Thursday, January 17, 2019

Where they stand: Center field

Presumed regular: Bryon Buxton

Others on 40: Jake Cave, Michael Reed, Zack Granite

Notable nonroster: None who figure for 2019

As with Miguel Sano, the Twins are counting on Buxton to get them where they want to be. Unlike Sano, they have some reasonable alternatives on the 40-man roster if he fails again.

Cave, who got a little more than 300 plate appearances last season and hit 13 homers, may seem the obvious Plan B. He wouldn't be for me. Two primary reasons:

  • I believe that Max Kepler, Granite, (probably) Reed and (possibly) Eddie Rosario are superior defensive center fielders to Cave;
  • Cave's walk-to-strikeout rate is horrendous, and I believe the Twins have already crossed the line on hitters with limited command of the strike zone.

My ideal Plan B is probably impractical in the era of 13-man pitching staffs, and that's a platoon of Granite and Hall. That duo would be made up of two guys with leadoff-hitter skills -- which is not to say that their skill are necessarily pitched high enough. But the Twins don't have an obvious leadoff hitter, so that would fill a lineup need.

Obviously, the ideal Plan B is not to need Plan B. If Buxton is the player we saw in the second half of 2017, the Twins don't need a Plan B, and they will have, if not a prototype leadoff man, someone who works in that lineup slot.

Buxton is Plan A. And I expect the Twins to be patient with Plan A.


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