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Projecting the Twins Opening Day Roster: Version 2.0


Spring training is underway, and the Twins are relatively healthy <knock on wood>. If the season started this week, here are the players fans can expect on the Opening Day roster.Catchers (2): Mitch Garver, Ryan Jeffers

In the initial roster projection, Willians Astudillo was included as a third catcher and bench option for Rocco Baldelli. Things have shifted with other parts of the roster and this made Astudillo the first player dropped from the 26-man roster. Garver and Jeffers will rotate catcher duties and Astudillo can rake in St. Paul until he is needed at the big-league level.

 

Infielders (5): Miguel Sano, Jorge Polanco, Luis Arraez, Josh Donaldson, Andrelton Simmons

Little has changed here with all infield positions solidified and Luis Arraez set to shift into a super-utility role. How will Jorge Polanco adjust to second base? Can Josh Donaldson stay healthy? Will Andrelton Simmons help the Twins to have their best defensive team ever? There are still plenty of questions to be answered, but this group looks solid to start on Opening Day.

 

Outfield (4): Jake Cave, Byron Buxton, Max Kepler, Brent Rooker

There’s some talk that the Twins could ignore some of the service time rules and allow Alex Kirilloff to be with the team from season’s start. That is certainly a possibility, but it seems more likely for him to start the year at Triple-A with Jake Cave and Brent Rooker getting outfield at-bats. Byron Buxton bulked up again this winter and Max Kepler might have something to prove in 2021.

 

Designated Hitter (1): Nelson Cruz

Cruz is over 40-years old this season and few players have found success after crossing this plateau. Can Cruz join this elite list of players that all made the Hall of Fame?

 

Rotation (5): Kenta Maeda, Jose Berrios, Michael Pineda, J.A. Happ, Matt Shoemaker

The biggest change since the first roster projection is Minnesota signed Matt Shoemaker to fill out the fifth spot in the rotation. This pushed Randy Dobnak out of a rotation spot for the time being. After pitchers threw limited innings last year, some teams are considering a six-man rotation to help ease workloads. Dobnak can easily be a fill-in starter or a long reliever to eat innings if another starter has a short outing.

 

Bullpen (9): Taylor Rogers, Tyler Duffey, Alex Colome, Jorge Alcala, Hansel Robles, Caleb Thielbar, Cody Stashak, Randy Dobnak, Shaun Anderson

The first seven bullpen spots are relatively set-in stone barring any injuries. This leaves at least one spot available as the team needs to decide if they are going with a 13- or 14-man pitching staff.

 

Last year, teams were limited to 13-pitchers when there were 26-man rosters. That rule has been dropped for 2021, so Minnesota can start the year with a nine-man bullpen to help starters ease back into the workload associated with a full 162-game season. Dobnak moves from the rotation to the bullpen as a long-reliever and Shaun Anderson gets the bump up to the final bullpen spot.

 

Who do you think makes the Opening Day roster? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

 

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We do not need 14 pitchers. We should not have 14 pitchers. Even with starters "easing in" it's just silly. Unless you're pulling pitchers out of the game in the 4th consistently, there's not going to be enough innings to keep guys in form and it's stupid to have a guy on the roster who only gets into a game once a week at best.

 

Beyond that...a 3 man bench really shrinks the options. Whether it's Astudillo, Blankenhorn, or someone else...put another bat on the bench.

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Interesting, Cody, especially if there are only 12 position players. Astudillo is in St. Paul should there be a need for a third catcher. Kirilloff will be getting quality AAA at bats and be ready when there is a need for a corner outfielder or at first base.

 

But what if/when there is a need for an infielder? Who can come up and be a quality replacement for a week, month or rest of the year? It may have been Lewis, but not any more. Gordon is a long shot? Blankenhorn really doesn't have the defense to play regularly in the middle infield...does he? I see that as one weakness to this year's roster construction.

 

I also think there may be a good chance the Twins go with 5.5 starting pitchers. Have a long relief guy (Dobnak?) on the roster to make a spot start every time they play six days straight. They are gonna have to do something with all starters pitching limited innings last year. Should be fun speculating how they are gonna solve it.

 

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I just read that the powers that be have decided to delay the start of AAA baseball for one month.  Instead of starting in early April, they're going to start in early May.  I'm wondering how this will affect AK.

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Starting AAA later takes away argument that AK needs AAA ABs before callup. Think that will lead to AK being on opening day roster if performs well in ST. 13/14 pitchers, I think Twins had 14 pitchers most of year last year, so I think will have 14 this year, ST performance will determine who it is. Opening day roster last year had 15 pitchers when had 30 man roster.

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Starting AAA later takes away argument that AK needs AAA ABs before callup. Think that will lead to AK being on opening day roster if performs well in ST. 13/14 pitchers, I think Twins had 14 pitchers most of year last year, so I think will have 14 this year, ST performance will determine who it is. Opening day roster last year had 15 pitchers when had 30 man roster.

 

How does the delay of the Milb season change the argument that he needs some AAA experience?

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How does the delay of the Milb season change the argument that he needs some AAA experience?

My guess is the poster believes that it would mean the Twins would rather have Kirilloff with the Twins and getting real AB’s rather than stuck at an alternate site (still St Paul) not playing real games. 
 

I’m still team Rooker, though I really like both players. 

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How does the delay of the Milb season change the argument that he needs some AAA experience?

It doesn't, if he genuinely needs the experience. It does take away the Twins ability to do that (or use it to justify delaying his clock) in the first two weeks of April.

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My point about Kirilloff was he has already spent a summer at alternate site, not going to benefit from another month. Also, as I mentioned it is not a given, he has to play well in spring training. If he struggles then not on opening roster.

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You have to remember that beyond the 26 man roster, teams will have a five man taxi squad for road games this season. These players will be able to work out with the team and go on the road as well. One must be a catcher and that’s where the turtle will start the season, probably along with a 14th pitcher. This squad will likely have veterans who don’t need to play regularly. Saw the Twins are interested in Danny Santana, he could be another choice for the squad. He’s got versatility.

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