Monday, March 16, 2015

First Cut at the Twins' 25-man Opening Day Roster and Analysis of Remaining Spring Training Battles

After the 18 recent cuts the Twins made (some of them unannounced yet) yesterday, the camp roster was trimmed to 43 players.  I did provide a break down of those players by position yesterday, also mentioning whether they have options or whether they are on the 40-man roster.   Based on these numbers, I am taking a preliminary look at  the Twins' potential opening day roster, position by position:

Position players (13)

Catchers (2/3)

Suzuki, and one of Pinto/Fryer/Herrmann.  Herrmann might be added as a third catcher/Utility.  Fryer is not on the 40-man roster

Infield (6/7)

Mauer, Dozier, Santana, Escobar, Plouffe.  One or both of Vargas and Nunez.  Nunez is out of options


Outfield (4/5)


Arcia, Hunter and two or three of:  Hicks, Rosario, Robinson, Schafer. Schafer is out of options, Robinson is not on the 40-man roster.

Pitchers (12)

Starting Pitchers (5)

Hughes, Santana, Nolasco, Gibson; one of Milone, Pelfrey, May, Meyer.   All have options, but Pelfrey has to accept assignment.


Relief Pitchers (7)

Perkins, Duensing, Fien

one or two of Milone, Pelfrey, May, Meyer

two or three of Pressly, Stauffer, Thielbar, Tonkin, Achter, Graham, Thompson, Boyer, Pryor, Hamburger.  Stauffer and Graham (rule 5) have no options, Boyer and Hamburger are not on the 40 man roster.

These are the major battles right now in the Twins' camp:

The Starting Centerfielder and fourth outfielder:   Hicks/Scafer/Rosario/Robinson.  The first two have higher probability to win the CF starter.  If Scafer wins, both Hicks and Rosario will be optioned because they will need to play daily, making Robinson the fourth outfielder.  If Hicks or Rosario win the starting position, both Schafer and Robinson can make it as a fifth outfielder.  Robinson is on the 40-man roster, but might take Graham's spot if he does not stick.  Verdict:  Too early to tell, but looks like Hicks & Scafer will be the 2 who are going north

The backup Catcher: Pinto, Herrmann and Fryer are fighting for one spot.  Fryer is not on the 40-man roster, thus having a bigger mountain to climb.  Herrmann will be in the utility fight as well.  Verdict:  Too early to tell, both Herrmann and Pinto have been good with the bat this Spring, Fryer has not, but has been very good with the glove.  This might go until the last days.

The Utility Position: Nunez, the one of Schafer or Robinson who did not make the cut in the Outfield and Herrmann will be fighting for one position.   Verdict: Too close.  Scafer and Nunez are out of options, Robinson is not on the 40-man roster.

The 5th Starter and one or two bullpen positions: Milone, Pelfrey, May and Meyer are fighting for one spot. Verdict:  Milone and Pelfrey are the forerunners here, in a battle that will be bought to the end with the loser going to the pen.  I think that Meyer will likely start at Rochester; May has a chance to make the Twins' pen, thus getting 2 pen positions from this group.

The final 2-3 bullpen positions:   Pressly, Stauffer, Thielbar, Tonkin, Achter, Graham, Thompson, Boyer, Pryor, Hamburger.  The three most veteran pitchers in this group (Pressly, Stauffer and Tonkin) have been the Twins worst pitchers in Spring Training, while Hamburger, Pryor, Graham and Thompson have been shining.  Verdict: This can go both ways.  The safest would be to option May, and start with Stauffer, Thielbar and Graham.  Would it be the best?  Likely not, based on what Stauffer and Thielbar have shown.  Will be interesting to see how this will shake out as well.  This decision will also be very telling about Molitor's and Allen's philosophies.


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