Taylor's Twins Talk

Focusing on the Twins, with a few ramblings on other things that catch my attention

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Spring Roster Update #2

It's Sunday, and that means it's time for a Spring Training Roster Update. As before, players listed in black are players who I am projecting will earn a roster spot (or would do so if the season began tomorrow). Players listed in blue have a chance to creep up into a roster spot, and will be listed beneath the player they are most likely to displace. Players listed in red are pretty much just in camp to give the Twins bodies during the early weeks when nobody is pitching more than 2 innings or playing a full game in the field. I'm also adding a +/-/= behind each player. A "+" means that the player moved up in the depth chart from where I had him listed last week, while a "-" means he has moved down and an "=" means that he's right where he was before.

My standard disclaimer applies: these are not necessarily the 25 guys who I would take north to start the season, but are instead the 25 guys who I think would make the team if the season started tomorrow.

Finally, please note that a few comments on player movement will follow the listing of players, so if you want to know why I've moved a player up or down on the chart, that's the place to look.


Starting Pitcher - 1 - Johan Santana (=)
Starting Pitcher - 2 - Boof Bonser (=)
Starting Pitcher - 3 - Carlos Silva (=)
Starting Pitcher - 4 - Ramon Ortiz (=)
Starting Pitcher - 5 - Sidney Ponson (=)
Glen Perkins (=)
Matt Garza (=)
J.D. Durbin (+)
Scott Baker (-)
Kevin Slowey (=)
Jeremy Cummings (=)
Errol Simonitsch (=)
Alexander Smit (=)
Oswaldo Sosa (=)
Brad Voyles (=)
Closer - 6 - Joe Nathan (=)
Setup - 7 - Juan Rincon (=)
Bullpen - 8 - Pat Neshek (=)
Bullpen - 9 - Dennys Reyes (=)
Bullpen - 10 - Jesse Crain (=)
Bullpen - 11 - Matt Guerrier (=)
Ricky Barrett (=)
Julio DePaula (=)
Tristan Crawford (+)
Jose Mijares (-)

Catcher - 12 - Joe Mauer (=)
First Base - 13 - Justin Morneau (=)
Second Base - 14 - Luis Castillo (=)
Third Base - 15 - Nick Punto (=)
Shortstop - 16 - Jason Bartlett (=)
Left Field - 17 - Rondell White (=)
Center Field - 18 - Torii Hunter (=)
Right Field - 19 - Michael Cuddyer (=)
Des. Hitter - 20 - Jason Kubel (=)
Backup Catcher - 21 - Mike Redmond (=)
Chris Heintz (=)
Jeff Christy (=)
Jose Morales (=)
Korey Feiner (=)
Brad King (=)
Corner Infielder - 22 - Jeff Cirillo (=)
Glenn Williams (=)
Middle Infielder - 23 - Alejandro Machado (+)
Luis Rodriguez (-)
Alexi Casilla (=)
Tommy Watkins (=)
Gil Velazquez (=)
Backup Outfield - 24 - Jason Tyner (=)
Josh Rabe (=)
Denard Span (=)
Garrett Jones (-)

Misc. Reserve - 25 - Lew Ford (+)
Mike Venafro (-)
J.D. Durbin (+)
Randy Choate (-)
Ken Harvey (-)
Matt LeCroy (-)
Carmen Cali (-)
Jason Miller (-)

There are a surprising number of changes in these protections from the first go around last week. First, J.D. Durbin (who is the only player that I've listed twice on the list because he's seriously competing in my mind for two distinct jobs) has had success with his early pitching regimen, and the Twins seem excited about him. As a result, I've moved him ahead of Scott Baker on the list of guys fighting for the 5th starter spot, and I've also moved him behind everyone but Lew Ford and Mike Venafro in the fight for the 25th roster spot.

Speaking of Ford, the Star Tribune's recent suggestion that he's a lock for the roster can't be ignored. While I think it would be a mistake to keep Ford over one of the lefty pitchers or Durbin, I have to acknowledge that the "experts" who write about baseball for the living seem to think that's exactly what's going to happen. As a result, Ford has been moved from the 4th guy behind Mike Venafro in the line for the 25th spot to the guy I have winning the 25th spot. We'll know more about the likelihood of this actually happening when we see Ford play a bit this spring.

In another major position shift, I now have Alejandro Machado winning the 24th roster spot as the backup middle infielder. The Twins aren't likely to accept Luis Rodriguez as the backup shortstop, and Machado is a better fit in that role. He's also being asked to work on his outfield play this spring, which means the Twins seem to be trying to mold him into a bit of a Jeff Reboulet/Denny Hocking utility type player. Even if all he could do was play short and second, Machado fits better than Rodriguez with this lineup, so this move made sense.

You'll also notice that Jose Mijares has been moved down to the last guy I have in the "no chance" category of the bullpen players. Unfortunatley, this is not because of anything Mijares did on the field - the death of his brother in Venezuela yesterday was a tragic circumstance that has Mijares flying to Venezuela to be with his family. I'm not removing him from the list because he hasn't been officially cut from camp (and likely won't be until he returns - although there is understandably no timetable for that at this point), but it seemed prudent to acknowledge that a player not in camp would be at the bottom of the list.

One final mention - Garrett Jones is being asked to concentrate on his outfield skills this spring, and that has been reflected by moving him into the outfielder section above rather than the first base section. If he starts getting at-bats and playing time as a first baseman this spring (more than in the outfield, anyway), then I'll move him back. For now, I'll take the Twins at their word and believe that he's being converted to the outfield.

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