There haven't been any exhibition games played yet, but all teams are in Spring Training and there aren't a bunch of free agents left to be signed. The Twins hope to bounce back from consecutive injury-scarred disappointing seasons and make the postseason. Here is my prediction for the 26-man roster that will play Opening Day in Kansas City on March 30th:
Starting pitchers (5): Pablo Lopez, Sonny Gray, Joe Ryan, Tyler Mahle, Kenta Maeda. All five acquired by trade from other organizations. All but Ryan have injury concerns. First alternate starter figures is to Bailey Ober, with Louis Varland an Simeon Woods Richardson also waiting in the wings.
Bullpen (8): Jorge Alcala, Jhoan Duran, Ronny Henriquez, Griffin Jax, Jorge Lopez, Jovani Moran, Emilio Pagan, Caleb Thielbar. Alcala missed almost all of 2022 and it remains to be seen if he will be ready to contribute. The choices here for the last two spots in the 'pen are Moran (mostly effective last year with the Twins, less so in AAA) and Henriquez, who had a cup of coffee with the Twins after compiling less than dominant numbers in St. Paul. The choice of Henriquez is a pick to provide multiple inning outings from a bullpen member. Moran looks like he could take a step forward and be a late-inning arm, but he's not established. The last two cut (and two most likely to make the club) in my prediction are Trevor Megill and Danny Coulombe. Pitchers with options in the 'pen will most likely be up and down several times--that would include Megill, Henriquez and Moran and perhaps Alcala.
Catcher (2): Christian Vazquez, Ryan Jeffers. Really no competition here. The questions going forward are how will playing time be split up and if either Vazquez or Jeffers spends time as a DH. The Twins have three AAA catchers with major league experience--Tony Wolters, Grayson Greiner and Chance Sisco.
Infield (6): Alex Kirilloff, Jorge Polanco, Carlos Correa, Jorge Miranda, Kyle Farmer, Donovan Solano. There are injury questions around both Polanco and Kirilloff. If either one is placed on the Injured List, Nick Gordon and perhaps Joey Gallo might get some infield time. Barring injury, it would be huge upset for someone else to make the team at the expense of the six infielders listed.
Outfield (5): Byron Buxton, Joey Gallo, Nick Gordon, Max Kepler, Michael A. Taylor. Gallo and Gordon might see some time in the infield. Buxton is coming off knee surgery and may be built up slowly this year. There has been much speculation about Kepler's future with the Twins, but he's still here. Trevor Larnach (also coming off an injury) will probably have the opportunity to play himself onto the team. If there is a disabling position player injury in Spring Training, I would think Larnach makes the club as a DH/corner outfielder. Also in the mix is Matt Wallner, who made his big league debut last year in September.
There is a significant amount of change from last year. I am predicting that five players will make their Twins' debut in Kansas City. There will be injuries and many more players will see time with the major league club. As many have commented, there is depth in the rotation and among the position players. There will be injuries and the depth will be tested at some points through the season. A lot of players will get a chance to show their skills before the season is over.
There aren't many surprises listed in these predictions. Personally, I think that a nearly set roster is a good thing. I can't wait for the games to start and see what this group of players can do.