Saturday, September 5, 2015

Outfield alignments

Aaron Hicks rejoined the Twins on Friday and was immediately returned to the starting lineup. Byron Buxton sat.

We'll see how Paul Molitor juggles playing time now with four presumably regular outfielders -- Buxton, Hicks, Torii Hunter and Eddie Rosario. My belief is that the team will be better off if Hunter sits and the three 20-somethings play, but as I've said before, the Twins have a substantial emotional investment in Hunter. They signed him to be at the center of the team, and they're not likely to push him aside completely in the final month.

Molitor has said that if Buxton is in the lineup, he's playing center field. That's the right call. Presumably Hicks will be the play-around guy.

Buxton: CF
Hunter: RF
Rosario: LF
Hicks: Whichever position is open.

My guess is that the two highest priorities to play will be Rosario and Hicks, who have the best hitting numbers on the season.

The guy who's pretty much guaranteed to lose playing time is Shane Robinson, who has been getting consistent time in left field when Hunter sits, with Rosario shifting to right field. Now it''s going to take sitting two "regulars" to get Robinson in the lineup.

Robinson, incidentally, has already set career highs in at-bats, runs scored and hits. He has almost no power, but his batting average and on-base percentage are better than Hunter's, and his defense is markedly better. He's a decent fourth or fifth outfielder, but the need for him this month is probably pretty light.


  1. I agree largely with your post. As good as Sano is and will be, I am just waiting for things to come together for Buxton. I expect him to make himself the centerpiece of this team, even if takes a year or more for that to happen. Whether he should be playing everyday right now, is debatable but he will hopefully be out there more often than Hunter, who should probably be restricted to DH duties and not much of those.

    I wonder if an outfield of Hicks, Rosario and Buxton will actually be the long term answer for the Twins. I expect either Rosario or Hicks to be traded eventually, and somebody out of the group of Kepler, Walker, Arcia, and Harrison to eventually emerge as the 3rd outfielder. That will likely take awhile, however.

    What is interesting about this team and many of its prospects, is that there is a fair amount of versatility among them. They could be combined in several different ways, with one or more shifting among positions, sort of like Zobrist did for the Rays. I tend to think that having a clear position and doing no more platooning and shifting among positions than absolutely necessary, is usually best for young players. That might not be possible with this group. It should be interesting to see how all it works out over the next couple of years.

  2. Arcia? Never my choice for OF instead of Hicks or Rosario. You may as well have Delmon Young.

    He has a hard shell. If he learns to take what a pitcher gives him instead of trying to do the impossible, then he is a DH /PH and a occasional replacement player.

    Or, traded. But he needs an attitude adjustment.