2010 Roster Projections: Minnesota Twins

21 Mar

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net

Alright, Opening Day is just two weeks away. The minor league seasons will begin in about 2 ½ weeks. It’s late time for me to post my roster projections. I know a lot of people in the cities of the Twins affiliates appreciate this, having an idea of who they may be able to see in their home stadium this year. Today I will be posting my projected Twins roster. Tomorrow I’ll post my projection on the Rochester Roster and so on through the week until I post my projected Beloit roster on Friday.

So here we go, starting with, the Minnesota Twins:

The Hitters

C Joe Mauer
1B Justin Morneau
2B Orlando Hudson
3B Brendan Harris
SS JJ Hardy
LF Delmon Young
CF Denard Span
RF Michael Cuddyer
DH Jason Kubel
Bu C Drew Butera
Bu IF Nick Punto
Bu IF,OF Alexi Casilla
Bench Jim Thome
DL (Jose Morales)

 Analysis: I guess there really aren’t any surprises here. Yes, Nick Punto will likely start at 3B just as much as Brendan Harris. I think as long as he isn’t traded, Alexi Casilla will make the roster because he is out of options and they don’t want to lose him for nothing. And, I think I’ve been fairly clear on my thoughts that Wilson Ramos needs at bats and time behind the plate, so being a backup, even for a short time, makes no sense. Mauer, Morneau, Hudson, Hardy, Young, Span, Cuddyer, Kubel, Thome. This is a pretty exciting lineup that is going to score a lot of runs.

The Pitchers 

SP Scott Baker
SP Nick Blackburn
SP Kevin Slowey
SP Carl Pavano
SP Francisco Liriano
CL Matt Guerrier
8L Jose Mijares
8R Jon Rauch
BP Jesse Crain
BP Pat Neshek
BP Anthony Slama
BP Clay Condrey
DL (Joe Nathan)

Analysis: Starting Five looks set and looks really good. We’ve spent the last couple of months trying to convince ourselves that Francisco Liriano could turn things around, and so far, so good. The other four are just very solid, if not underrated. I put Matt Guerrier in the closer’s role, just because he did such a good job in the 8th inning (often against the other team’s best hitters), that there is no reason to think he can’t do it in the 9th inning. If not, Jon Rauch, Jesse Crain or even Pat Neshek can get the job done. My thoughts on Neshek’s return have changed somewhat. He appears to be back and continues to get better and stronger. I now believe that he will make this roster, and who knows, by midseason, he could be closing too. Clay Condrey hasn’t been very good in spring, but he was solid for the Phillies the last three years, so I trust that over six or seven innings in March. Finally, the final bullpen spot may be determined by how much Gardy wants a second left-hander. If he is insistent upon it, then Brian Duensing is the guy. If he’s looking for the best relief pitcher, then Anthony Slama is the guy. Slama hasn’t pitched much this spring, but when he has, he has done well. It will be good to see him facing some big league hitters the next couple of weeks.

If you would like, you can e-mail me, or feel free to leave your comments here.


19 Responses to “2010 Roster Projections: Minnesota Twins”

  1. Andrew March 21, 2010 at 10:48 pm #

    I hate to be negative, but I don’t see how Anthony Slama makes the roster to start the season. Gardy seems so happy to carry 2 LHP in his bullpen that I could easily see him lobby for Brian Duensing to make the team.

  2. thrylos98 March 21, 2010 at 10:52 pm #

    I would agree with that… I think that for Slama to make the roster, Condrey needs to go (and that’s more than ok.) Unless the Twins find a trading partner, Perkins will be a reliever and, I so hope that Neshek gets the node for closer…

  3. wlfleisch March 21, 2010 at 11:06 pm #

    no question who the starting 3b is, in my opinion. when punto plays, the twins win. say what you will about his batting average but the dude makes plays and contributes nightly, even when he takes an 0-fer.

    if not slama, perkins will make the team as long reliever. duensing will be needed as starter sooner or later and will be ready and waiting in AAA.

    i agree that condrey deserves every chance to prove his worth. and he will get it.

    guerrier gets my vote for closer. he can get lefties and righties out. he has the mental make-up. and most importantly, i think, he has the backing of everyone in the clubhouse. he’s been through the battles and is still around to talk about it. the key will be getting it to him in the 9th.

  4. Perry March 22, 2010 at 7:58 am #

    What about Maroth? He has looked pretty decent at times this spring.

  5. Nicky March 22, 2010 at 8:25 am #

    Ramos needs at bats even for a short time???? The Red Wings don’t start games for 2 weeks after the Twins start makes that a very poor reason. A few weeks in the ML will do him more good than sitting around in Roch waiting for the season to start.

  6. Han Joelo March 22, 2010 at 8:43 am #

    If Ramos gets sent down, I hope it is to start taking grounders at third base. OK, just joking, kind of.

    Casilla hasn’t been stellar, but I think he’s done enough, and even though I’d already given up on him, I’m ready to give him a fifth chance, or whatever I’m up to. He may yet be that 2011 opening day 2B.

    Cuddy can get it done in CF on occasion. Haven’t really seen Punto or Casilla in the OF at all this spring, have we?

    Whether or not he makes the opening day roster, Slama will be a bigger factor in the bullpen by the end of the year than Condrey or even Crain. He should be due for a big test against major leaguers in a Spring game soon. I’d love to see him come in and try to clean up a bases loaded mess.

    Condrey is like the red shirted guy on Star Trek–every episode had one, and every bullpen needs one–the sacrificial lamb. But I’ll be interested to see who the Rochester starters will be if both Duensing and Perkins are there. Will probably keep a guy like Mullins down at AA.

  7. mike wants wins March 22, 2010 at 9:11 am #

    Casilla was one of the 5 worst players in baseball last year. He can neither hit nor field. He wasn’t much better the year before, and he was never that good in the minors. I don’t get the obsession with him at all. I really don’t get it. Plenty of guys are athletes, that doesn’t make them good baseball players.

    Ramos will do what for the first two weeks of the season? Extended spring – how is that more valuable than being up with the Twins? He’s now a backup for the next 3-5 years – do you really think his long term impact will be effected by not playing much this year? It’s a waste of his bat, frankly, to keep him at catcher. He’s probably a better hitter than 6 of the Twins’ lineup/bench right now. I suppose if you want to give away at bats for 5 games this month (or longer, if Morales can’t play), that’s your choice (and probably the Twins’ choice), but for a team that thinks it can win the WS, I don’t get why you’d do that.

    At some point, the Twins need to realize that youth will need to be on the roster. At $23MM for one player, you are going to need guys making the minimum, and you are going to need to trust those guys to play. Slama has nothing left to prove in the minors (or maybe he does, but he wouldn’t if they hadn’t held him back needlessly the last two years – this is the problem with holding him back, now they can say he’s never proven it at AAA and send him down).

    I think the contract they are going to regret is the Harris contract. He’s probably not much better than Valencia or Hughes, but they now have to pay some millions, instead of the minimum. I agree with Ruesse, they sent those guys down because they didn’t want them to continue outplaying Harris, Cassila and Tolbert and raising questions about the front office’s decision making prowess.

    This looks like a team that can do some serious damage, if Slowey and Baker are healthy and Pavano doesn’t implode. I’d prefer they not waste any at bats, defense, or roster spots on guys that have shown over years of play that they aren’t any good.

    • Nicky March 22, 2010 at 10:26 am #

      Harris has done just fine this spring. The bad contract is LNP’s he is still hitting in 100’s and will likely still start. Tolbert is not a ML player and Casilla hasn’t shown he is anything but a flash in the pan. Agreed that Hughes probably should have been given the last spot. Losing Casilla and/or Tolbert is not a big deal.

  8. mike wants wins March 22, 2010 at 10:40 am #

    I’m no fan of the LNP contract, but it is more than a year old, so I just wasn’t going back that far.

  9. TT March 22, 2010 at 11:01 am #

    I think the last bullpen spot is still open. We are now into the period where those decisions will be made.

    The real question with Slama is whether his odd delivery will work for long against major league hitters. That may not be obvious from his results in spring training. It is a judgment the Twins coaching staff is going to have to make start the season. Part of that decision may depend on how good the alternatives are.

    If Slama doesn’t start in the bullpen, Slama will probably get a call at some point. The question of what happens once hitters have seen his delivery a couple times won’t be answered for a while. But if he is effective even briefly, he can help the team this season.

    I agree on Ramos. He belongs at AA/AAA catching every day. He needs to show he has the durability to do that without having his offense go to pieces. And the only real way to learn baseball is repetitions. You don’t get those sitting on the bench watching games.

    Punto is going to be at third base opening day, but Harris is going to play there plenty as well. Their performance will determine the mix.

    I think people are continuing to overestimate Hughes and Valencia. Gardy’s comments about Valencia needing work on hitting breaking balls is a huge red flag. If Hughes can play second base, his bat will be a plus. But I don’t think they really know that yet. If that is his only position he needs to be able to play it every day. There is not much call in the big leagues for backup second basemen.

  10. mike wants wins March 22, 2010 at 11:31 am #

    I’m sure I’m over-estimating both Valencia and Hughes, but that’s probably because I’ve been forced to watch Casilla on and off for the last few years….

  11. 8th inning guy March 22, 2010 at 4:37 pm #

    I hope the twins bring up Ramos instead of butera. How could his role be much different now than two years from now? He’s going to be a backup catcher and a d-h no matter when he gets here. Especially considering the twins need righty batters vs. lefty pitchers/bench right now. If the twins are serious about bringing the best team north, and winning at the major league level is priority one and not service time, then no way does butera make it. No way. Worst case senario is he gets sent back down when morales is ready. Not sure how a few weeks at the majors would be senseless.

  12. torse March 22, 2010 at 6:44 pm #

    Butera over ramos? IALTO

  13. 8th inning guy March 22, 2010 at 7:29 pm #

    neshek for closer? I like nesheck but it wont suprise me if he’s only going to end up a situational righty? I’m not sure the frisbie scares any lefty who has already seen him.

  14. GBG March 22, 2010 at 8:48 pm #

    Why start Ramos’ service time clock now for five games’ worth of ABs? Especially if we’re going to watching budget like a CPA in a wallet factory…

  15. mike wants wins March 22, 2010 at 10:15 pm #

    Because Ramos is better than Butera, and they are trying win the WS. I thought they were done being cheap….and if they are, here is one more chance to prove it (though it would also be reasonable to send him down to get better at his craft).

  16. Seth March 22, 2010 at 10:21 pm #

    54 games in AA. This has nothing to do with being cheap. people make too much of starting the arbitration clock. it’s about him getting better and he can’t do that by sitting on the bench.

    Also, the minor league seasons start just 2-3 days after teh major league opener, not 2-3 weeks.

  17. mike wants wins March 23, 2010 at 8:28 am #

    Ah, my bad on the timing Seth. Like I said, it would be reasonable to send him down for him to get better, but most fans seem to be saying send him down to save money…..and if teams don’t delay having guys up to slow the clock, why is Strasburg going down? Teams do it all the time (as the Twins did with Liriano a couple of years ago). It happens. To deny it is unrealistic.

  18. DH in Philly March 23, 2010 at 9:32 am #

    Just because they are done being cheap, doesn’t mean they start being stupid.

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