Saturday, January 30, 2016

Twins 13 Position Players

Its an odd year for the Minnesota Twins. They go into spring training with their roster of 13 position players basically set. Its possible, maybe even likely, that there will be some surprises. But there does not appear to be any real wide open competition for any of the slots, including the bench,. So here is the likely opening day roster for 2016:

Catchers (2) Kurt Suzuki will start the year as the regular catcher again. His defense and handling of pitchers will make him the starter. The Twins acquired John Ryan Murphy will start the year as backup. He was acquired from the Mets as the catcher of the future and he may well take over the starting role by the end of the season. How much playing time will depend on how Suzuki does with the bat and how well Murphy handles the pitching staff.

First Base (2) Joe Mauer starts.  Byung Ho Park is the backup, but he will mostly DH.

Second Base (1) Brian Dozier

Third Base (1) Trevor Plouffe

Shortstop (1) Eduardo Escobar

Utility Players (2) Eduardo Nunez will return as one of the utility players. He can play all three infield positions and the outfield. Danny Santana is out of options and will be the other utility player. He is a better defender than Nunez in both center and at shortstop.  Its possible he will take over as the regular shortstop at some point during the season with Escobar taking the utility role.

Outfield (4) I think the Twins project the everyday outfield as Eddie Rosario in left, Byron Buxton in center and Miguel Sano in right. Oswaldo Arcia is out of options and will be the extra outfielder. As a left hander hitter, Arcia will also DH, sparing Park from hitting against some of the harder throwing right handers to start the season. The Twins have Santana and Nunez who can also play in the outfield so they don't really need a traditional fourth outfielder who can play all three positions.

Obviously injuries may effect this lineup. The Twins may decide Buxton's bat needs more seasoning. Santana and Arcia could play their way out of the organization in Spring Training. Its even possible that the Sano outfield experiment will flop or Park will be deemed not yet ready to face major league pitching. But, there aren't any open roster spots for someone like Max Kepler to take simply by having a hot spring. Unless someone else falters, there aren't any jobs open.

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