Minnesota Twins: What does the Opening Day roster look like?
MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - It doesn’t exactly feel like baseball weather as Minnesota prepares for a winter storm later this week.
But the Minnesota Twins have finished Spring Training in Florida, and hit a plane earlier this week to Kansas City. They’ll open the 2023 regular season against the Royals at 3:10 p.m. Thursday. The Twins will be in Kansas City for three games before heading back south to face the Miami Marlins.
The Twins then fly home to face the Houston Astros for their home opener, starting next Thursday at Target Field. So what will the 2023 Twins look like?
Here’s an early glance at the Opening Day roster. Let’s start with the two biggest offseason moves, Carlos Correa and Pablo Lopez. The Twins brought back Correa on a six-year contract after deals with the Giants and Mets fell through over medical concerns. He’s now going to be in Minnesota’s infield for at least the next six years. Lopez came to the Twins in an offseason trade that sent fan-favorite and American League batting champion Luis Arraez to the Miami Marlins.
The Twins needed high-end starting pitching, and had to pay a price to get.
Pablo Lopez will get the Opening Day start in Kansas City. He’ll be followed by Sonny Gray and Joe Ryan. Tyler Mahle and Kenta Maeda round out the rotation. Gray went 13-8 last season, Gray went 8-5, Mahle had his moments and Maeda is back from Tommy John surgery. If the rotation can stay healthy, the Twins should be in a lot of games this season.
Carlos Correa will be the mainstay at shortstop. Joey Gallo will be at first base when he’s not the designated hitter. Jorge Polanco will be at second when healthy, and Jose Miranda will start at third. Nick Gordon and Kyle Farmer can fill in when necessary, and Ryan Jeffers and Christian Vazquez will share catching duties. Correa is their best player, Gallo is a big bat and the Twins should be better defensively.
Byron Buxton is the center fielder. Max Kepler, when healthy, is in right field. Michael Taylor and/or Trevor Larnach get left field. The Twins need Buxton, and Kepler for that matter, to stay healthy.
The Twins’ bullpen will feature Jorge Lopez, Jhoan Duran, Griffin Jax, Caleb Thielbar, Emilio Pagan, Jorge Alcala and Jovani Moran. The goal is to have Duran on the mound in the ninth inning, which means the Twins have a lead and are looking to close out the game.
The Twins had the lead in the American League Central Division for the better part of five months last season, but they couldn’t stay healthy and faded in September. Rocco Baldelli enters his fifth season as Twins’ manager, after winning the AL Central his first two years and now missing the playoffs two straight seasons.
It’s a pivotal year for the Twins, and there’s no reason they can’t be a playoff team if they stay healthy.