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.