2018 Minnesota Twins positional grades and 2019 roster predictions

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DETROIT, MI - September 18: Jake Cave #60 of the Minnesota Twins celebrates a 5-3 win over the Detroit Tigers with teammates at Comerica Park on September 18, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - September 18: Jake Cave #60 of the Minnesota Twins celebrates a 5-3 win over the Detroit Tigers with teammates at Comerica Park on September 18, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /
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Minnesota Twins
BOSTON, MA – JULY 29: Jose Berrios #17 of the Minnesota Twins throws against the Boston Red Sox in the first inning at Fenway Park on July 29, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images) /

Starting rotation: Jose Berrios, Kyle Gibson, Jake Odorizzi, Fernando Romero, and Michael Pineda

Berrios, Gibson, and Odorizzi are easy choices to stay in the rotation. After that, there’s a ton of competition for the final 2 slots. I would love to see Romero win one of those slots and keep working on his exciting stuff, and if he’s healthy, a veteran Michael Pineda would round out the rotation nicely. Yet, with at least 3 other players competing alongside Romero and Pineda for those last 2 slots, it’s hard to say who will come out on top. It’ll likely come down to a spring training battle, with the best performers getting the starting jobs and the others being split between the bullpen and the minor leagues, ready to step in if a starter goes down.

Given how many players are in the running for rotation jobs in 2019, combined with the underwhelming class of free agent starters this offseason, it seems unnecessary to me for the Twins to sign a starter this winter. Still, they may end up with an unexciting option a la James Shields to help provide even more depth.

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Bullpen: Trevor Hildenberger, Taylor Rogers, Addison Reed, Gabriel Moya, and 2-3 free agents

There’s no reason that Hildenberger, Rogers, and Reed won’t get the first three bullpen jobs. After them, Gabriel Moya is my pick for Twins breakout reliever of the year, locking down a job for the full season. Those four seem like fairly safe bets to me, and then I think we’ll sign a few free agents to help out.

There are many different options available this winter, and a bunch that could be a good for for the Minnesota Twins, so it’s difficult to narrow down who exactly the team will end up with. I would love to see two of Kelvin Herrera, Cody Allen, Joe Kelly, and Brad Brach sign contracts, but it’s tough to call.

Finally, I could see one or two of the starters that don’t make the cut for the rotation making a transition to the bullpen. Kohl Stewart and Zack Littell seem like the easiest transitional projects as Romero and Gonsalves’ upsides as starters will probably keep them starting, be it in the MLB or in AAA.

Next. Robbie Grossman a likely non-tender. dark

Thanks for reading!

If you’ve followed along in this series and made it all the way to here, thanks so much for reading! This concludes my series of 2018 recaps and 2019 predictions, as I’ll put it to bed until spring training concludes when I’ll dig it up to see how accurate my predictions were. Meanwhile, I’ll continue to cover Minnesota Twins news, rumors, and other tidbits as we all wait for baseball to return.

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