Since Twins manager Rocco Baldelli is still catching up on his sleep following the arrival of twin baby boys and celebrating a division title, he might need some help finalizing his playoff roster.

Here it is.

Baldelli has some decisions to make. He has players clamoring to be on the field for player introductions before Game 1 of their postseason, which will very likely begin with a best-of-three wild-card series at Target Field next week. Several Twins are in a fitness race to make that team. In the St. Paul Saints' season finale on Sunday, Byron Buxton, Nick Gordon and Joey Gallo formed the heart of the Saints lineup.

Player health adds a significant layer to Baldelli's postseason preparations. He made one decision official on Sunday when he announced that Pablo López and Sonny Gray will start the first two games of the postseason, a foregone conclusion. Baldelli has several other decisions to make before his team's postseason begins, some that will impact who makes the playoff roster and how games are managed. I am here to help Baldelli through this process.

Because the wild-card round is three games long, teams will probably carry 12 pitchers and 14 position players instead of 13 of each. With that in mind, I'm setting the rest of the roster with the following five important decisions.

1. Make Joe Ryan the No. 3 starter. Including the June 27 game in Atlanta, during which he later admitted to suffering a groin strain prior to giving up five home runs to Atlanta, Ryan has a 6.29 ERA while giving up 21 homers over 13 starts. But he posted a 3.82 ERA after recovering from the injury. I'd rather start him and go to Kenta Maeda or Bailey Ober at the first sign of trouble.

2. Welcome back, Chris Paddack. Paddack was a rainout away on Sunday from making his first start since 2022. But he's completed his comeback from elbow surgery. "I basically have a new elbow," Paddack said. Baldelli's reports speak favorably of Paddack's command and velocity. He should get a couple of looks this week after being called up from St. Paul and can be an asset in the bullpen in the wild-card round with his mid-to-upper 90's fastball to go with a sharp breaking ball.

3. Louie and Brock in the bullpen. And that bullpen will have bite. Emilio Pagán, Griffin Jax, Caleb Thielbar, the now-healthy Brock Stewart, Louie Varland and Jhoan Duran round out the bullpen. Varland and Stewart show up in time to help build a bridge to the ninth inning. The roster can be altered between series, so keep Dallas Keuchel ready in case the Twins advance out of the first round.

4. Royce Lewis is on the roster, even at less than 100%. Baldelli described Lewis's hamstring strain as a "Grade 1.5" A player with a Grade 1 strain can recover in a couple of weeks. That's not quite enough time for the hamstring to fully recover, but Lewis is a vital part of the lineup. His charisma helps in the dugout and clubhouse. You take Mr. Grand Slam at 80% and encourage him to avoid running at full speed.

5. No room for Byron Buxton. If the decision was due today, I would not have Byron Buxton on the roster. He has not had a good season, limited to designated hitting because of concerns over his knee then had it flare up when he tried to ramp up to play in the outfield for the Saints. That's concerning. Buxton is pushing to be on the roster. He asked to go to St. Paul last week to get at-bats. But the Twins can't have him as the DH when they've gotten production by rotating players through the spot during the second half. And the Twins might need to keep DH open for Lewis. It's been a trying season for Buxton, but he might have to hold out hope that the Twins win a series or two and he can contribute later in October. That leaves a spot on the roster for Andrew Stevenson 14th position player and be a bench option along with Christian Vázquez, Donovan Solano, Kyle Farmer and Willi Castro.

. . .

La Velle's lineup

His preferred 26-man Twins wild-card round roster:

Pitchers (12)

Pablo López, Game 1 starter

Sonny Gray, Game 2 starter

Joe Ryan, Game 3 starter

Jhoan Duran, bullpen

Griffin Jax, bullpen

Kenta Maeda, bullpen

Bailey Ober, bullpen

Chris Paddack, bullpen

Emilio Pagán, bullpen

Brock Stewart, bullpen

Caleb Thielbar, bullpen

Louie Varland, bullpen

Hitters (14)

Willi Castro, LF

Carlos Correa, SS

Kyle Farmer, Inf

Ryan Jeffers, C

Edouard Julien, 2B

Max Kepler, RF

Alex Kirilloff, 1B

Royce Lewis, 3B

Jorge Polanco, 2B

Donovan Solano, 1B

Andrew Stevenson, CF

Michael A. Taylor, CF

Christian Vázquez, C

Matt Wallner, RF