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  • Projecting Minnesota’s 2025 Line-Up


    Cody Christie

    Following a disappointing 2021 season, looking to the future offers Twins fans a little hope. Here is a look at what players may populate the team’s line-up in four years.

    Image courtesy of Dan Hamilton, USA TODAY Sports

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    Below you will see Minnesota’s projected line-up and each player’s age during the 2025 campaign. 

    Catcher: Ryan Jeffers (27)
    Ryan Jeffers struggled through parts of the 2021 season, but expectations are still high for him to become the team’s primary catcher in the years ahead. In 2025, he will be 27-years-old and be in his second year of arbitration eligibility. Backing up Jeffers will likely be Ben Rortvedt, who made his debut last season. 

    First Base: Alex Kirilloff (27)
    Alex Kirilloff primarily split his time between the corner outfield and first base (22 OF starts, 21 1B starts) during his brief big-league career, but first base will be his eventual defensive home. He has a chance to be one of the league’s best defenders at the position. His bat will be above average no matter where he ends up on the defensive side of the ball. In 2025, he should be a regular in the middle of the line-up while powering Minnesota’s offense. 

    Second Base: Jorge Polanco (31)
    Jorge Polanco is coming off his most valuable big-league season, so it is interesting to consider what the next handful of years can mean for his career. The 2025 campaign is the last season in which he is under team control from the contract he signed before the 2019 season. Last season, FanGraphs put Polanco’s value at $31.4 million, and he will make $12 million in 2025. 

    Shortstop: Royce Lewis (25)
    This winter, Minnesota has an opportunity to take advantage of one of arguably the best free-agent shortstop classes in baseball history. However, Royce Lewis is one of the team’s top prospects, and they may have confidence in him holding down shortstop to start his big-league career. He hasn’t played a game in two seasons, so the 2022 campaign will go a long way to determining his eventual defensive home. 

    Third Base: Jose Miranda (26)
    Josh Donaldson’s contract can run through the 2024 season, leaving third base wide open for Jose Miranda. Expectations are for Miranda to make his big-league debut in 2022, and he should start getting regular reps at third base in the upcoming campaign. He’s coming off a tremendous season at Double- and Triple-A, and the team just added him to the 40-man roster this winter.  

    Left Field: Austin Martin (26)
    Austin Martin is an intriguing prospect, but his defensive future is still up for debate. He has spent most of his professional career playing shortstop or center field, and he played a lot of third base in college. With Buxton manning center, Martin can slide to a corner outfield position and provide above-average defense. Hopefully, Martin’s power tool improves in the years ahead, so he becomes a perfect corner outfield fit. 

    Center Field: Byron Buxton (31)
    If the Twins hadn’t signed Byron Buxton to an extension, multiple prospects would be considered as the team’s center fielder of the future. Lewis and Martin have both seen time in the outfield, and Gilberto Celestino has played plenty in center. Those players can be secondary options because Buxton is one of baseball’s best players when he is healthy. In the years ahead, it is going to be interesting to see how Buxton ages. Some of his game relies on speed and athleticism. Will the team have to move him out of center field by 2025?

    Right Field: Trevor Larnach (28)
    There’s no question that Trevor Larnach struggled during the 2021 season, but he had only played 43 games above the High-A level entering last year. Larnach was Minnesota’s first-round pick in 2018 because of his college experience at Oregon State and his powerful bat. By 2025, he should be a solid everyday outfielder with plenty of pop. 

    Designated Hitter: Miguel Sano (31)
    Designated hitter is an interesting position to try and project for the long-term. Minnesota has multiple prospects like Brent Rooker and Aaron Sabato that don’t have a defensive home. However, Miguel Sano has hit 30 home runs or more in two of the last three seasons. Will the team be willing to continue paying him $9-10 million or turn the position over to someone younger?

    Who do you think fits into the team’s 2025 line-up? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. 

    PREVIOUS YEAR’S PREDICTIONS
    2022 Line-Up
    2023 Line-Up
    2024 Line-Up

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    That actually may not be too different than our 2023 lineup. 
     

    Agree with the cjm that Sabato could be in the DH spot by 2025. 
     

    Rortvedt will hopefully be around and doing up to 1/2 the catching. He’s very good and our catching should be set for years behind Jeffers and Rortvedt. 
     

    My big question mark is SS. Nothing would make me happier than to see Lewis there.  But I think the jury is still out as to his defensive skill base. I could see us looking for a different solution and then Lewis mans RF. A four man outfield of Martin, Buxton, Lewis and Larnach (with Larnach providing a left handed DH option as well) could be a winning combo for years. 
     

    Another great attribute of this lineup is the cost.  Between ‘23 and ‘25, only Buxton, Polanco and Sano cost very much (excluding extensions and what we do at SS). That entire lineup, even with bench players Rortvedt, Arraez, and some combo of Gordon, Celestino,  Rooker, etc. would probably run less than $50MM per annum.  That leaves plenty to build the pitching staff, particularly with one top end FA or trade starter and, of course, a shut down pen.

    I'm not fretting about ‘22. In fact I will be judging the year on how our young talent develops. But I’m sure getting excited about the window that will start to open in ‘23.  

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    Very interesting that all of your lineup are presently in the Twins organization with only Sano needing to be extended to still be around in '25.

    Like Nashville, I would expect Rortvedt to split the catching duties or even be the main guy as his defense is much better.  A few of the younger kids will need to continue improving towards their ceiling.  Hopefully, one or two will max out and become a real star.

    What your presentation really says, however, is that any position players the Twins bring in should be on very short contracts, ie, next year's shortstop.  Do you envision Arraez still being around as a utility guy and part-time DH? 

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    Not that I want to jump to 2025, but if those guys progress the way they have potential to, that will be a lot of decent guys at or near prime years.  A couple just past prime or just before.  Might be an exciting year, if we have some pitching to go along with them. 

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    I think this is just about spot on when trying to forward project with the best possible accuracy. I'm 50/50 on Sano being on the club. I think there's a good chance, as dex8425 stated, that Sabato and Wallner are on the club by then. Good chance Sabato is the primary DH with others rolling through the spot on occasion. 

    Taking things a bit further, I'd also see Celestino as the primary 4th OF. I just have a good feeling about him and think he just fits so many roles as a PR/4th OF with range and acceptable arm, who should decent power/pop and SB ability.

    The reserve infield options are just so hard to predict! As much as I love Arraez and think he can be a key part of the top of the lineup the next few years, and while also believing Gordon just may carve out a nice niche as a speedy, athletic, multi-depth piece, I can absolutely see both Steer and Julian pushing for spots to replace them by then.

    The thing I'm really excited about when you look at this player roster is the tremendous flexibility you have not only in regard lineup construction, but the versatility for so many guys to fit in to so many different positions comfortably due to days off or injury.

    I am really, really hoping the Twins can keep this new, potential nucleus in place while still adding to the pitching side the next year or two, without compromising what we are seeing here. FA is an option that only costs $, not prospects. And for the 100th time, sorry, can they add via trade without said compromise by pulling off another Odorizzi or Maeda type of trade?

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    Forget Larnach.  If he is brought up by the Twins again, I expect he will prove he cannot hit Major League pitching and will be gone forever.  Don't give up on Kepler. If he hits well in 2022, he'll  probably be a Twin in 2025. :)

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    You're projecting 3 FULL seasons from now.  I expect there to be greater roster turnover by then.  Yes, Buxton will be in CF and Polanco will probably be at 2B but too many of our current players are in your 2025 projection.  I'm not down on Larnach.  Far from it.  I just see Larnach being dealt for SP'ing.  I see Rortvedt as the starting catcher. And maybe Trevor Story as our SS.  We have no idea who the Twins would have drafted and who would have matriculated up to the Big leagues quickly.  Maybe we sign an international player who explodes in the minors and is the next Juan Soto ??  I like the overall topic, but looking three FULL seasons ahead you need a crystal ball, and none of us have that.

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