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Twins Spring Training 2017: Infielders, outfielders, and DHs

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Twins start spring training games tomorrow! Lets look at the infielders, outfielders, and designated hitters in camp and the questions that need to be answered this spring.

Minnesota Twins v Tampa Bay Rays
An old photo, but you get the idea.
Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images

Last week we previewed the pitchers and catchers in Twins spring training camp and what they need to show in camp this year. Hence, it’s only right we now take a look at the rest of the position players currently down in Florida.

The Twins have 14 infielders, 9 outfielders, and 2 designated hitters in camp this year. Below are their names, numbers, 2016 major league stats, and the questions that need to be settled in the coming month.


2017 Twins Infielders at Spring Training

Uniform # Name Bats Age AB R H HR RBI SB AVG OBP OPS fWAR 40-Man Roster?
Uniform # Name Bats Age AB R H HR RBI SB AVG OBP OPS fWAR 40-Man Roster?
2 Brian Dozier R 29 615 104 165 42 99 18 .268 .340 .886 5.9 Yes
22 Miguel Sano R 23 437 57 103 25 66 1 .236 .319 .781 1.3 Yes
7 Joe Mauer L 33 494 68 129 11 49 2 .261 .363 .752 1.0 Yes
16 Ehire Adrianza S 27 63 3 16 2 7 0 .254 .299 .679 0.2 Yes
1 Engelb Vielma S 22 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 0.0 Yes
30 Tommy Field R 30 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 0.0 No
68 Benji Gonzalez S 27 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 0.0 No
71 Niko Goodrum S 25 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 0.0 No
83 Nick Gordon L 21 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 0.0 No
37 Matt Hague R 31 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 0.0 No
72 Leonardo Reginatto R 26 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 0.0 No
11 Jorge Polanco S 23 245 24 69 4 27 4 .282 .332 .757 -0.1 Yes
5 Eduardo Escobar S 28 352 32 83 6 37 1 .236 .280 .618 -0.6 Yes
50 Ben Paulsen L 29 92 8 20 1 11 0 .217 .258 .562 -1.1 No

For the most part, the Twins infield is settled. Brian Dozier, Miguel Sano, and Joe Mauer are basically guaranteed to be the opening day second baseman, third baseman, and first baseman respectively.

However, some questions remain:

  • Who is going to play shortstop? As one of the biggest questions facing the Twins doing into 2017, we already touched on this topic last month. Since then, however, the Twins added another wrinkle to the contest: Ehire Adrianza. Unlike Jorge Polanco or Eduardo Escobar—or any other player in camp, really—Adrianza can play 80-grade defense at shortstop (that means he’s really, really good). Sure, he can’t hit a lick, but if neither Polanco or Escobar can show a bat that’s worth more than Adrianza’s defense, it’s possible Ehire could get the opening day start.
  • Who will share time at first base? Let’s face it—Joe Mauer is lazy and old, and Paul Molitor has already said he plans to give him a lot more days off this year. So who will play first base the rest of the time? Probably Kennys Vargas or Byungho PArk, who are listed below in the designated hitter section. But if not them, the Twins could just stick someone esle out there, right? It’s just first base!
  • Can Nick Gordon continue his improvement? Nick Gordon, one of the Twins’ toppest of prospects, will be in major league camp for the first time this year—but sorry, there is no way he is making the roster. He’s only 21 years old. However, after a really strong showing last year in the Arizona Fall League, it will be interesting to watch and gauge where he’s at in his development.

Roster chances:

Virtual lock: Brian Dozier, Miguel Sano, Joe Mauer.

Good Chance: Eduardo Escobar, Jorge Polanco, Ehire Adrianza.

Probably Not: Tommy Field, Ben Paulsen, Matt Hague, Engelb Vielma.

Nope: Niko Goodrum, Nick Gordon, Leonardo Reginatto, Benji Gonzalez.


2017 Twins Outfielders at Spring Training

Uniform # Name Bats Age AB R H HR RBI SB AVG OBP OPS fWAR 40-Man Roster?
Uniform # Name Bats Age AB R H HR RBI SB AVG OBP OPS fWAR 40-Man Roster?
25 Byron Buxton R 23 298 44 67 10 38 10 .225 .284 .714 1.7 Yes
26 Max Kepler L 24 396 52 93 17 83 6 .235 .309 .734 1.1 Yes
20 Eddie Rosario L 25 335 52 90 10 32 5 .269 .295 .716 0.9 Yes
36 Robbie Grossman S 27 332 49 93 11 37 2 .280 .386 .828 0.7 Yes
66 Zach Granite L 24 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 0 Yes
73 Daniel Palka L 25 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 0 Yes
8 Drew Stubbs R 32 80 13 18 3 7 9 .225 .330 .667 -0.2 No
39 Danny Santana S 26 233 29 56 2 14 12 .240 .279 .606 -0.7 Yes
24 J.B. Shuck L 29 224 27 46 4 14 3 .205 .248 .547 -1.7 No

The Twins outfield is pretty set, since it will basically look the same as it did by the end of the 2016 season. Before you complain, “Wha! But the 2016 season was the worst ever!” remember that the team started 2016 with Miguel Sano in right field. Hence, the needed improvements were largely already made before the season’s end.

There are a few questions that still need to be settled, though:

  • Will Eddie Rosario or Robbie Grossman be the starting left fielder? I think most people assume Rosario is a lock for starting left field on opening day, but some are trying to make the case for Grossman and his superior bat. The problem with Rosario is that he swings at everything, and since he still has options, the Twins could send him to Triple-A for more seasoning, or relegate him to the fourth outfielder position.
  • What happens to Danny Santana? If we assume Rosario and Grossman are going to be the third and fourth outfielders, what the heck do the Twins do with D-San? Would he play more in the infield? Serve as a super utility infielder/outfielder? Be designated for assignment?! It all depends on if Santana can show some sort of unique worth over the other guys at camp, and there’s a good chance he won’t be able to.
  • Will these old guys step-up, go to the minors, or go home? Here, “these olds guys” refers to J.B. Shuck and Drew Stubbs, both of whom appeared to be signed just to add competition and depth in the system. Are they willing to play in the minors and wait for some sort of injury to give them a shot at the big leagues again, or will they just quit a la Carlos Quentin in 2016?

Roster chances:

Virtual lock: Byron Buxton, Max Kepler.

Good Chance: Robbie Grossman, Eddie Rosario.

Maybe: Danny Santana, Drew Stubbs.

Probably Not: Daniel Palka, J.B. Shuck.

Nope: Zach Granite.


2017 Twins Designated Hitters at Spring Training

Uniform # Name Bats Age AB R H HR RBI SB AVG OBP OPS fWAR 40-Man Roster?
Uniform # Name Bats Age AB R H HR RBI SB AVG OBP OPS fWAR 40-Man Roster?
19 Kennys Varga S 26 152 27 35 10 20 0 .230 .333 .833 0.6 Yes
52 Byungho Park R 30 215 28 41 12 24 1 .191 .275 .684 0.1 No

Yeah—so we only have two guys here, and really, either one could also sub in as an infielder at first base. Most are assuming Kennys Vargas will be the opening day DH, which really only leaves one question here:

  • Can Byungho Park play his way onto the major league roster? Obviously, Park was recently removed from the 40-man roster, and successful cleared waivers in the process. The point here, though, is that he was not removed because the Twins thought he had no chance of going north with the big league club for opening day. If Park comes in and shows it really mostly his bum wrist holding him back, he could be re-added to the 40-man and start with the team. The problem here is that Park is still just a big, fat, giant question mark.

Roster chances:

Good Chance: Kennys Vargas.

Maybe: Byungho Park.


Who do you think will make the team? Which players are you most excited to follow over the next month? Have any bold predictions? Share below!