Twins manager Rocco Baldelli unveils possible Opening Day starting lineup, batting order

Max Kepler is leading off in Baldelli's lineup.
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In nine days the Twins will sprint onto the grass and dirt at Target Field for the regular season opener, and manager Rocco Baldelli has indicated that the batting order he used Monday in a spring training game could be the main lineup to start the season. 

  1. Max Kepler - RF
  2. Jorge Polanco - SS
  3. Nelson Cruz - DH
  4. Eddie Rosario - LF
  5. Marwin Gonzalez - 3B
  6. C.J. Cron - 1B
  7. Jonathan Schoop - 2B
  8. Jason Castro - C
  9. Byron Buxton - CF

"I could see a lineup that looks like this, or similar to this, rolling out several times this week," Baldelli said, via TwinsBaseball.com. "And I think we’re at the point in the spring where we can get our guys out there a couple days in a row, a few days in a row, and start piling on some at-bats late in the spring."

The same lineup won't be seen Tuesday because the game between the Twins and Orioles was rained out. 

Notable lineup features: 

  • Kepler, Cruz, Rosario, Gonzalez, Cron and Schoop have 20+ homer potential. 
  • Kepler hasn't hit leadoff since playing in the low minors, per the Twins. 
  • Polanco and Gonzalez are switch hitters, giving the Twins a maximum of five left-handed hitters and a maximum of six right-handed hitters with this base lineup. 
  • Willians Astudillo is not the projected Opening Day starting catcher. 
  • Buxton is hitting .448/.485/.966 with four homers, three doubles and just four strikeouts this spring. 
  • Four of the nine batters didn't play for the Twins last season (Cruz, Gonzalez, Cron and Schoop). 

Bring Me The News' Declan Goff recently opined on what the optimal Twins lineup looks like post-Miguel Sano injury (he's out until May), and he predicted Kepler would make an ideal leadoff hitter. 

"I like Kepler leading things off. He drew the most walks (71) on the team last season, including 58 against righties. Kepler also has the power to slug 20+ homers, something that's trending for leadoff hitters in the game today (see Mookie Betts, George Springer, Francisco Lindor and someone named Brian Dozier)."

The only differences between Goff's prediction and Baldelli's lineup is that Goff had Rosario-Polanco-Cruz hitting 2-3-4 rather than Polanco-Cruz-Rosario. Goff believes the middle of the order is interchangeable, especially against right-handed pitching. 

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