Minnesota Twins 30-Man Roster: Surprises and Disappointments

The Minnesota Twins released their 30-Man roster ahead of their Opening Day game against the Chicago White Sox, and there were some surprises.

When the Minnesota Twins released their 60-man roster in early July, there were several predictions I made about who would make the team, how the taxi squad would look, and took a look at some of the roster locks.

The roster was about as expected, but the Twins made some really unexpected calls that really surprised (and a couple that disappointed me. With all that in mind, let’s break it down.

Minnesota Twins 30-Man Locks

When I wrote about who would originally make the roster as a lock, players who would have to be hurt not to make the opening day list. I came up with 25 of them because the Twins carried such a solid roster. I was right on every single one.

In the rotation, Jose Berrios, Rich Hill, and Kenta Maeda all made the roster. I also had Jake Odorizzi listed as a lock, and he will be when he comes off the IL for back stiffness. All four are listed as either in or IL.

In the bullpen, Tyler Clippard, Tyler Duffey, Zack Littell, Trevor May, Taylor Rogers, Sergio Romo, Devin Smeltzer, and Cody Stashak all landed their expected spots in the 2020 relief group.

For the infield, Ehire AdrianzaLuis ArraezJosh DonaldsonMarwin GonzalezJorge Polanco, and Miguel Sano were all locks for the infield and were the six players chosen for the infield. Again, really easy to predict.

The two catchers, Alex Avila and Mitch Garver were also solid foregone conclusions to make the roster, so this wasn’t a surprise. Lastly, in the outfield (and designated hitter slot), Byron BuxtonJake CaveMax KeplerEddie Rosario, and Nelson Cruz rounded out all 25 locks.

Four Unsurprising Minnesota Twins Additions

With just six spots remaining (Odorizzi is IL), I picked five of the six players as veterans vying for a spot. Having the Twins go with a relief-heavy approach helped with that, as Randy Dobnak, Lewis ThorpeMatt Wisler made the list. Wisler in particular used a strong spring and summer camp to help solidify his spot.

Homer Bailey is on the roster on the fifth starter, Willians Astudillo is on the IL due to Covid-19, so he’s on the roster but is with Odorizzi, Michael Pineda, Fernando Romero, in being ineligible to play.

With 24 locks taking up spots, four other expected pitchers in, Odorizzi and Astudillo on the IL, Pineda and Romero on the restricted list, that leaves two spots leftover. For these two spots, I expected LaMonte Wade Jr. and Nick Gordon to make the roster. I was half-right.

Minnesota Twins go for Speed

Wade Jr. made the team, which is unsurprising as the team really likes him, but the final spot went to Aaron Whitefield, a 23-year-old outfielder from Australia. Whitefield was a late addition to the sixty-man roster and really only made it for one reason: speed.

Whitefield is fast, having stolen 115 bases during his time in the minors. He can’t hit well, and his defense is only just solid, but the Twins are looking to add a pinch-runner specialist while they still have 30 spots, helping out later in games.

This isn’t a bad move, as Whitefield is one of the better baserunners in the system, but I would rather see Nick Gordon or one of the better prospects. They may not have the elite speed, but they still are fast and would provide more in terms of hitting.

The Minnesota Twins Reliever Taxi Squad

For the taxi squad, which can be two players or three players if a catcher is there, the Twins added even more relief help. The Twins loved moving relievers around from Triple-AAA and the majors last year, so the fact that Jorge Alcala and Caleb Thielbar both made the taxi squad.

Both pitchers impressed all camp long, but there wasn’t really a spot for them on the roster, so the Twins made the smart call to bring them along on the taxi squad. In order to get a third player, they also brought catcher Tomas Telis for reasons I don’t understand.

I hope that when Astidillo is healthy again he takes Telis’ spot, because Telis offers very little outside of being just an extra warm body. Alcala and Thielbar make a lot of sense, Telis just doesn’t.

 

Next: Winners and Losers from the Minnesota Twins Exhibition Game
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