With a month left before Opening Day and Spring Training games starting yesterday, it’s officially time to start breaking out the Opening Day 26-Man Roster predictions for the Minnesota Twins. Here’s how I think the Twins will start the year off.
Minnesota Twins Infield/DH (6 Players)
- C-Mitch Garver: Though he slumped mightily in 2020 and got hurt, he needs to to find his 2019 form to keep his starting role.
- 1B-Miguel Sano: Sano still has huge power, and even though he’s super streaky, he has All-Star potential at a weak position if he can cut back on strikeouts. He’s the team’s only option at the position.
- 2B-Jorge Polanco: The move to his more natural position of second base could revitalize Polanco in 2021, expect better offense and defense this year.
- SS-Andrelton Simmons: Simmons is a superb defender and will anchor the middle infield. Don’t be surprised if he’s the impact signing of the offseason.
- 3B-Josh Donaldson: Donaldson is an MVP-caliber talent when healthy, which he wasn’t in 2020. Hopefully he can come back stronger this year.
- DH-Nelson Cruz: Hopefully the “Boomstick” can beat back father time for another season, but he’ll be the DH no matter what.
Minnesota Twins Outfield (3 Players)
- RF-Max Kepler: No questions here, but hopefully Kepler can hit for a little more average and maintain power without the juiced baseballs.
- CF-Byron Buxton: Buxton is a Gold Glove impact player on defense and his offense seemed to take another jump forward last year. Just has to stay healthy.
- LF-Jake Cave: Surprised to see Cave as the starter? He’s a reliable defensive outfielder, so I think he holds down the spot as Alex Kiriloff and Brent Rooker wait a month for service time.
Minnesota Twins Bench (3 Players)
- C-Ryan Jeffers: An excellent rookie campaign gives him the edge as the back up catcher who will compete for the starting spot should Garver slump again.
- 2B/3B/OF-Luis Arraez: Arraez is an on-base machine and will get plenty of at-bats in a Marwin Gonzalez role as he can step in for the infield or outfield.
- C/1B/3B/RF-Willians Astudillo: Expect “La Tortuga” to land back on the Taxi Squad when service time requirements are met, but until then, being a super utility guy gives him the final roster spot as a position player and pinch hitter on Opening Day.
Minnesota Twins Starting Rotation (5 Players)
- Kenta Maeda: If Maeda repeats as a Cy Young contender again, the Twins will have an ace once more.
- Jose Berrios: Maeda and Berrios form a formidable 1-2 punch. It would be awfully nice if Jose could be a little more consistent.
- Michael Pineda: Big Mike needs to continue to pitch like the No. 3 starter he has been for the past couple years, but he has proven himself well here.
- J.A. Happ: Happ should hold down the No. 4 role quite well, at least until Balazovic and Duran are ready.
- Matt Shoemaker: I love the signing, as he’s the perfect million dollar arm. Ideally he stays healthy for a productive 2021 season, but I’ll settle for a solid 6 weeks as a stop gap to the prospects too.
Minnesota Twins Bullpen (9 Players)
- Hansel Robles: Robles has a bit to prove after a shaky 2020, but the Twins are the perfect team to help with that.
- Taylor Rogers: The Twins need him to settle in and have a bounce back year as well as being their primary closer.
- Tyler Duffey: Duffey had a great 2020, he just needs to keep it going.
- Alex Colome: Colome is a flashy signing, but he needs to keep up the consistency.
- Cody Stashak: If he takes one more small step forward, Stashak can prove he has a significant future as a reliever in the MLB.
- Caleb Thielbar: Thielbar was the feel good story of 2020, so hopefully 2021 feels just as good.
- Jorge Alcala: With a live arm and solid 2020, Alcala has to continue to improve as he tries to prove he’s the future closer on this team.
- Devin Smeltzer: Squeaks in as the long reliever, he’ll likely rotate with the Taxi Squad
- Shaun Anderson: Can he find his command? If he does, Anderson has the tools to be a bullpen contributor.
Minnesota Twins Taxi Squad
- Alex Kirilloff: It’s not a matter of if he’ll be called up, but when. I think we’re looking at a real possible Rookie of the Year contender.
- Brent Rooker: Similar to Kirilloff, Rooker is likely to play a big role as the season progresses, but he may need to prove consistency after he flashed in his seven game debut.
- Lewis Thorpe: Thorpe needs to finds his fastball again, and he’s been given a fourth option to see if he can do that. Hopefully there’s a role for him yet.
- Randy Dobnak: Thorpe, Smelter and Dobnak will likely trade off the long relief role, with Randy being the likely 6th starter when injury or illness takes place.
Minnesota Twins Available on the Farm
Relief Pitcher Edwar Colina: Colina is a talented prospect and young power arm out of the bullpen, has a chance if he can prove ready
Starting Pitchers Bailey Ober, Jordan Balazovic, Jhoan Duran: Three starting pitching prospects who could potentially add much-needed depth. Ober doesn’t have the star power of the other two, but he offers useful depth.
Infielder Nick Gordon: Has spent enough time in the minors, it’s officially time to see what the 2014 No. 5 Pick has in the tank, he will be chomping at the bit if an injury happens
Outfielders Keon Broxton and Kyle Garlick: Former major leaguers who will serve as insurance policies should the injury bug creep in for Buxton, Kepler, and the top prospects.