The Minnesota Twins are almost half way through spring training, and as we continue to take guesses at what the roster may look like, we can take a look at the most important positional battle on the roster. With some fresh faces, interesting surprises, and predictable moves coming, this battle figures to continue to be the best of Spring.
The current Minnesota Twins Favorites
Alex Kirilloff: Kirilloff is getting a lot of opportunity early to show where he’s at. His average is low but of his three hits, two went for extra bases. I initially thought he’d begin in St. Paul or on the Taxi Squad to start the season to save on service time.
I still lean that way, but it certainly appears the Twins are giving him every opportunity to be on the 26 man roster. Only Max Kepler has gotten more at-bats then Kirilloff, so don’t be surprised if he continues to get at-bats into the season.
Brent Rooker: He’s putting up the solid numbers, and if camp were to break today, I’d be tempted to slate him in as the starter. Even with his defense being average at best, he’s done nothing but produce with the opportunities he’s been given. He’s the safe choice here.
Jake Cave: The closest thing the Minnesota Twins have to an incumbent and my early choice for the job, he’s unsurprisingly not lighting up the stats board early. While that would be a big deal for these top prospects, it really isn’t for Cave.
He has proven capabilities of solid defense and below-average but okay hitting. Jake will have to settle in and show his talents, as there’s some pressure on him to hold his roster spot, especially with all the talent looking for his spot.
Minnesota Twins Applying Pressure
Kyle Garlick: Making a strong showing despite joining the late in the offseason, Garlick is leading the team with a .813 slugging percentage and is making a strong play as a utility outfielder and pinch hitter. If the Twins carry thirteen position position players, he could sneak in.
Keon Broxton: No player has had a more impressive start to camp then Keon Broxton. Broxton has shown the skills that made him a top prospect for so long. The only problem for Broxton is that he isn’t on the 40-man roster.
A decision for Broxton would mean a departure for someone else, likely Jake Cave if the Twins decide to stick with 12 position players (which is likely). I expect they might consider moving him onto the 40-man, as he would likely ask for his release to join another team. Broxton could provide a lot of value.
Long Shots/Minor League Depth
Rob Refsnyder: Has put together some quality AB’s but there’s no doubt he’ll be in St. Paul as a depth option ( if he isn’t released).
Drew Maggi: Despite a better Spring than Refsnyder, he’s in a very similar boat to Refsnyder. He’s shown some promise, along with a little power, and I expect him to get an opportunity at Triple-AAA St. Paul.
Other Minnesota Twins Outfield Thoughts
Gilberto Celestino and Trevor Larnach: Two of the Twins’ Top 30 prospects are getting some good looks, and Celestino has especially looked solid, but neither player has a real shot.
Willians Astudillo: La Tortuga Is having a great start to camp, showing he might belong on the Opening Day roster as a super-utility guy. He can’t be an everyday OF but he does have the ability to play out there if you can ignore the defense.
Luis Arraez: Luis Arraez will get plenty of work in the infield, but he will also play in the outfield on occasion. He’ll be the first player off the bench for this team.
The important question that will clear up this battle: Will the Twins carry 13 position players and 13 pitchers or 12 players and 14 pitchers? With Rocco Baldelli’s bullpen usage, one would think 14 pitchers, but if they go 13, that would open up another spot for a position player, making this battle even more interesting.