Monday, March 27, 2017

The Twins Final 25

My first Minnesota Twins 25 man roster projection came out way back in January, the second version was then looked at in the middle of March. Now with Spring Training virtually over, it's time to get serious about who's coming north. It seems pretty clear who Minnesota will bring, but before the final announcement is made, I need to take one last shot.

The Twins still have just over 40 guys left in camp, and 10 of them are non-roster guys. A few of them have already been told they'll be reassigned to Rochester, so that helps with clarity a bit further. Given what we know, here's how I see the final 25 shaking out.

Rotation (5)

  • Ervin Santana
  • Hector Santiago
  • Kyle Gibson
  • Phil Hughes
  • Tyler Duffey
Paul Molitor recently told Mike Berardino that Santiago would start game 2 behind Santana, with Gibson to follow. That means Hughes gets the fourth game of the year and the fifth starter makes their debut against the White Sox. While the 5th starter could have been Trevor May or Adalberto Mejia, it's Tyler Duffey who has had a spring worthy of holding onto the job. I still think long term he profiles best in the pen, but to start 2017, this is where he begins.

Starting Lineup (9)
  • Jason Castro C
  • Joe Mauer 1B
  • Brian Dozier 2B
  • Jorge Polanco SS
  • Miguel Sano 3B
  • Eddie Rosario LF
  • Byron Buxton CF
  • Max Kepler RF
  • ByungHo Park DH
No changes here from roster projection 2.0. Kennys Vargas was given the opportunity to win the DH spot and simply fell short. He went to the WBC, didn't play, and then got hurt when he returned. I remain skeptical Vargas is a productive big leaguer, and while the injury gives Minnesota something to pin it on, the reality is that Park is simply the better DH option.

If there's something of intrigue here, it's that Eddie Rosario put together a really nice WBC and spring in general. He's expanding the zone just a bit less, and looks locked in defensively. If he can bring back some of the magic from his rookie season, the Twins stand to benefit big time.

Bench (4)
  • Eduardo Escobar
  • Robbie Grossman
  • Chris Gimenez
  • Danny Santana
Much remains the same here from the roster projection earlier this month. Drew Stubbs failed to capitalize on his opportunity to take Grossman's spot and has been released. The biggest difference is the inclusion of Danny Santana.

The final bench spot should've (and likely would've) been Ehire Adrianza's. A strained oblique late in spring training is going to have him open the season on the DL, and that likely saves Santana from the DFA that was looming. I don't see him as a productive big leaguer, he plays poor defense everywhere and struggles with the bat, but he's going to get a couple weeks to prove it.

Bullpen (7)
  • Brandon Kitnzler Closer
  • Ryan Pressly Setup
  • Matt Belisle
  • Justin Haley
  • Craig Breslow
  • Taylor Rogers
  • Alex Wimmers
The bullpen has seen a little bit of a shakeup since earlier this month. Chargois was optioned to Triple-A, and while it would've been nice to see him make the big league club, the reality was that a shaky spring did him in. I expect him to grab saves for Minnesota at some point in 2017, but he'll start the year on the farm.

Taking the place of Chargois comes down to a two man race between Michael Tonkin and Alex Wimmers. The former is out of options and likely wouldn't pass through waivers, but his spring hasn't been indicative of a guy the Twins can rely on. Coming back on a minor league deal, Wimmers has been solid enough in the limited spring action, and could offer some value in middle relief. His velocity has seen a spike since moving to the pen, he has been a better pitcher. It remains a tossup as to what the Twins do there, but Tonkin may have used his last chance.

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