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Predicted 2022 28-Man Roster

stringer bell



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After the lockout, big trades and a huge free agent signing (who knew Joe Smith would be available😃), the Twins are zeroing in on Opening Day 2022. They will carry 28 players for the month of April, allowing additional ramping up for pitchers. I don't claim to all-knowing, but I have listened to and watched Twins baseball since Calvin moved the team to Met Stadium. The roster I'm predicting will include 15 pitchers, about as many as the Twins used in some full seasons in the 60s. Okay, here goes:

PITCHERS: 15--Five starters, three openers/multi-inning, seven bullpen. Starters--Sonny Gray, Dylan Bundy, Joe Ryan, Bailey Ober, Josh Winder. Comment: There is still a decent chance that the Twins will add a rotation piece either by trade or free agency. I hope they do. This would appear to be the year that a pipeline to the majors is established with prospects graduating to fill rotation spots long-term. Openers/Multi-inning relievers--Griffin Jax, Lewis Thorpe, Jhoan Duran. Comment: This is the group impacted positively by the expanded rosters. All three have been primarily starters since coming to the Twins organization. Due to ineffectiveness and a closing window, Jax and Thorpe have been designated relievers (Thorpe is also out of options) and Duran is coming back from a season where he logged less than 20 innings. Duran is a top prospect who might have 2022 as a bullpen year and then return in 2023 as a starter or he may become a full-time reliever now for the balance of his career. Bullpen--Jharel Cotton, Jhon Romero, Tyler Duffey, Joe Smith, Caleb Thielbar, Jorge Alcala, Taylor Rogers. Comment: Cotton and Romero are pure guesses for two spots in the bullpen. Cody Stashak and Jovani Moran are also candidates among the rostered pitchers. A non-roster guy or two could be a candidate to take a spot, but the Twins have a stacked 40-man roster for now. In particular I've liked what I've seen out of Juan Minaya since midsummer of 2021. Barring injury, at some point in 2022 he will be pitching for the Twins. I just don't think he will be there on Opening Day. 

CATCHERS: 3-Ryan Jeffers, Gary Sanchez, Jose Godoy. Comment: Godoy makes the club as a third catcher because I think Gary Sanchez will be used fairly often as a DH. Rocco doesn't overuse catchers, he'll basically alternate Jeffers and Sanchez behind the plate, but if Sanchez is DHing as much as 25% of the time, having a third catcher would make sense. Godoy appears to be functional, but not a candidate for everyday play. 

INFIELDERS: 6-Miguel Sano, Jorge Polanco, Luis Arraez, Carlos Correa, Nick Gordon, Gio Urshela. Comment: Top prospect Jose Miranda doesn't make it here, although after last year's breakout, he really should. I've listed Kirilloff as an outfielder, he'll also get a lot of time in the infield. Gordon might log some time in the outfield as well. Four players at second, short and third--Arraez, Polanco, Correa, Urshela--should cover almost all the starts leaving Gordon without much playing time. Sano will DH a considerable amount.

OUTFIELDERS: 4--Alex Kirilloff, Trevor Larnach, Byron Buxton, Max Kepler. Comment: Brent Rooker misses the cut here in my estimation due to his lack of flexibility and fielding deficiencies. Larnach is the better defender and hits left handed. If the Twins are using Sano at DH (and Kirilloff at first) it opens considerable playing time for Larnach in left field. I also wouldn't be surprised to see the club pick up a right handed outfielder, who can run and play defense to add to the Opening Day roster. 






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I'd like to see Larnach get some time at AAA to work on regaining his power stroke, and I think Celestino is far enough along to provide more overall value to the big club.  Otherwise I have no modifications to the positions players - Gordon won't provide much value but the 40-man is so lean on position players that there isn't someone else I put in his place and his lack of minor league options becomes the deciding factor. (If I could send him down, going with a 12-man position player roster wouldn't be overly risky.)

Pitching, wow, with 23 guys on the 40-man, picking 8 to drop to AAA is kind of a crapshoot.  I can't see raising that number to 9, so a non-roster invitee is not making the team.  Fortunately only 7 pitchers of these 23 lack minor league options or otherwise can't be sent down, unless I miscounted - I had thought there were more forced choices than that, so kudos to the FO for turning over the roster in a way that provides flexibility.  Cotton, among your bullpen "guesses", lacks minor league options so I see him as more of a sure thing.  I don't feel strongly enough about anyone else to change your list.

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If the Twins carry only three outfielders plus Kirilloff, I think Larnach wins out. He homered again today (no. 2) and he would be in line for quite a few starts in left when Sánchez catches.
Celestino profiles better as a backup OF, but if Larnach is given more than a couple starts a week, I’d prefer to see him in the lineup. 

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What about Smeltzer making the team as an opener/5thstrater/long reliever? He seems to be having a very good spring. HE also went 3 innings last time out. Glad to see you don't have CHi Chi Gonzalez on the team. I actually think there was thought that he cold be a #5 starter. They're actually stretching him out and he started against ATL. God help us if he gets any time on the big league level...

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I'm rooting hard for Derek Fisher to put it together and make the team as a 4/5 OF.  I just don't think it's going to happen for him.  Would love to see a speed guy in that role who could also serve as a situational PR (e.g. Billy Hamilton).

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I picure the Twins will send Larnach out and keep Rooker. Also, Smeltzer and Minya are both pushing hard for a roster spot. But there are few candidates to outright designate.


What will be interesting to see (soon) is the minor league roster shuffle. Remember, two people, come May 1, will return to the minors.


Was glad to see Enlow not go on the major league long-term disabled list.



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