Today marks the deadline for teams to add prospects to the 40-man roster in order to protect them from the Rule 5. With 17 pitchers and 16 position players already rostered, Minnesota has seven spots with which to work. There's always a chance the Twins outright or trade a player today to open up an additional spot, but as of this morning their are 33 players on the 40-man roster.
About a month ago we previewed which prospects would be eligible to be drafted in the Rule 5 this year. In general the guidelines will be collegiate picks from the 2012 draft, prep picks from the 2011 draft, and holdovers from earlier drafts.
D.J. Baxendale, J.T. Chargois, Zack Jones, Taylor Rogers, Adam Brett Walker
Each of these players put forward a good season. Even Jones, who did have a tough couple of games in Double-A prior to a somewhat surprising demotion, is at the point in his development where he'll be able to help the Major League club at any time. While he and Chargois have velocity and stuff, Rogers and Baxendale have a mix of pitches that they're comfortable using; Rogers in particular looks like he's Major League-ready. And then there's Walker, whose power is a plus tool. Leaving him unprotected would guarantee losing him. Even if you're a bit pessimistic on his ability to make contact at higher levels, he's too talented to risk losing for nothing.
Pat Dean, Travis Harrison, Felix Jorge, Mason Melotakis, Levi Micheal
Each of these players have their merits. Jorge would appear to have the highest ceiling, but as a lower-level prospect he might far enough away that the Twins risk not adding him to the roster - even though we've also seen them be aggressive in adding younger players at lower levels in the past. Michael is coming off the back of two good seasons at the plate, perhaps showing that his development is catching up to his potential. As a first-round pick, he'll be a fairly high-profile target if left unprotected. Harrison and Melotakis have name recognition and prospect status within the organization, but I'm doubtful as to whether there's been enough shown recently to make it worth another team's trouble to stash them on their active roster all season. Dean may belong on the list below, but he's put in his time and has been very effective in the upper echelons of the minor leagues.
Luke Bard, Niko Goodrum, Dalton Hicks, Cole Johnson, Yorman Landa, Brett Lee, Randy Rosario, Tim Shibuya, Alex Wimmers, Jason Wheeler
Some of these players have decent upside (Landa and Rosario in particular), but those players are too raw and underdeveloped to keep on an active roster all season long. Otherwise the rest of this list is a mixed bag; Bard has had injury issues, Johnson has posted good numbers but clearly hasn't impressed the front office, Wimmers has endured various struggles and his numbers have disappointed. If any of these players merit serious consideration to be rostered, I'd be very surprised.
Which of the most likely candidates do you think has the best chance of being left off the roster?