Monday, March 12, 2018

Who Goes North 2.0

Back on February 27 I took a first look at what the Minnesota Twins 25 man roster may look like on Opening Day. Now roughly halfway through spring training, and with some roster changes to boot, it's time to take another stab at what Paul Molitor will have at his disposal in Baltimore. You can read the original projection here, but changes will also be reflected below.

Derek Falvey and Thad Levine have definitely outdone Minnesota offseasons of recent memory, and coming off a Postseason berth, they had plenty of incentive to supplement an up and coming squad. This club looks like it's going to make noise in both the Central and the American League as a whole. No matter where you look, there isn't a lot of obvious deficiencies in any of the positional groups.

With that groundwork laid, let's get into it:

Infielders (9)

  • Jason Castro C
  • Mitch Garver C
  • Ehire Adrianza Util
  • Brian Dozier 2B
  • Eduardo Escobar Util
  • Joe Mauer 1B
  • Jorge Polanco SS
  • Miguel Sano 3B
  • Logan Morrison 1B
This group remains the exact same. I'm still operating under the belief that Miguel Sano starts the season with the Twins. A suspension seems increasingly unlikely, and all spring indications have suggested his health is in a good place. Erick Aybar remains the fallback option if Sano isn't penciled in however. This group is very good, will be the backbone of the lineup, and was only aided by the inclusion of another slugger in Morrison.
Outfielders (4)
  • Byron Buxton CF
  • Robbie Grossman LF/RF
  • Max Kepler RF
  • Eddie Rosario LF
If it were up to me, I'd prefer Robbie Grossman be replaced by Zack Granite. As a fourth outfielder, Granite does significantly more for Minnesota than Grossman is able to. His speed is an asset off the bench, and he's well above average defensively. There's a slight downgrade in on-base skills with Granite, but that's still something his track record in the minors categorizes as an asset. With options remaining though, it's hard to see the Twins simply casting aside Grossman from the get go. They could make the move at any point, and from the start, seems best reasoned that they'll stick with the veteran.

Pitchers (12)

  • Jose Berrios SP
  • Lance Lynn SP
  • Jake Odorizzi SP
  • Kyle Gibson SP
  • Trevor Hildenberger RP
  • Phil Hughes RP
  • Zach Duke RP
  • Ryan Pressly RP
  • Addison Reed RP
  • Fernando Rodney RP
  • Taylor Rogers RP
  • Tyler Kinley RP
  • Adalberto Mejia SP
  • Tyler Duffey RP
With the recent addition of Lance Lynn, it's the pitchers where the most shuffling takes place for the Twins. Molitor has noted the club intends to go with a four-man rotation until Ervin Santana returns, which makes sense. That means Phil Hughes is pushed out of the group, and aside from a DL stint or DFA, he's destined for long relief. All spring, Minnesota has talked about stretching Tyler Duffey out and looking at him as a starter again. Given where things are currently, and with Duffey having an option remaining, a trip to Rochester doesn't seem that unlikely. It would get Rule 5 pick Tyler Kinley on the 25 man, and save the Twins from having to make an immediate trade with Miami in order to retain his rights. Taking the trip to Rochester with Duffey would be Mejia. He's probably the first man up among starters, and gives the Twins an added layer of depth before needing to call upon Fernando Romero or Stephen Gonsalves.

Glancing at this group, I think it's pretty clear that the 2017 areas of concern have been addressed, and 2018 should be a bright year for the guys at Target Field.