Projecting the Minnesota Twins Opening Day Roster -- Last Take

Just one week remains between now and Opening Day at Target Field against the Kansas City Royals. Here’s the final look at how we think the roster will shake out for that day and moving forward:

  • C- Jason Castro
  • 1B- Joe Mauer
  • 2B- Brian Dozier
  • 3B- Miguel Sano
  • SS- Jorge Polanco
  • LF- Eddie Rosario
  • CF- Byron Buxton
  • RF- Max Kepler
  • DH- Byungho Park

Changes/Breakdown: No changes. There’s still a non-zero chance the Twins could break camp with Kennys Vargas or even Robbie Grossman as the primary DH — which may open a bench spot for someone like J.B. Shuck — but at this point this seems fairly secure. Keep in mind we still don’t have any idea how this brain trust skews towards veterans, guys without options and so on.

  • C- Chris Gimenez
  • IF- Eduardo Escobar
  • IF/OF- Ehire Adrianza Danny Santana
  • OF- Robbie Grossman

Here are the previous roster projections:

Changes/Breakdown: For now it looks like Santana is saved by the Adrianza injury — a strained right oblique that will likely cause him to go on the disabled list — though that may just be a temporary reprieve. Adrianza as a late-inning defensive replacement might be a better roster fit than Santana, who can play all over but doesn’t hit much and isn’t an adept defender anywhere, really. He is, however, 14 months younger than Adrianza and does have more offensive potential, even if it’s based solely on the aberration that was his 2015 rookie season.

  • SP1- Ervin Santana
  • SP2- Kyle Gibson
  • SP3- Hector Santiago
  • SP4- Phil Hughes
  • SP5- Ryan Vogelsong Tyler Duffey

Changes/Breakdown: Here’s the first primary different from this regime as opposed to the last. Vogelsong probably would have been the odds-on favorite to break camp as the No. 5 starter under Terry Ryan and co., while Falvey and Levine decided quite early — relative to his opt-out date — that Vogelsong wasn’t going to be their guy. Giving Duffey one more crack at the spot while Jose Berrios lengthens out and Adalberto Mejia bides his time at Rochester isn’t the worst possible scenario. Don’t be shocked if 60 percent of this rotation is turned over at some point this season, though.

  • RP1- Justin Haley
  • RP2- Craig Breslow
  • RP3- Matt Belisle
  • RP4- Tyler Duffey Michael Tonkin
  • RP5- Taylor Rogers
  • RP6- Ryan Pressly
  • RP7- Brandon Kintzler

Changes/Breakdown: Here’s where I do think the front office will exercise going the safe route. Most fans don’t believe Tonkin would be a real loss, but giving him a short stint early in the season to see if he can keep the long ball in check wouldn’t necessarily spell disaster. Keeping Haley and optioning out guys like Buddy Boshers isn’t really disastrous, either.

Last players out: Berrios, Chargois, Buddy Boshers, Alex Wimmers, Mejia, J.B. Shuck.

Out of Options (via MLBTR): Adrianza, Escobar, Grossman, Polanco, D. Santana, Tonkin

Opening the season on the DL: Glen Perkins (probable 60-day), Trevor May (60-day), Ryan O’Rourke (10-day), Adrianza (10-day), Vargas (10-day).

Breakdown: Not a ton of change, here. The Twins will have to find a 40-man spot for Gimenez (probably Perkins) and Park. If they move on from Tonkin or don’t keep Haley, that’s probably the corresponding move. I’ve seen some people suggest John Ryan Murphy as on the bubble on Twitter, but I’m not totally sure about that yet. He’s only a year removed from being a solid offensive catcher — 100 wRC+ in 172 PA with the Yankees — so if he was put on waivers, I think he’d be claimed fairly quickly. If they move on from Adrianza instead of putting him on the disabled list — if that’s even allowed — that’s another spot, since he’s out of options. Boshers and O’Rourke probably make each other superfluous, but both have their uses when utilized properly, too.  

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