Grading the Twins: Options in the Outfield

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The Minnesota Twins ended their 2014 home season today with a 2-1 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks. Phil Hughes delivered another masterful performance, and Minnesota ended the season on a positive note, at least in front of the few who attended the contest at Target Field. In continuing to grade out the team for 2015, we look to the outfield.

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Minnesota had a pretty rotation door in the outfield during the 2014 season. The Twins could have used some veteran depth, prior to the start of the season, and the lack of a signing proved to be somewhat of an issue throughout the summer. Waiver wire additions made up for some of the deficiency, but the outfield is going to be a position to be looked at during the winter.

Here is who played in the outfield for the Twins in 2014:

On top of the guys still in the Twins organization, Jason Kubel, Sam Fuld, Darin Mastroianni, and Josh Willingham played innings as well.

The first name on the list, is the most interesting. Danny Santana, the Twins “shortstop of the future” played a ridiculous amount of innings in center field this season. He played well above expectations, hitting .314/.351/.469 on the season. While he played a very admirable center field, it’s a position the Twins would likely want him moved out of. In 2015, with Byron Buxton knocking on the major league door, Santana should be immediately integrated back into the infield. Look for the to be a priority. However, given his play this season, there is nothing but joy with how things turned out. A

Minnesota snatched Jordan Schafer off of waivers after he was designated for assignment by the Atlanta Braves. Despite not being able to find playing time in Atlanta, Schafer filled in admirably in Minnesota. He showed his speed immediately, contributing 15 stolen bases for the Twins, while hitting an above average .285. Minnesota has to be thrilled with the return they got from the Braves castoff. B+

A former first round pick, Chris Parmelee once again played the utility role for the Twins, offering the most time in the outfield. He showed some power with his seven home runs, but a .257/.309/.386 line just isn’t going to get it done. he has the ability to be a replacement level player for the Twins, but he’s a luxury afforded to only a winning starting lineup. C

One of the best turnaround stories is Oswaldo Arcia. Despite scuffling at the plate, a few late season adjustment courtesy of hitting coach Tom Brunansky, helped to fuel Arcia’s rise at the plate. He has 19 home runs on the season, and while the .230 average isn’t good, a .452 slugging percentage and more consistent approach at the plate gives reason for optimism heading into 2015. B

Aaron Hicks had an incredibly interesting 2014. The former first round pick went from being a switch hitter and starting as the opening day center fielder, to being demoted to Double-A, to quitting switch hitting, to picking it back up, and finally being a September call up. Hicks showed some turnaround since his call up in September, but he has never lived up to his expectations as a first round pick. He has likely one shot left to prove he belongs on the Twins roster. Buxton is going to lay claim to center field, but with a turnaround, Hicks could be the answer in left. C+

Rounding out the list is converted catcher Chris Hermann. Hermann played some innings for the Twins in spot start type situations. He likely isn’t ever going to be relied upon as a consistent major leaguer, and his best shot to stick with the Twins in 2015 may be as a backup catcher. D+

We have taken a look at most of the Twins roster this season, but both the starting rotation and bullpen remain some of the largest question marks going into 2015. Check out our grades for both in the next two days.

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