Thursday, February 14, 2013

Twins Roster Competition

Here is how the Twins roster stacks up going into spring training:

Outfield (4):
Ink: Willingham, Mastroianni
Pencil: Parmelee
Competing: Hicks, Benson
Longshots: Arcia

Willingham is set in left. Parmelee is likely in right. Mastroianni will compete with Hicks and Benson for the center field spot. If he loses, he will be on the roster as a 4th outfielder. If Mastroianni wins the starting center field position, Benson may have a shot as  the 4th outfielder. More likely is that spot gets filled by someone not on the roster.  The 4th outfielder needs to be able to play center field since none of the other outfielders can play there. Willingham, Parmelee, Mauer and Doumit are not center fielders even in an emergency.

Ink: Mauer, Doumit
Pencil: Butera
Minors: Herrmann, Pinto

I think this is all but set. Its possible they will go with only two catchers, but very doubtful. Mauer will likely catch more games this year and Doumit fewer. But, with both of them in the lineup most days, they are going to want to have a catcher on the bench.

Ink: Morneau, Carroll
Pencil: Plouffe
Competing Florimon, Dozier, Escobar
Minors: Santana

Plouffe could lose his spot if he hasn't improved in the field and his bat looks more like it did at the end of last year than it did in June. Florimon, because of his defense, is the front runner for shortstop. Dozier is probably competing for second base after the defensive deficiencies he showed as a shorstop last year. Escobar   plays second, third and shortstop and is proably the favorite for the utility position. Since Carroll can take any of those roles, the Twins have a lot of options to sort through.

Ink: Pelfrey, Diamond,Worley, Correia
Competing: Gibson, de Vries, Hendriks
Minors: Hernandez, Hermsen, May

The competition for 5th starter is really wide open with a number of non-roster invitees also in the mix.

Ink: Perkins, Burton, Duensing
Pencil: Burnett, Swarzak, Fien
Competing: Robertson, Pressly, Wood, Thielbar, Roenicke
Minors: Tonkin

Swarzak is injured, so he may not be ready to start the season. Burnett could lose his spot, but its not likely. Fien will need to show last year was not a fluke.

Like the 5th rotation spot, the last two spots in the bullpen are really wide open, with a number of non-roster invitees in the mix. Robertson is a lefty, which gives him a spot up on others. Pressly is a Rule 5 guy so they need to keep or lose him.

25 Roster Spot:
Pencil: 6th Infielder
Competing: 8th reliever, 5th outfielder, DH

The Twins have a lot of versatile players. But the infield is where they are weakest. Having some extra guys to allow for pinch hitters might make sense.

Doumit can play right field and first base. So can Joe Mauer. So they don't really need a 5th outfielder.

Carrying an 8th reliever might happen if they want to keep Pressly around.

The bench will be pretty light on hitting when both Doumit and Mauer are in the lineup. Using the 25th spot for a bat may make the most sense. While I listed this as DH, that could be a guy who can play first base or the outfield, but who is primarily on the roster as a hitter. No one currently on the roster fits in a bench hitter role, so this might be an opening for one of the non-roster guys. There are a number of non-roster players who will be considered for the other positions as well.

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