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Meet the Minnesota Twins' 2016 non-roster invitees

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Do any of these guys have a chance to crack the opening day roster?

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

In December we had a quick look at the 22 players that the Twins had announced would be receiving invitations to spring training. The only change since that time has been to add Logan Darnell to the list. Darnell was designated for assignment and then outrighted in January, but he likes the organization and the organization still likes him, so he'll get another crack over the next few weeks.

Pitchers and catchers held their first official workouts of the spring yesterday, so with a few more weeks under our belts since our December update and with limited chance that the Twins will make any other significant moves before the regular season, here's what you need to know about the club's 2016 non-roster invitees.

Right-handed pitchers (4)

Name Pos 2016 Age 2015 High Level
Jose Berrios Starter 22 AAA
Nick Burdi Reliever 23 AA
Brandon Kintzler Reliever 31 MLB
Jake Reed Reliever 23 AA

Favorite: It's Berrios, quite clearly. If he makes the roster it'll be unexpected, but it would hardly be out of left field. Still, he might have less of a chance to make the roster than our dark horse candidate.

Dark horse candidate: I'll name Kintzler as the dark horse here, as he posted a 2.93 over 135 appearances (135.1 innings) for the Brewers between 2013 and 2014. His 2015 was a hiccup for a guy who looked like he was just carving out a good career as a middle reliever. If he can get his velocity back up into the 92mph range, it could be a sign that he's returning to form.

No chance: Neither Burdi nor Reed are ready. If they can show better development than they did last year, both could be ready to contribute to the Major League team at some point in 2016.

Left-handed pitchers (5)

Name Pos 2016 Age 2015 High Level
Fernando Abad Reliever 30 MLB
Buddy Boshers Reliever 28 Independent
Logan Darnell Swing 27 AAA
Dan Runzler Reliever 31 AAA
Aaron Thompson Reliever 29 MLB

Favorite: Abad has appeared to be the favorite since he was brought on board in December. He's made 131 appearances with Oakland over the last two seasons and he has some swing-and-miss ability. No doubt the Twins would like to see him return to his 2014 form, when he posted a 1.57 ERA and 0.86 WHIP.

Dark horse candidate: As much as I'd like to say Runzler, in the hopes that he could harness not just his health but that upper 90s fastball, the truth is that he hasn't put up decent numbers since 2010 and even then he displayed serious command issues. I'm going with Darnell as the dark horse. He posted a 2.78 ERA in Triple-A in his first full season as a reliever, and if the Twins can't find another lefty on their 40-man roster to pair with Perkins and (probably) Abad, they might not be able to do better than Darnell.

No chance: Boshers and Thompson feel like the longest shots here, and probably Runzler, too. That's the unfortunate reality with most non-roster invitees: most of them don't have much more than a prayer of a chance at making the roster.

Catchers (5)

Name Pos 2016 Age 2015 High Level
Juan Centeno C 26 MLB
Mitch Garver C/1B 25 A+
Carlos Paulino C 26 AAA
Alex Swim C/1B/OF 25 A+
Stuart Turner C 24 AA

Favorite: None. There isn't a realistic scenario where any of these players crack the opening day roster. Even if two of the three catchers already on the 40-man roster sustain season-ending injuries, the Twins will find a catcher elsewhere.

Dark horse candidate: Juan Centeno has Major League experience, playing in 24 games over the last three years with the Mets and the Brewers. He can't hit a lick (.164/.227/.180 in 66 plate appearances), but in an emergency and short-term situation if the club desperately needed a guy, Centeno seems to be the most likely option.

No chance: Everyone on the list, more than likely.

Infielders (6)

Name Pos 2016 Age 2015 High Level
James Beresford 2B/SS/3B 27 AAA
Buck Britton 3B/2B/1B/RF/LF 30 AAA
Heiker Meneses SS/2B/3B 24 AA
Reynaldo Rodriguez 1B/LF/RF 29 AAA
Wilfredo Tovar SS/2B 24 AAA
Engelb Vielma SS 22 A+

Favorite: None of these players have a legitimate chance to make the Opening Day roster barring something else going wrong.

Dark horse candidate: The only player with enough experience who has also hit enough to even warrant consideration is James Beresford. If something were to happen to Eduardo Nunez or Danny Santana and the Twins wanted to keep Jorge Polanco in Triple-A to play everyday, it could be Beresford they add as a short-term infielder for the bench.

No chance: Britton, Meneses, Rodriguez, Tovar, and Vielma have no path which leads them to the Opening Day roster. Vielma is still too raw, although this could chance drastically by this time next year. The other four players profile as organizational depth.

Outfielders (3)

Name Pos 2016 Age 2015 High Level
Joe Benson CF/RF/LF 28 AAA
Darin Mastroianni CF/LF/RF 30 AAA
Ryan Sweeney RF/CF/LF 31 Did Not Play

Favorite: The only way that any of these three have a shot at the opening day roster is through injury or through Byron Buxton illustrating that he's not quite ready for a full-time job at the Major League level. In that scenario one of these three players could have an opportunity, but at this point there's no good (or desirable) way to separate one of them from the other two. Spring training would have to tell that tale. Even then, players like Danny Santana, Eduardo Nunez, and Eduardo Escobar have all played outfield roles in the recent past, and that could kill any path that these three might have to the Opening Day roster.

Dark horse candidate: If things play out the way that the Twins (and Twins fans) hope, there won't be a spot for these players on the roster. That eliminates the possibility of a dark horse candidate.

No chance: Probably all three players.

Conclusions

Favorites: Berrios (RHP), Abad (LHP)

Dark horse candidates: Kintzler (RHP), Darnell (LHP), Centeno (C), Beresford (IF)

If you asked me this morning, the only player whose chances are better than 25% would be Fernando Abad. He's the only non-roster invitee who seems likely to be on the Twins' Opening Day roster.

After looking through this list, and knowing how the off-season has played out, which player(s) do you see with the best opportunities for heading north after spring training?