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Updated: March 28th, 2014 11:45am
Wetmore: Is the roster really final? Were our projections even close?

Wetmore: Is the roster really final? Were our projections even close?

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by Derek Wetmore
1500ESPN.com

With the Twins surprising news that Jason Bartlett apparently will make the team, it's time to compare my roster projection from January to the current 25-man roster.

Now, it's still possible the Twins will make a waiver claim or pull off a trade to bring in an outfielder.

But that makes it even weirder that Ron Gardenhire and the Twins are selling Bartlett as a 'clubhouse guy' and a 'winner.'

For this comparison, I'll take it at face value that the final cut ahead of Sunday's deadline will be third catcher Dan Rohfling and thus the 25-man roster is set. Also, I'm making a few more educated guesses on position battles, based on new information from spring training. (The Twins haven't announced that Kurt Suzuki will be the starting catcher, for example, but it sure seems headed that way.)

How did my picks do? So-so.

Starting lineup:

Postion

My projection

Twins player

Catcher

Josmil Pinto

Kurt Suzuki

First Base

Joe Mauer

Joe Mauer

Second Base

Brian Dozier

Brian Dozier

Third Base

Trevor Plouffe

Trevor Plouffe

Shortstop

Pedro Florimon

Pedro Florimon

Left Field

Oswaldo Arcia

Josh Willingham

Center Field

Alex Presley

Aaron Hicks

Right Field

Aaron Hicks

Oswaldo Arcia

Designated Hitter

Josh Willingham

Jason Kubel

--

On starters, the Twins and I only matched on four spots. But we agreed on seven of the players, I had them in different places. Suzuki and Kubel appear to be the two players to crack the starting lineup that I didn't project in January. I had both on the bench, but not as starters.

--

Bench:

Bench

My projection

Twins player

Catcher

Kurt Suzuki

Josmil Pinto

Infield

Eduardo Escobar

Eduardo Escobar

Outfield/Infield

Jason Kubel

Chris Colabello

Flex

Chris Hermann

Jason Bartlett

--

In January, I gave Hermann an advantage because of his flexibility and manager Ron Gardenhire's history of having a third catcher on the 25-man roster. I certainly did not see Colabello or Bartlett making the team. The former had a great spring (which shouldn't matter much); the latter had a terrible spring (which apparently doesn't matter at all).

Hicks can't play every single day in center field and right now there is no contingency plan.

-- 

Rotation:

My projection

Twins player

Ricky Nolasco

Ricky Nolasco

Mike Pelrey

Kevin Correia

Phil Hughes

Phil Hughes

Kevin Correia

Mike Pelfrey

Sam Deduno

Kyle Gibson

 --

The starting rotation was mostly set because of where the money is being paid. With the fifth spot, I gave Deduno the lead because he is out of minor league options. I have no problem with Gibson making it, especially if he's the best pitcher left of the bunch, but I figured the Twins might keep Gibson (who has options) in the minors in favor of keeping an out-of-options player on the roster.

--

 Bullpen:

My projection

Twins player

Glen Perkins

Glen Perkins

Jared Burton

Jared Burton

Brian Duensing

Brian Duensing

Anthony Swarzak

Anthony Swarzak

Casey Fien

Casey Fien

Caleb Thielbar

Caleb Thielbar

Michael Tonkin

Sam Deduno

-- 

Tonkin really should have made the team, but he'll be up at some point this season. With Deduno out of minor league options, it makes sense to stash him in the bullpen as insurance in case someone is injured. He likely would not have cleared waivers, so unlike Scott Diamond, Deduno could not have been hidden in Triple-A Rochester.

With a glut of back-end-of-the-rotation starters and extra bullpen guys, I still think it makes sense to flip one for an outfielder. Even if that outfielder is a backup centerfielder, that is an upgrade over Bartlett.

What's the plan here? Is Bartlett shortstop insurance depth for Florimon? Could Darin Mastroianni conceivably have an impact as outfield depth? I don't have the answers. The answers likely aren't pretty, anyway.

Some may see this as nitpicking the 24th and 25th roster spots.  Each roster spot on a good team is important and the Twins right now are punting two of them. 

Derek Wetmore is the senior editor for 1500ESPN.com. His previous stops include MLB.com and the Minnesota Daily.
Email Derek | @DerekWetmore
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