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Twins Finalize Opening Day Roster


Rooker has some exciting skills, but also some serious weaknesses. Let's not forget he had a 34.7% K rate at AAA in 2019. Yes, some hitters can still do some damage even with a high K rate in the modern game -- but others can get carved up too. I had expected Rooker to get an opportunity to sink or swim, but I guess if he looked bad enough at the end of the spring, maybe all signs were pointing to "sink" and there wasn't much point to it.

 

Garlick doesn't do much for me either, but I suppose he could wind up an average-ish stop gap / placeholder.

 

Hopefully we can use LF to get Arraez's bat in the lineup (maybe even at the top of the lineup), while our starting infielders are healthy and productive too.

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So, let's say Astudillo (or anyone, really) hits a solo homer, but also has a throwing error that gives up an unearned run (as happened in one ST game). Would that be scored costing us or helping the team, or a nothing burger? And if it is a nothing burger, is it beneficial to the team?

 

I know you weren't addressing me, but I am just wanting to make sure when to give him all the credit he might deserve.

 

Have at it. Baseball is full of all kinds of wonderful stats, and fielding is in there.

 

Our problem the last two years in the playoffs has been hitting. In 39 ABs this spring, Astudillo has 15 hits, 10 RBI, an average of .385, and an OPS of 1.235. Over his career he's hitting .318.

 

I wasn't addressing you, but you're free to chime in. You're the "Dobnak is fools gold, and spent already" guy, aren't you? Just confirming ;-)

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I desperately hope the Twins win a playoff game this year, it only to stem the negativity from fans a bit. It’s gotten over the top and comical at this point. There’s nothing wrong with being critical of the FO but I feel like people aren’t being reasonable. 
 

Anyways, I’m happy to see Astudillo make it. Garlick is a surprise but I’ll take the better defense in LF. I think Rooker needs to be a DH. Hopefully he hits enough to be an option there when Cruz is gone. 

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So....We were SO ready to move up AK, BR, and TL that we went with Kyle Garlick in LF versus Rosario for another year!?! This will bite us in the a$$ at some point - either by wasting time on Garlick, having Rosario beat us in games, or in having even more Rule 5 challenges upcoming without knowing what we have (and behind AK, BR, and TL - see Badoo now gone).  Logjams at Triple AAA and MLB have a trickle-down impact.  I am not surprised that AK, BR and TL did not TAKE the job this Spring.  They basically had ALL of last year off in terms of games.  Garlick and Astudillo are wasted roster spots and just create logjams.  If you are moving on from Rosario; go with the rookies that you moved him out for.  SMH  

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Astudillo is a glorified pinch hitter.  I would rather have BR in that spot  - he IS 26.  Astudillo is BAD at all positions.  He is becoming this Mgmt Teams version of Punto - e.g. no business being on the roster and the ultimate low-talent 'dirty jersey' player.  Name me 20 other teams that would waste time on these type of guys with the logjam or prospects we have behind them?!?  I didn't think so.....

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Garlick is good for morale - baseball is supposed to be a merit system, not playing favorites. Garlick had a better spring than Rooker, thus he gets a roster spot. 

 

Rooker did look well-schooled in left field. Catches with both hands, good footwork, etc. If he continues to hone his hitting on the taxi squad, he'll be the first one called up, should Garlick...um, lose his initial allure.

 

Sorry. Tip-toeing around all those pungent puns.

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Explain this versatility to me. He can't actually play ANY position at a big league level. Occupying space in the vicinity of a position is not being versatile. 

He plays the bench very well. I suspect he made the team because he has shown he can hit. Not so much for his fielding. Now if he would just learn to take some pitches and walk once in a while he'd be even better.

 

I'd love to see Rooker, Kirilloff, Larnach take his spot on the roster but again how much playing time is he actually going to get with Arraez and Cave in the mix in LF, Donaldson and Arraez in the mix at 3B, and Garver and Jeffers holding the mask behind the plate. He can't/won't play anywhere else....

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I, too, wanted to see what Rooker could do and I'm pretty surprised. He is on the taxi squad, so most likely I won't have to wait long. Either way it's nice to have a righty in this spot. The Twins have the depth for the marathon and are my clear division favorites! Very excited, let's go!

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I am excited to eventually see Rooker and Kirilloff play for the Twins, but I think Garlick is better than what anybody is giving him credit for. He has tremendous power and destroys left handed pitching.

I saw him play once. I think it was the Arizona Fall League.

And remember, he came up in the Dodger organization, so he didn't get many MLB opportunities.

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Let's say you have a couple of players you really value long-term (Rooker and Kiriloff) and a couple of players who seem like decent wildcards (Astudillo and Garlick). The long-term guys look a little less ready than the wildcard guys. And you need ready players in the lineup every day, because you're a contending team. That means if you call up the long-term guys, and they fail, you can't bench them, so you have to send them down, which means you've burned one of their options. And their options are much more valuable than the options on the wildcard guys that you will burn when you probably, eventually, move on from the wildcard guys. Guard the valuable options, gamble with the less valuable options. Good roster management.

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Not a fan of keeping Astudillo or Garlick, however, if they outperformed the competition, they earned their spots.

 

That being said, keeping Astudillo allows both Garver and Jeffers to play without fear of losing the backup C, I would use one of them to spell Sano at 1B as both Arraez and Astudillo are too short, in my opinion, to play there, or to give Cruz a day off.  

 

If Kirilloff and Rooker show they are ready, both Astudillo and Garlick can be sent down or DFA'd, as both play the OF and can spell 1B and DH and let's face it, a third C is truly a luxury, not a necessity.

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Disappointed that both Rooker and Kiriloff are sent down and Garlick who is also seeing his numbers diminish is kept.  What does that say to prospects?  I think there needs to be some concern over how young players are judged and handled.  

 

I am also interested in how the ST stats don't count comments can be used both to justify release and justify retention.  Do they count or don't they?  Inconsistency is really a bad thing. 

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I hoped to see Rooker but eh, okay. I hope Garlick does well and it all works out.

 

Astudillo doesn’t surprise me in the least and I’m not a huge fan of the guy or anything. He has bad versatility but it’s still versatility. And he’s a solid choice for pinch-hitting, allowing Baldelli to slot him around the field for a couple of innings. It’s not a bad skill set for literally the last guy on the roster.

 

If his OPS craters like it did in 2019, I don’t expect him to last long and that may be the end of Willians in a Twins uniform.

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1) Astudillo is versatile and has spent most of a season as a bench player for the Twins. He has elite ability to make contact and his presence will allow more ready substitution between Garver and Jeffers. IMHO, I would rate the Turtle's defensive skills as below average everywhere including the defense-oriented position of catcher. For Astudillo to fill in occasionally at first, third, left and right probably wouldn't do much harm. Certainly, he wouldn't be a choice to step in as a regular. 

 

2) Garlick has been passed around on the verge of the majors for years. His upside is likely at best a platoon player, but he's had a good spring from beginning to end. 

 

3) I've never thought that Rooker was on the same page as a prospect as either Larnach or Kirilloff. The strikeouts seemed to be a red flag and while he has good power, he doesn't have many other tools that project as even above average. I've been of the opinion that since we, the fans, saw Rooker play and do well that his upside is pretty high. I just don't think so. It might make sense to give him a month or so of at-bats to see what he can do, but my personal expectations aren't high.

 

The last two years the Twins had two players capable of filling in for a week or so where they wouldn't hurt the club defensively or who could fill in on occasion without being a real defensive step down. That isn't the case this year. There will be a noticeable fall off is Donaldson, Simmons, Kepler or Buxton are not on the field. Bench players Arraez and Astudillo are bat-first guys. The other bench players are the alternate catcher and either Cave or Garlick.

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Let's say you have a couple of players you really value long-term (Rooker and Kiriloff) and a couple of players who seem like decent wildcards (Astudillo and Garlick). The long-term guys look a little less ready than the wildcard guys. And you need ready players in the lineup every day, because you're a contending team. That means if you call up the long-term guys, and they fail, you can't bench them, so you have to send them down, which means you've burned one of their options. And their options are much more valuable than the options on the wildcard guys that you will burn when you probably, eventually, move on from the wildcard guys. Guard the valuable options, gamble with the less valuable options. Good roster management.

 

 

As far as the options goes, the options have already been used on Kirilloff and Rooker just by sending them down, unless they are down for less than 20 days total for the year. I think that is the rule.

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I am excited to eventually see Rooker and Kirilloff play for the Twins, but I think Garlick is better than what anybody is giving him credit for. He has tremendous power and destroys left handed pitching.

I saw him play once. I think it was the Arizona Fall League.

And remember, he came up in the Dodger organization, so he didn't get many MLB opportunities.

 

People seem to gloss over the fact that he did post a .840 OPS for the Dodgers in 2019 in 48 AB. Sure its a small sample size, but who's to say if he had the chance to play more those numbers wouldn't be better, especially since his 2019 minor league numbers were fantastic. 

 

Sure he had a bad 2020, but everybody else is getting a pass for that year so why not him as well.

 

I honestly think Garlick is going to surprise everybody and be the Twins best OF this season

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Bullet point approach:

 

1] Garlik over Rooker is a surprise to me, despite Garlik's ST, and a bit of a surprise. Did Rooker look that bad the last week? I guess I can understand this move...and it's initial, not permanent...but I would have gone with the younger player with upside. Garlik has borderline great milb numbers but it's never translated to the ML level at this point. Maybe he's ready to do something really good at this point. Maybe this is short term. Maybe Rooker is up before you know it.

 

But despite a great ST, I would have sent Garlik down for the younger Rooker despite a bad week. I would disagree with this choice, but I can understand the initial choice even if I don't like it.

 

2] Astudillo made it, and I always expected he would. And it makes sense. Despite a few bad streaks when hurt or coming off the IL and getting in a rhythm, he has shown he can hit at the ML level. He's even developed some pop/power over the past couple of seasons. You have a 26 man roster, not 30. When it comes to the last position player on the team, you can keep an infielder who can pick it but not hit, OR, an extra OF who you have to try playing time and AB for, OR, you can keep a guy who can play decent/mediocre defense at multiple positions without embarrassing himself and who can hit some.

 

You don't have to be a fan of Astudillo to rezlize he has value as a fill-in/role player to provide roster flexibility. Not sure if he has a spot beyond 2021 with some guys coming up soon, but he fits a role for now.

 

3] A few years ago, the Twins would keep Waddell and Law on the roster. But there just isn't room NOW because the pen is filled out right now, even if you have a little trepidation about how well the pen is going to perform as constructed currently.

 

Who would you replace at this time? Further, who would you cut and probably lose off the 40 man at this point when you don't have to cut anyone AT THIS POINT? You don't have to cut anyone RIGHT NOW. Not until there is a need, and THEN you have to make a decision. But not today.

 

4] Riddell over Lin and Farrell over Law on the taxi squad surprises me. Riddell over Lin must be pure SS decision, but surprises me. Farrell over Law kinda shocks me unless Law tweaked something recently.

 

Always remember, this is the opening day roster, not the one that will be the bulk of the season roster we will see. Every team, INCLUDING contending teams, run through 8 SP or more. They all run through an extra 3-5 RP at some point. They all have a position player or two who gets hurt, washes out, or who isn't ready, etc.

 

* Dobnak and Thorpe are going to play big roles for the staff.

 

* Law, Waddell and possibly Farrell and others, including a couple prospect arms, are going to factor in the bullpen at some point due to need, injury, etc. The FO has built depth options, but there could be a couple rough 40 man moves to be made for them.

 

* Kirilloff, and maybe Rooker, are going to be up at some point. Kkrilloff will settle in as the LF on an almost daily basis by sometime in May.

 

* Gordon and Blankenhorn will help the infield, but hopefully not too much. That would mean our infield stayed mostly healthy.

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My two cents here is I'd rather have Rooker playing everyday in AAA than one or two times a week in the majors. Also makes more sense to keep Willians on the roster because he could go a week without getting into a game and be fine. Not sure you could say that about Rooker or Kiriloff.

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