Taylor's Twins Talk

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

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Spring Roster Update #2

Every Sunday from now until the end of Spring Training, I'll post an update on the state of the Twins roster. There are 25 roster spots available to be filled by the various players in camp. The 25 players who I think would win those roster spots will appear in black, listed by position. Some of those players are locks to make the team, barring injury, and I've bolded those players. Players who I think still have a chance to win one of those spots will be listed in blue. Also, there are quite a few players in camp who are around simply to give the team warm bodies in the early days of spring -- those players will be listed in red. The order in which a player is listed under any position is a rough rank-ordering, and I'll also note whether a player has moved up or down that list (with a +/-/= system) based on performance so far this spring. If a player is cut, he'll be removed from the main list and placed in a "players cut from camp" section.

At the end of the list of players, I'll offer some brief comments explaining my choices. You should remember that this list does not represent the list of players who I would take north if I could at the end of Spring, but rather the players who I think will win jobs.

One final note: the 25th spot on the roster could go either to a 12th pitcher or a 14th position players. As a result, that position will appear at the end of the list, with both pitchers and position players who could win the position listed.


Starting Pitcher - 1 - Francisco Liriano (=)
Starting Pitcher - 2 - Scott Baker (=)
Starting Pitcher - 3 - Livan Hernandez (=)
Starting Pitcher - 4 - Boof Bonser (=)
Starting Pitcher - 5 - Kevin Slowey (=)
Glen Perkins (=)
Nick Blackburn (=)
Phil Humber (=)
Zach Day (+)
Brian Duensing (-)
Brian Bass (=)
Kevin Mulvey (=)
Randy Keisler (=)
Deolis Guerra (+)
Oswaldo Sosa (-)
Closer - 6 - Joe Nathan (=)
Setup - 7 - Pat Neshek (=)
Bullpen - 8 - Matt Guerrier (=)
Bullpen - 9 - Juan Rincon (=)
Bullpen - 10 - Dennys Reyes (=)
Bullpen - 11 - Jesse Crain (=)

Possible alternates listed under Roster Spot #25
Armando Gabino (=)

Catcher - 12 - Joe Mauer (=)
First Base - 13 - Justin Morneau (=)
Second Base - 14 - Nick Punto (=)
Third Base - 15 - Mike Lamb (=)
Shortstop - 16 - Adam Everett (=)
Left Field - 17 - Delmon Young (=)

Center Field - 18 - Carlos Gomez (=)
Right Field - 19 - Michael Cuddyer (=)
Designated Hitter - 20 - Jason Kubel (=)
Backup Catcher - 21 - Mike Redmond (=)

Eli Whiteside (+)
Drew Butera (-)
Jeff Christy (=)
Allan de san Miguel (=)
Utility Infielder - 22 - Brendan Harris (=)

Utility Infielder - 23 - Brian Buscher (+)
Randy Ruiz (+)
Alexi Casilla (-)
Alejandro Machado (-)
Matt Tolbert (-)
Matt Macri (-)
Howie Clark (=)
Chris Basak (=)
Tommy Watkins (=)
Felix Molina (=)
Backup Outfielder - 24 - Craig Monroe (=)
Jason Pridie (=)
Denard Span (+)
Jon Knott (-)

Miscellaneous Reserve - 25 - Carmen Cali (=)
Garrett Jones (=)
Casey Daigle (+)
Mariano Gomez (+)
Julio DePaula (+)
Jose Morales (-)
Ricky Barrett (-)
Darnell McDonald (=)

Starting Pitchers: Kevin Slowey didn't have a particularly great performance in his spring debut, but it's going to take more than one bad outing to dislodge him from his perch as a favorite to win a starting slot. Glen Perkins and Brian Duensing also struggled, but again I don't think that a single bad performance to start the spring is going to do too much to their chances. Nick Blackburn had one of the more impressive performances of the guys on the outside looking in, and if he keeps it up he has an excellent shot at dislodging Slowey.

Relief Pitchers: There was more confirmation in various quotes this week that the Twins are likely to go with 12 pitchers at the start barring something unforeseen happening. Unfortunately, the primary candidates for that twelfth spot -- Carmen Cali and Glen Perkins -- both struggled (Cali walked in two batters with the bases loads, which is obviously not a good way to impress the coaching staff). The Twins would prefer to take a lefty in that position, so we'll see if either Cali or Perkins can come back strong in week two to grab the lead a little more securely. I'm leaving Cali in that spot for now on the board, but another bad performance this week will knock him down.

Infield: The Nick Punto/Brendan Harris battle was officially joined as spring training started, and Punto won week 1. Harris played in the first game and misplayed a double-play ball, throwing wide to first. He also failed to get a hit in his first 4 spring at-bats -- a ridiculously small sample size, to be sure, but remember that the pressure is on Harris to demonstrate his ability with the bat. Punto didn't fare any better at the plate, going 0-for-2 -- but he delivered as advertised defensively. The battle for the second backup infielder spot also got interesting, with Brian Buscher's strong spring so far moving him into position to possibly win that spot (rather unexpectedly). It's still early, and there are quite a few guys battling for the position, but so far the news has been good for BB.

Outfield: Carlos Gomez looked pretty bad at the plate in several at-bats this week, but he showcased his raw talent (strong arm, extreme speed) rather effectively. Denard Span didn't play enough to make any significant statements about his performance (he went 1-for-2), and Jason Pridie went 1-for-6 and looked bad in comparison to Gomez when making a throw to the outfield. With Craig Monroe missing time due to a mild injury, the backup outfielder competition took a brief timeout -- although Jon Knott went 1-for-6. Monroe sits at 1-for-3 on the spring, and should be back early in the week.

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