Minnesota Twins: Way-too-Early Opening Day Lineup Predictions for 2023

Minnesota Twins center fielder Byron Buxton is congratulated by left fielder Nick Gordon at the dugout. (Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports)
Minnesota Twins center fielder Byron Buxton is congratulated by left fielder Nick Gordon at the dugout. (Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Minnesota Twins
Milwaukee Brewers catcher Omar Narvaez during a game against the New York Yankees. (Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports) /

2023 Minnesota Twins Opening Day Infield Projections

2023 Opening Day Catcher: Omar Narvaez (free-agent signing)

After a fairly disastrous go of things for the Twins catchers in 2022, the team will clearly need to find a different group to find success next season. Ryan Jeffers will return as one of the Twins’ two catchers, but the team will need to add another catcher to work with him, likely in a platoon role. For this job, I picked Omar Narvaez.

Jeffers is dominant against lefties, but he struggles against righties, so adding the top lefty catcher (and a 2021 All-Star) makes the most sense. With the team likely going to try and compete, adding Narvaez makes sense, and with Singer on the mound, he gets the starting call here. The Twins could also add a player like Mike Zunino or Christian Vazquez, but Narvaez is the ideal get.

2023 Opening Day First Baseman: Alex Kirilloff

After the oft-injured former top prospect had yet another procedure to try and solve his wrist injury for good, Alex Kirilloff looks to be the left-handed bat to start the year at first base. His tantalizing potential has always been impressive, but if he can’t stay healthy, the team will have to find a more permanent answer.

I would also expect Jose Miranda to continue to get time here as a right-handed hitter with some Luis Arraez sprinkled in, but with the team’s outfield a little more settled, Kirilloff is going to continue to get a large chunk of his innings here.

2023 Opening Day Second Baseman: Jorge Polanco

This may be a disappointing pick for this position, but to expect anything else isn’t realistic. Jorge Polanco continued to play excellent defense and posted a very, very good .346 OBP. Now yes, Polanco’s batting average was the worst of his career and his slugging dropped, but he still has a great contract and lengthy history of success. He’s the guy at the keystone.

2023 Opening Day Shortstop: Elvis Andrus (free agent signing)

I will preface this by saying that I want the Minnesota Twins to re-sign Carlos Correa. After a red-hot September, Correa finished the year with a .291/.366/.467 slash line, 22 homers, and led the Minnesota Twins in bWAR (5.4) and fWAR (4.4). All due respect to Luis Arraez (who I will talk about later), but Correa was the team’s best player overall.

Unfortunately, the front office seems unwilling to pay the man his money, so the team will need to look elsewhere. With another good shortstop group the Twins will be in the market, but with Royce Lewis likely back by next June at the latest, the team will likely opt against spending big on Correa, Dansby Swanson, or Trea Turner.

Instead, Elvis Andrus seems like a good stop-gap until Lewis is healthy. Andrus was in the midst of a brutal offensive season and was released by the Athletics midseason. His career looked to be just about over, but he was picked up by the Chicago White Sox and turned in a very solid .271/.309/.464 slashline over 43 games.

He’s very far from a long-term option, but he’d be a decent enough option (especially defensively) that the Minnesota Twins can trot him out there as a temporary band aid until Lewis returns. When compared to Jose Iglesias and old friend Ehire Adrianza, Andrus is a better option.

2023 Opening Day Third Baseman: Gio Urshela

The ideal situation here would be to see Correa at short and Jose Miranda here until Royce Lewis got back but after a brutal 45 game stretch to end last season (.240/.316/.335) and multiple defensive question marks, the team will have to roll with Gio Urshela.

Don’t get me wrong; Urshela had a very solid season. His .285 batting average is good, and he occasionally made some flashy defensive plays while being very reliable. He just doesn’t have the upside of Miranda’s or Lewis’ potential.