A lot of fans lament about how players get better after they leave the Twins, and sometimes it’s fun to draw up a 25-man roster of former players to see just how true that is.

We’ve changed that up a little bit with this exercise, however. Here, we’re looking for players who have Twins fingerprints on them. Did a player get picked in the Rule 5 draft and get sent back? They would count. Did the Twins draft them but not sign them? Pick ‘em up! Did they go to spring training but not make the team? Let’s go!

So what’s the best team we can make out of players who have the Twins’ fingerprints on them?

Let’s see what we can come up with:

Starting Lineup

  • C – Jason Castro (current)
  • 1B – Yonder Alonso (16th-round pick in 2005)
  • 2B – Brian Dozier (current)
  • 3B – Miguel Sano (current)
  • SS – Jorge Polanco (current)
  • LF – George Springer (48th-round pick in 2008)
  • CF – Byron Buxton (current)
  • RF – Aaron Hicks (2013-15)
  • DH – J.D. Martinez (36th-round pick in 2006)

This is a pretty damn good offense. No room for Joe Mauer and no room for Max Kepler in the starting lineup or even on the bench. I’m not sure how I’d line things up, but Hicks at the top probably starts things, and this team is going to score a ton of runs. I wasn’t expecting Castro behind the plate, but I’m also not buying Kurt Suzuki’s ridiculous season with the Braves, either.  

Bench

  • C – Wilson Ramos (2010)
  • IF – Steve Pearce (45th-round pick in 2003)
  • IF/OF – Kolten Wong (16th-round pick in 2008)
  • OF – Eddie Rosario (current)

Same deal here with Ramos, as he’s having a poor season (71 wRC+) but is still young enough (30) to have a much brighter future than Suzuki. Pearce can play all over, and while we don’t have a natural shortstop on the bench, it’s not like this team is going to actually take the field, so we don’t have to be too slavish to roster limits. Pearce is having a really solid year as a utility guy for the Blue Jays (.260/.329/.456), and Wong seems to have settled in nicely with the Cardinals in a breakout season (.305/.388/.446). Rosario versus Kepler came down to how they’re performing this year, and the fact that the former handles lefties better — but both have bright futures.

Rotation

  • SP – Ervin Santana (current)
  • SP – Jose Berrios (current)
  • SP – Chase Anderson (42nd-round pick in 2006, 40th-round pick in 2007)
  • SP – Jason Vargas (43rd-round pick in 2001)
  • SP – Jaime Garcia (2017)

This isn’t a star-studded rotation by any means, but if it were paired with the current Twins, they might have a chance to challenge the Indians based on how this season has gone. Everybody has watched how the season has gone for Berrios and Santana, but Anderson is quietly having a really great season for the neighbors to the east (2.96 ERA, 3.70 FIP in 106.1 innings). Vargas has been pretty solid for the Royals this year (3.87 ERA), and since 2012 has a 3.83 ERA in almost 800 innings. Garcia is a solid back-end guy who I liked more than Alex Meyer and/or R.A. Dickey, but I wouldn’t beat you up over choosing them over him or Vargas, really.

Bullpen

  • RP – Pat Neshek
  • RP – Kyle Barraclough
  • RP – Anthony Swarzak
  • RP – Liam Hendriks
  • RP – Trevor Hildenberger
  • RP – Brandon Kintzler
  • RP – Tyler Duffey

This would be a pretty dirty bullpen, and it doesn’t include Brian Duensing, who is having a really good year with the Cubs. It also doesn’t include Taylor Rogers — who could easily be added if you want a lefty — Ryan Pressly, Alan Busenitz or Matt Belisle. In short, the current bullpen isn’t too bad, but this one would be better. Neshek is having an absolutely brilliant season (1.55 ERA in 52.1 innings). Barraclough walks too many batters but has nasty stuff, and Hendriks is having a superficially ugly season as well (4.89 ERA, 3.37 FIP, 11.3 K/9). Swarzak, like Duensing, has made something out of nothing and earned a trade into a playoff race with his strong start with the White Sox, while everyone knows what Kintzler, Duffey and Hildenberger have been capable of this season.

So what would your team look like. Do you think you can do better?


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Brandon Warne covers the Twins for Cold Omaha, and has had his work featured in numerous places across the United States. Locally, Warne’s work has appeared at the Minneapolis Star Tribune, St. Paul Pioneer Press, 1500 ESPN and Go96.3 for writing and audio, and he’s also had written work appear on Baseball Prospectus, Fangraphs and cited in the Los Angeles Times. Warne lives in the outer Twin Cities suburbs with his wife, Amanda. Listen to his Cold Omaha podcast Midwest Swing. Follow Brandon on Twitter @Brandon_Warne.

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