Opening Day roster predictions for the Twins
FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Opening Day roster for the Twins began to take shape today, as the club optioned catcher Drew Butera to Triple-A Rochester and reassigned catcher Dan Rohlfing, outfielder Brandon Boggs and infielders Jeff Clement and Ray Olmedo to Minor League camp.
The roster moves mean the Twins have 31 active players in camp, but that includes injured pitchers Tim Wood, Samuel Deduno, Rafael Perez and Rich Harden so it’s really down to just two roster decisions.
Wood is a candidate to start the year on the 15-day disabled list while Deduno, who is not on the 40-man roster, will likely start at Triple-A Rochester while he recovers from his groin injury. Perez and Harden are both throwing off the mound but are a ways away and not on the 40-man roster.
So with a week left in camp, here’s what I have as my predictions for Minnesota’s roster come Opening Day:
Locks: Vance Worley, Mike Pelfrey, Kevin Correia
Spots open: Two
Prediction: Cole De Vries, Liam Hendriks
Other candidates: P.J. Walters
Situation: With Scott Diamond on the disabled list to the start the season and top prospect Kyle Gibson ticketed for Triple-A Rochester, the Twins have two open spots in the rotation. De Vries, who has been impressive this spring, seems close to a lock at this point and Hendriks also appears likely. Walters looks to be on the outside looking in, as he’s not as stretched out as De Vries and Hendriks and is also not on the 40-man roster. The Twins, though, could open the year with four starting pitchers because of an off-day on April 2.
Locks: Glen Perkins (CL), Jared Burton, Brian Duensing (L)
Spots open: Four (or five potentially)
Prediction: Alex Burnett, Casey Fien, Josh Roenicke, Ryan Pressly
Other candidates: Tyler Robertson
Situation: At this point, Pressly and Roenicke seem like locks, especially because Roenicke is out of Minor League options and Pressly is a Rule 5 Draft pick. Burnett and Fien were both solid last year and have been pitching better recently, so they’re pretty close to locks as well. The only question is whether the Twins want to go with 13 pitchers to open the season, which means Robertson could sneak in as the club’s eighth reliever. But he really struggled in his last outing and has a 7.71 ERA this spring.
Locks: Joe Mauer, Ryan Doumit
Spots open: None
Situation: Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said early in spring that he didn’t want to go with three catchers because he wanted more pop off the bench and stuck to his word. Drew Butera was optioned to Triple-A so Mauer and Doumit will split the catching duties.
Locks: Justin Morneau, Brian Dozier, Pedro Florimon, Trevor Plouffe, Jamey Carroll, Eduardo Escobar
Spots open: None
Situation: Morneau, Dozier, Florimon, Plouffe and Carroll were all locks before Spring Training even started but Escobar played his way onto the roster. He’s been solid both offensively and defensively this spring, and also is expected to be the club’s emergency catcher.
Locks: Josh Willingham, Aaron Hicks, Chris Parmelee, Darin Mastroianni
Spots open: One (potentially)
Prediction: Wilkin Ramirez
Situation: Ramirez has been on fire at the plate recently, and is hitting .425 (17-for-40) this spring with seven doubles. Gardenhire has talked about having a better bench and Ramirez would seemingly help that cause as a fifth outfielder with some pop in his bat. But Ramirez is limited defensively to playing only the corners while Mastroianni can play all three spots. Ramirez is essentially a lock to make the team if the Twins decide to go with 12 pitchers. But the fact that he’s not on the 40-man roster is what works against him.