MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 27: (L-R) Joe Benson #63, Trevor Plouffe #24, Rene Tosoni #23, Chris Parmelee #64 and Danny Valencia #19 of the Minnesota Twins celebrate a grand slam home run by Tosoni in the sixth inning against the Kansas City Royals on September 27, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
For most MLB teams, the focus is now officially on 2012. You can probably say the same for most fans, too. So today, we're kicking off a series here at MLBDD that projects each team's 25-man roster for Opening Day 2012. We're not projecting trades or free agent signings here, so this is purely focusing on the talent that each team already has in-house. The 2012 season may not start soon, but we can still think about what it might look like.
Starting Lineup (ages are based on April 4, 2012)
Catcher: Joe Mauer - Age 28
First Base: Justin Morneau - Age 30
Second Base: Alexi Casilla - Age 27
Third Base: Danny Valencia - Age 26
Shortstop: Tsuyoshi Nishioka - Age 27
Left Field: Ben Revere - Age 23
Center Field: Denard Span - Age 28
Right Field: Joe Benson - Age 24
Designated Hitter: Chris Parmelee - Age 24
1. CF Span 2. 2B Casilla 3. C Mauer 4. 1B Morneau 5. DH Parmelee 6. 3B Valencia 7. RF Benson 8. SS Nishioka 9. LF Revere
1. LHP Francisco Liriano - Age 28
2. RHP Carl Pavano - Age 36
3. RHP Scott Baker - Age 30
4. RHP Nick Blackburn - Age 30
5. RHP Brian Duensing - Age 29
Closer: LHP Glen Perkins - Age 29
Some Quick Thoughts
- There are presumably some people that would rather see Trevor Plouffe in there at shortstop or second base, but I'm thinking that the Twins will go with Casilla and Nishioka one more time. The Twins probably don't want to give up on their investment with Nishioka yet, Casilla was easily the best of the trio in 2011, and Plouffe showed that he has some serious issues defensively even while flashing pop.
- I'm guessing that Danny Valencia gets another shot at third base, too. The Twins just don't have much else at the position right now and at least he still showed similar power and patience in 2011.
- The youth movement is happening in Minnesota's outfield. Maybe they bring back Michael Cuddyer, or even Jason Kubel. But they want to see what they have in Revere and Benson, and 2012 presents as good an opportunity as they'll get. The same goes with Parmelee at DH.
- It's not happening in the rotation yet, though, unless they trade Liriano or maybe even Pavano (if they can) to free up a spot for Liam Hendriks or Scott Diamond.
- They're pretty much going to have to rebuild the bullpen after the entire bullpen was at or below replacement outside of Perkins. He looked downright good in 2011, but you have to wonder who else is going to help him out.