Puckett’s Pond runs down the situation at each position going into Spring Training
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There’s just one month to go until pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training. The first full squad practise will take place about a week after that. Baseball is just around the corner again. It brings many questions with it for a young, talented but unproven Minnesota Twins team. Puckett’s Pond takes a look at the present situation of each position: which roles are a lock and which positions are a question mark.
We’ll begin with the locks. The majority of the starting roles are well defined and the following are close to certain (barring injury of course):
1B – Joe Mauer
2B – Brian Dozier
3B – Trevor Plouffe
LF – Miguel Sano
DH – Byung-ho Park
SP – Ervin Santana
SP – Phil Hughes
SP – Kyle Gibson
RP – Glen Perkins
RP – Kevin Jepsen
The following are likely but not set in stone:
CF – Byron Buxton
RF – Eddie Rosario
SS – Eduardo Escobar
SP – Tyler Duffey
RP – Trevor May
RP – Casey Fien
As for the other 3 bench spots, Eduardo Nunez is a lock as the super utility guy but aside from him, there are question marks. The most likely contenders are Danny Santana and Oswaldo Arcia. This is primarily due to the fact that both are out of options and it seems very likely that another club would snatch them up if exposed to waivers. The pair have the inside edge currently but the leash will be short if they don’t show signs of improvement. Ryan Sweeney, Joe Benson, Darin Mastroianni, Buck Britton, James Beresford, Reynaldo Rodriguez and Kennys Vargas will all be nipping at their heels.
As many as three spots remain open in the Minnesota Twins bullpen. Fernando Abad, Ryan Pressly, Michael Tonkin, Alex Meyer, Ryan O’Rourke, J.T Chargois, Mason Melotakis, Brandon Kintzler, Nick Burdi, Jake Reed, Dan Runtzler, Aaron Thompson, Taylor Rogers and Buddy Boshers are all in contention to some degree. The bullpen battle will be the most wide open and the hardest to guess the final arrangement.
To sum up the Minnesota Twins likeliest defensive alignment:
Starting Catcher: Murphy or Suzuki Backup: Murphy or Suzuki
Starting 1B: Mauer Backup: Park
Starting 2B: Dozier Backup: Escobar or Nunez (little experience at the position)
Starting 3B: Plouffe Backup: Nunez or Escobar
Starting SS: Escobar Backup: Nunez or Santana
Starting LF: Sano Backup: Arcia, Santana, Nunez, Escobar
Starting CF: Buxton Backup: Santana
Starting RF: Eddie Rosario Backup: Arcia, Santana
Starting DH: Park Backup: Mauer, Sano, whoever needs rest
Of course, this all about opening day. Things will change over the course of the season. Last year, MLB teams used an average of 45.7 players. That’s nearly double the size of the active roster. There’s plenty of movement between the major league team and the farm over a year. The majority of movement is in and out of the bullpen as teams use their optionable players to keep their relievers fresh.
This is the Minnesota Twins situation as it stands but obviously, there may be more NRIs added to the mix or a trade before the season begins.