We are on the cusp of a new baseball season and that means that Spring Training is underway and players from all over the world including peach-fuzz faced rookies and grizzly old veterans are beginning their fight for a MLB roster spot, they want to be one of the 750 players on a 25-man roster participating in “The Show“. Some players are already guaranteed spots, others will win a job, and still others will get a job because someone else had the misfortune to get injured.
Baseball fans all over have been watching free agency, hot stove league action as well as play in the winter leagues and everyone has their own idea what each of the 30 GM’s should have done and what they can still do to improve the home team. One of the fun aspects of spring training is pretending to be the GM and manager and decide who gets to make the 25 man roster for the big trip up north when April rolls around.
Choosing who makes up the 25-man is no easy task because there is so much that goes into deciding who gets to wear a MLB uniform when the season-opener finally arrives. You obviously want to put your 25 best players on the roster but it is not that simple, sometimes money, politics, injuries, legal issues, MLB rules and options and just plain luck come into play. Say you have three players for a single position, one is a better hitter, one is better in the field and the third player isn’t the best hitter or fielder but can do an adequate job of both and is good in the club house, who gets the job?
Choosing a 25 man roster is important but not as big a deal as you may think. GM’s and managers have quite a bit of flexibility in changing the roster over the span of the 162 game schedule and the playoffs. If you want to be the team that wins the final baseball game of the season you need depth and 25 players doesn’t cut it. Having depth is more important than ever, the 1965 World Series team used 35 players, the 1987 team used 36 players and the 1991 Twins used 35 players. The 2015 champion Kansas City Royals needed 45 players to win it all. The number of players the Twins have used for the last 10 years has ranged from 39 to 48 players, last season the Twins used 44 players.
Today I am not going to try to guess at the 2016 Minnesota Twins 25-man roster but we are going to take a look at the number of players that the Twins have used each season for the last 10 years and determine where those players came from. Are the Twins players predominately home-grown via the draft and amateur free agent signings or did they become Minnesota Twins through the waiver wire, a trade, free agency or some other means. Every team, be it the Twins or anyone else is obviously a mix of home-grown and acquired players but some clubs like the Yankees or the Red Sox have reputations of trading their prospects for experienced players other teams can no longer afford and teams like the Twins, A’s and others believe the way to go is through growth from within. There is no right or wrong way to go, it all depends on your circumstances and your pocket-book.
The PDF shows that the Twins used 433 players during this time frame but not 433 unique players as many players were on the roster year after year. It shows the number of roster spots the Twins needed in each of those 10 seasons and how many pitchers and position players made up the roster and how the Twins got their rights.
The PDF covers the Twins rosters from 2006-2015. Keep in mind that the chart tracks where players originally came from, for example, if you look at the pitchers side of 2015 you see a two in the Rule 5 column. That doesn’t mean that they had two Rule 5 pick-ups in 2015, it means that two roster spots in 2015 were occupied by players that the Twins had picked up as Rule 5 selections over the years and they were on the 2015 roster at one time or another, in this case we are talking about J.R. Graham and Ryan Pressly.
AMA or amateur free agents are players that were not draft eligible and most of these players were signed by Minnesota out of Australia, Europe, or Caribbean countries. We are talking about players like Miguel Sano, Oswaldo Arcia, Danny Santana, Max Kepler and many others.
The bottom line is that over this 10 year span, 44.80% of the roster spots were occupied by players either drafted by Minnesota or signed by Minnesota as AFA, the remaining 55.20% were acquired from other organizations in one way or another. Does this make the Twins a home grown team? I don’t know, you tell me.
Fun Twins fact: Based on the Twins 40 man roster who is the oldest player that will be in camp this year? Turns out that the two grey beards in camp are Ervin Santana and Ricky Nolasco who were born just a day apart in December 1982.