It’s not often the Twins have almost every spot clearly locked up in Spring Training, but this team is just that good. There are still a few battles going on and they are for the final bench spot, the fifth rotation spot, and the final bullpen spot.
Here is where each battle currently stands:
- The locks for the bench are Marwin Gonzalez, Ehire Adrianza, and Alex Avila. The main candidates for the final spot are Jake Cave, Willians Astudillo, and LaMonte Wade Jr.
- The locks for the rotation are Jose Berrios, Jake Odorizzi, Kenta Maeda, and Homer Bailey. The players fighting for the fifth spot are Jhoulys Chacin, Lewis Thorpe, Devin Smeltzer, and Randy Dobnak.
- The locks for the bullpen are Taylor Rogers, Tyler Duffey, Trevor May, Tyler Clippard, Sergio Romo, Zack Littell and probably Cody Stashak. The players fighting for the last spot are Matt Wisler, Sean Poppen, and Blaine Hardy.
The bench spot will likely come down to Cave and Astudillo and it will also be the one that will be decided last. If Cave was right handed or could play a good center field then he would make it, but unfortunately neither of those things come with Jake. Astudillo may have an edge because he can play many positions (not very well) and fill in wherever need be. Here are their mostly meaningless stats so far this spring:
- Cave: 14 AB, .286/.375/.643 (1.018), 3 XHB, 2 K, 2 BB
- Astudillo: 16 AB, .188/.188/.188 (.375), 0 XBH, 0 K, 0 BB
The fifth rotation spot is likely the most interesting battle to watch for the Twins. Veteran Jhoulys Chacin is taking on three rookies for the final spot, and Chacin likely has an edge due to his past statistics and the fact he will have to make the MLB team to stay with the organization. Thorpe has not pitched this spring due to personal reasons, Smeltzer has struggled this spring and doesn’t seem likely to win the spot, and Dobnak has been very impressive. Here are their small sample spring stats:
- Chacin: 5.0 IP, 7.20 ERA, 6 K, 1 BB, 1.00 WHIP
- Thorpe: N/A
- Smeltzer: 6.1 IP, 5.68 ERA, 4 K, 0 BB, 1.58 WHIP
- Dobnak: 6.0 IP, 1.50 ERA, 4 K, 1 BB, 0.50 WHIP
The final bullpen spot is also a possible roster battle with guys like Matt Wisler and Sean Poppen pitching well, but I have trouble seeing a scenario where Wisler doesn’t make it. The Twins seem to really like him and with Fernando Romero unable to make it to camp, this spot looks like it’s his to lose.
My predictions to make the roster at this point would be Willians Astudillo, Jhoulys Chacin, and Matt Wisler. Who do you think will make it? Comment below.