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What's Rocco Baldelli's last-minute playoff roster going to look like?

There's some tough decisions looming.
Rocco Baldelli

The Twins are playing in the American League Division Series for the first time in nine years.

Even though there's been plenty of contributors to this year's team, manager Rocco Baldelli and his staff face some tough decisions on who's in and who's out on the 25-man playoff roster.

Playoff rosters must be submitted to the MLB office by 9 a.m CT, Friday Oct. 2. Let's start with the givens on who makes the team before we get into bubble players.

Position players:

  • Jason Castro
  • Jake Cave 
  • C.J. Cron 
  • Nelson Cruz 
  • Mitch Garver 
  • Marwin Gonzalez 
  • Max Kepler 
  • Jorge Polanco 
  • Eddie Rosario 
  • Miguel Sano 
  • Jonathan Schoop

Even though Kepler hasn't had an at-bat since Sept. 14, he told reporters on Wednesday he's good to go. All 11 listed above should be playoff roster locks. 

Now let's go through what pitchers are guaranteed to make the team.

Pitchers

  • Jose Berrios 
  • Randy Dobank 
  • Tyler Duffey 
  • Zack Littell 
  • Trevor May 
  • Jake Odorizzi 
  • Taylor Rogers 
  • Sergio Romo 
  • Devin Smeltzer
  • Martin Perez

Perez is guaranteed to make the roster in my book because he's a lefty and the Twins are short on southpaws. If he does start a playoff game, it'll only be out of necessity and he'll probably be deployed as an opener.

So if we take the 11 position players and the 10 pitchers, that makes 22 hypothetical locks, meaning there's only three spots remaining on the playoff roster and this is where things get tough.

Bubble players

  • Luis Arraez
  • Ehire Adrianza
  • Willians Astudillo
  • Brusdar Graterol
  • Kyle Gibson
  • Cody Stashek
  • LaMonte Wade

Among these seven players, only three can make the team. With the Twins at 11 position players, they'll likely add at least one more position player. The problem is, both Adrianza and Arraez are battling injuries.

Arraez has an ankle sprain but it doesn't sound like it's as bad as we thought, Baldelli said on Tuesday "he's doing significantly better than he was."

Meanwhile, Adrianza said he feels 100 percent after an oblique injury that's sidelined him since Sept. 12.

Finally, there's Astudillo, who is healthy and has position versatility. However, if Arraez is good to go, then that probably means Adrianza is out.

If the Twins carry 13 position players, I think Astudillo gets the final spot. With Jake Cave as the fourth outfielder, there's no way they carry a fifth outfielder, so Wade's also out.

If the Twins are going to carry 13 position players, that means they'll carry 12 pitchers.

Even though he has just 10 big league games on his resume, I think Graterol makes this team. He might be inexperienced, but you just can't leave a player off your roster in the postseason whose fastball touches 100 mph.

That could lead to Stashek and Gibson battling to be the 12th pitcher, and even though Stashek's in a similar boat as Graterol, I think the Twins go with the rookie. Gibson has been awful this season, especially lately with an ERA of 7.54 in his last 37 innings. 

They've tried Gibson as a reliever this season and the results haven't been great. In five relief appearances, he's faced 27 batters and has a WHIP of 1.87. 

Stashek on the other hand has much better vitals – 3.24 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 25 strikeouts to 1 walk in 25 innings – and he'd likely be a solid specialist to get righties out.

So if Stashek is the 12th pitcher, here's how the playoff roster would look when the Twins take the field for Game 1 in New York.

Position players:

  • Luis Arraez
  • Willians Astudillo 
  • Jason Castro
  • Jake Cave
  • C.J. Cron
  • Nelson Cruz
  • Mitch Garver
  • Marwin Gonzalez
  • Max Kepler
  • Jorge Polanco
  • Eddie Rosario
  • Miguel Sano
  • Jonathan Schoop

Pitchers:

  • Jose Berrios
  • Randy Dobank
  • Tyler Duffey
  • Brusdar Garterol
  • Zack Littell
  • Trevor May
  • Jake Odorizzi
  • Taylor Rogers
  • Sergio Romo
  • Devin Smeltzer
  • Cody Stashek
  • Martin Perez

Playoff rosters are just like regular season rosters in that if someone gets hurt, you can activate a player to take someone's roster spot.

With the Twins winning 101 games this season, let's see if these 25 players can do enough to beat the Yankees for once.

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