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.
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