he fits. IF, the Twins decide on an extra position player vs a pitcher, still comes down to be or Cave.

Versatility and production, I believe BOTH Adrianza and Schoop make it. Hence my listed roster opinion above. Just don't see any way you don't keep Adrianza for defense, versatility and what he's done at the plate. And while Arreaz may have displaced Schoop as the primary 2B, you just can't deny his production, especially vs LH pitching.
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#9 jorgenswest

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Posted 05 September 2019 - 10:13 PM

If you have Ian Miller, what is Cave’s role? He isn’t going to start. He has “reverse splits” so he isn’t likely to pinch hit. He certainly isn’t going to come in for defense. Adrianza is still the best defensive shortstop on the roster and is capable in most other spots. And he hits pretty well from both sides.


I sure hope the Twins aren’t making decisions based on a tiny sample of a left on left split that isn’t consistent his larger overall major and minor league sample.. If The Twins are not confident in Buxton’s shoulder I think they need him on the roster.

I would want Adrianza over Miller.
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#10 Only Here in Negative

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Posted 05 September 2019 - 10:37 PM

No way that's the roster.

 

1.) Barring several injuries, no way Ian Miller and Cave both make the postseason roster. They'll either value Miller's speed or Cave's contribution. Would lean towards the latter. I also don't think Cave's spot is even guaranteed - if they choose to carry an 8th reliever, Cave would make sense to go since they're unlikely to use Marwin in the IF except maybe at 1B for Cron so he's basically the 4th OF.

 

2.) On that note, no way Adrianza doesn't make the roster unless someone unusual forces their way on. He's been too valuable for this team. See him making it. Odd that Ted never mentioned him, makes me think maybe he forgot him?

 

3.) Don't get the Astudillo love. He's funny to watch but he's been pretty legitimately bad this year. He hasn't looked very good since being back - the league seems to have figured out he'll swing at bad pitches and he gets a steady diet of stuff he won't lay off. I think a bigger question at this point is "Is Astudillo good enough to be the Twins backup catcher next year while they wait for Jeffers/Rortvedt?" And at this point, I honestly don't know. The defense is okay but not great and that bat has not played this year with an approach that is not ideal. No way he should be on the postseason roster unless several guys go down.

 

4.) Ted is right that Kyle Gibson being out might make postseason decisions easier. The Twins don't have a guy they'd move to the pen and immediately make a late-inning guy but they're likely to carry the 5th starter as a reliver because all 5 guys are veteran parts of the club. I just think that at this point guys like Dobnak, Smeltzer, or Thorpe are better in that long role than the 5th starter who isn't used to relieving. Interesting to watch.

 

5.) Lots of room in the back of the pen. Six or seven guys looking at just a few spots. Will be fun to see how that breaks.


#11 Ted Schwerzler

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Posted 06 September 2019 - 07:01 AM

Definitely made a mistake in excluding Adrianza. He’s probably in instead of Cave, and that’s how I’d leave it.
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#12 Strato Guy

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Posted 06 September 2019 - 07:16 AM

So much depends on who is healthy. At this point, I think the pitchers you selected seems excellent. No more than 12 pitchers are needed for the playoffs. For that last hitter to be the 25th player I pick Adrianza. He has been too good not to be on the team. Austudillo would be next in line with Miller following. Miller can't hit enough and his main contribution would be pitch running. While that is somewhat valuable, it is not enough to keep the others off the team. 


#13 ToddlerHarmon

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Posted 06 September 2019 - 07:45 AM

My difference from the OP:

1) Adrianza over Miller
2) Gibson over Littell, sending Perez to the bullpen

I'm more sure about 1 than 2.

Injuries bring in:

IF: Astudillo
OF: Miller
RHP: Littell
LHP: Thorpe

And I differ on the starting lineup. No platoon: catchers need scheduled days off, and with this offensive bliss, why would you:

Cruz
Garver
Cron
Arraez
Sano
Polanco
Rosario
Buxton
Kepler
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#14 Trov

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Posted 06 September 2019 - 08:19 AM

The big question that needs to be answered, will Buxton be healthy enough to swing a bat?He should still make roster for late inning defense and running situations, but if he cannot swing a bat you need five OF in case they go into extras and his spot comes up.If he cannot swing, and he does come up to hit, he will have to bunt and hope to get on, or just stand up there and hope pitcher cannot throw 3 strikes.  


#15 In My La-Z-boy

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Posted 06 September 2019 - 11:03 AM

I think the final 4 or 5 spots to be decided will go to whoever is hot this month. Small sample size last night, but no way Willians is left off if he remains clutch. No way is Graterol left off if he keeps throwing zero's - no way Dyson or Gibson get on unless they prove they are healthy. If Gonzalez is healthy Cave doesn't make it - Adrianza is a lock either way he plays this month I think. Will also depend on the 1st opponent, and their staff, and their strength's. Also 1st series is only a best 3/5 - may see a different roster for this one vs the championship 7 game series. If Big Mike keeps this up he gets game 1 - if Perez keeps this up he gets game 2 - if Berrios keeps this up he gets the bench. Sorry to say that but he is our #4 right now.


#16 nicksaviking

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Posted 06 September 2019 - 12:05 PM

The starting pitchers have been so streaky, I don't think we've seen the end of the roller coaster ride. Presuming Gibson makes his next couple starts along with the rest of the regular crew, any one of them could end up as the game 1 guy and any one of them could end up the odd one out.

 

I also think the odd one out will end up in the pen, probably at the expense of Graterol or Littel; they'll want a long man. I hope Graterol gets more audition time and earns a spot though.

 

Seeing as Miller hasn't seen a PA yet, I don't think he's making the roster barring an injury, probably two. I think Cave is a near lock and if there is an injury, I'd bet they roll with their season long plan C's; Gonzalez/Adrianza/Arraez in the outfield. 


#17 ashbury

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Posted 06 September 2019 - 12:29 PM

If Buxton can be healthy enough to produce offensively, Ian Miller will not be on post season roster.

Rosario's game last night brought to mind the old saying "he can beat you so many different ways." In the post-season we're back to 25 man rosters so there isn't the luxury of carrying a player who can beat the other team in only one way. Ian Miller's AAA track record suggests an OPS in the low .600s in the majors - way low for an outfielder no matter how polished. The scouting report I checked indicated he has range but not much arm. He seems to have a good eye but major league hurlers will just throw him strikes. His one way (baserunning) of beating opponents might be superior to that of others vying for a spot, but I don't see how Miller beats other teams enough different ways, to be anything besides a longshot.

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#18 Shaitan

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Posted 06 September 2019 - 05:13 PM

Miller and Graterol have combined for 1 IP, 0 AB at the major league level.

 

Cart before horse here?

 

I expect fewer bullpen arms and more versatility from the bench -- like how they opened the season: Austudillo, Cave, Adriana, Arraez, and Gonzalez. If anybody pushes out Cave or Austudillo it might be a fully healthy Gonzalez.

 

There are a lot of off days and fewer starters needed. No reason to carry the AAA shuttle to the postseason.

 

(I do think Graterol has a chance, but that will be determined over the next 3 weeks.)

Edited by Shaitan, 06 September 2019 - 05:19 PM.


#19 yarnivek1972

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Posted 06 September 2019 - 06:29 PM

Rosario's game last night brought to mind the old saying "he can beat you so many different ways." In the post-season we're back to 25 man rosters so there isn't the luxury of carrying a player who can beat the other team in only one way. Ian Miller's AAA track record suggests an OPS in the low .600s in the majors - way low for an outfielder no matter how polished. The scouting report I checked indicated he has range but not much arm. He seems to have a good eye but major league hurlers will just throw him strikes. His one way (baserunning) of beating opponents might be superior to that of others vying for a spot, but I don't see how Miller beats other teams enough different ways, to be anything besides a longshot.


There was no reason to add him to the 40 man except to use as a pinch runner in the playoffs. Unless Marwin is in worse shape than the team is letting on. Then he’s your fifth OFer, eg the reserve if someone gets hurt.

#20 etwink

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Posted 07 September 2019 - 04:16 AM

Zero chance Miller gets in. We go with a guy who hasn’t had a single ML AB yet, over other guys who’ve contributed all year? Not if we are serious about the playoffs. Besides we’ve already got a fast PH option in Buxton, unless he starts hitting again. Can’t see us dropping Gibby unless he’s completely unable to play. Rocco has spent the entire year keeping people happy; can’t imagine him giving Gibby a slap in the face like that, especially in his walk year.
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