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Twins Playoff Roster Predictions

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Who will be involved in the Twins first playoff series in nearly a decade?

MLB: Kansas City Royals at Minnesota Twins Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports

The Twins roster has fluctuated significantly this season, especially in the last few weeks leading up to a potential ALDS appearance for the first time since 2010. Two months ago could you have imagined that Lamonte Wade Jr. would have about as good of a chance of making the playoff roster as C.J. Cron? Or that Tyler Duffey would have ripped off 20+ scoreless appearances and be looking like Minnesota’s most valuable reliever? Or that a prospect ranked in the mid-20’s for the organization by most outlets preseason would be getting nearly most at-bats on the team?

Throughout this roller coaster ride, the Twins have managed to bomba their way to nearly 100 wins, and have a magic number of two with just under a week to go. I don’t really believe jinxes, so I’m just going to go ahead and say that the Twins are going to make the playoffs, and it’s time to look at what their postseason roster might look like.

Position Players - Projected number: 11-15

I know this is a pretty wide gap, but it all depends on how the Twins view their pitching staff. Will they go with just Berrios and Odorizzi and bullpen the rest of the playoffs? Even with those two starting, there is a solid chance their needs to be significant relief help every game. Meanwhile the lineup has been banged up for what feels like the last six weeks or so, so the health of the position players will also play a big part in their moves for the postseason

LOCKS:

UTL Luis Arraez

SS Jorge Polanco

DH Nelson Cruz

3B Miguel Sano

OF Eddie Rosario

OF Max Kepler

C Mitch Garver

C Jason Castro

UTL Marwin Gonzalez

Barring something weird happening with Gonzalez or Kepler injury-wise, these guys have locked up a spot for the postseason. Ideally all of these players will be healthy and ready to mash in a hitter-friendly ballpark like Yankee Stadium or Minute Maid Park (Houston).

Likely to be on:

OF Jake Cave

2B Jonathan Schoop

I almost put Cave in the locks category, but he has played just six games since September 6th, and has hit .116 in that span. If the Twins don’t think he’s healthy enough to be productive, he may get the boot for the first round. Schoop likely won’t see many starts with Arraez continuing to produce, but his power bat off the bench and above-average defense should nab him a spot on the roster.

A bit of a toss-up

C.J. Cron

Lamonte Wade Jr.

Willians Astudillo

Ehire Adrianza

These four are likely battling for one or two spots. With Cron and Adrianza, it’s about health. Cron hasn’t looked like himself for a couple months now, and is batting .213 with a .643 OPS in the last 50 games. If Adrianza is fully healthy I would expect him to to get this spot, but it seems unlikely with a tough oblique strain to come back from. Astudillo’s chances went up the other night when Garver exited the game after tweaking his hip, with his value relying on his abilities as a third catcher and as a guy who can put the ball in play in almost any circumstance. Wade Jr. has been heating up lately, and might have the best “bench” skills with above average speed and ability to play any of the three outfield positions.

Long Shot / No Shot

Ronald Torreyes

Ian Miller

Ryan LaMarre

LaMarre is indeed ineligible for the postseason roster, so he can be ruled off right off of the bat. Torreyes might have an outside have a shot as a defensive guy if the Twins go heavy on position players, but he doesn’t bring much speed or any hitting abilities. Miller would be pretty much solely a speed guy, though he could also sneak on if they end up going with 14 or 15 position players.

Pitchers - Projected number: 10-14

This list looks significantly different than it would have just a month ago. There’s a large area for variance based on the good pitching of some of the bullpen arms, the poor pitching of some of the starters, and the Michael Pineda suspension that recently hit.

LOCKS:

SP Jose Berrios

SP Jake Odorizzi

RP Taylor Rogers

RP Tyler Duffey

RP Trevor May

RP Sergio Romo

SP/RP Devin Smeltzer

RP Zack Littell

Again, if you would have showed me this list two months ago with Zack Littell and Tyler Duffey ,but no Perez or Gibson, I would have been shocked. However, it’s a very real possibility that the Twins bring just two true starting pitchers to the postseason.

Likely to be on:

SP/RP Randy Dobnak

RP Brusdar Graterol

SP/RP Lewis Thorpe

Dobnak started this season at Single-A, but may be the most likely of these three to make the roster (though they all probably will). He has pitched to the tune of a 2.04 ERA over 22.1 innings this season, and is being talked about as a game 2 starter in the ALDS for the Twins. Aside from his disastrous outing against Cleveland, Graterol has given up just one run in 8.1 innings and struck out nine batters and his looked good with his 100+ MPH fastball, especially recently. Thorpe will likely make the roster with his ability to be stretched out and left-handedness, though his recent struggles kept him from being in the lock category.

A bit of toss-up:

SP/RP Cody Stashak

SP Kyle Gibson

SP Martin Perez

RP Ryne Harper

Oh, how the mighty(ish) have fallen. Perez and Gibson’s recent downsides have decreased their chances of making the playoff roster significantly, and with since guys with more experience pitching out of the bullpen are available, it is plausible that neither fit the bill of a playoff pitcher for the Twins. Harper was a dependable reliever for the first half of the season as well, but hasn’t been effective for more than a couple of outings in a row for awhile. Stashak may actually have the best shot of the four, having a 3.13 ERA over 23 innings in the bigs to go along with 23 strikeouts.

Long Shot / No Shot:

RP Jorge Alcala

RP Trevor Hildenberger

RP Sam Dyson

SP/RP Kohl Stewart

SP Michael Pineda

RP Fernando Romero

These guys should all be pretty obvious. Romero and Hildenberger have been disastrous since their call-ups, while Kohl Stewart was a regular season-innings eater and not much more. Alcala might have the stuff, but his lack of experience would make him a big-time surprise. Dyson could be out for a year plus with arm issues, while Pineda is ineligible due to his suspension.

My official prediction:

Position Players (13):

UTL Luis Arraez

SS Jorge Polanco

DH Nelson Cruz

3B Miguel Sano

OF Eddie Rosario

OF Max Kepler

C Mitch Garver

C Jason Castro

UTL Marwin Gonzalez

OF Jake Cave

2B Jonathan Schoop

OF Lamonte Wade

C/UTL Willians Astudillo

Pitchers (12):

SP Jose Berrios

SP Jake Odorizzi

RP Taylor Rogers

RP Tyler Duffey

RP Trevor May

RP Sergio Romo

SP/RP Devin Smeltzer

RP Zack Littell

SP/RP Randy Dobnak

RP Brusdar Graterol

SP/RP Lewis Thorpe

RP Cody Stashak

I think the Twins like Wade’s defense, baserunning, and ability to put a good at-bat together enough for him to make the roster. Remember, they called him up before Jake Cave earlier in the season, even when Cave was ripping AAA pitching. With a .400 OBP in the bigs, his quality approach sets him up well for playoff baseball. Astudillo makes the roster mostly because of his ability as a third catcher, and a little bit because of his utility to play other positions. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Adrianza switched onto the ALCS roster if the Twins are able to make it that far, but I don’t think he’ll be able to recover fast enough from his oblique strain to make the ALDS squad. Cron’s absence is unfortunate, but he just hasn’t been a productive bat since the thumb injury and has barely played recently.

On the pitching side of things, the two toughest calls are the declining starting pitchers, Perez and Gibson. Perez’s left-handedness will have some stating that he should still make the squad, but his propensity to have a blow up inning (especially against a right-handed power hitting lineup like the Yankees or Astros) make him too risky to pitch. Gibson may still have a shot with his past experience, but his recent struggles may have doomed him as well, which is sad based on the likely reason that they are at least partially due to the autoimmune disease that he has. Thus Stashak as the hot hand gets one of the last spots along with Thorpe and Graterol as young guns with above average stuff.

What do you think about the playoff roster I put together? Let me know how you would change it in the comments section below.