The Twins Left Fielder is Standing in Arizona
The Minnesota Twins are looking to fix a couple key problem areas this offseason. Obviously coming off of a season in which they once again, lost 90 games, some changes need to be made. Two of the most glaring issues when looking at the roster come in the form of starting pitching, and a left fielder. The former can be filled through free agency, but the latter may not have to be.
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Aaron Hicks is a former top prospect, and was a first round selection in the draft by the Twins. He hasn’t panned out thus far at the major league level, but did show signs of improvement in September this season. After being demoted all the way down to Double-A, Hicks will likely be given one last chance to prove that he belongs.
For Hicks, it is likely less about the ability, and more about the commitment. Ron Gardenhire mentioned multiple times that Hicks’ work ethic wasn’t where it needed to be. That will need to change if he wants to be manning an outfield spot for the Twins.
However, there is a much more intriguing possibility on the horizon for the Twins in 2015. His name? Eddie Rosario.
Currently the Twins 10th rated prospect, in what is an extremely deep farm system, Rosario is a converted infielder. With Brian Dozier and Jorge Polanco looking like they have a hold on the second base position, Roasrio needed to blaze his own path. Fortunately for him, we’ve seen this story before, ask Danny Santana.
While Santana shouldn’t stick in the outfield in 2015, Rosario should, and he may wind up being the opening day left fielder for the Twins.
Rosario is always going to have his concerns. He isn’t the highest character guy, and his 2014 season started late due to a suspension. However, his ability should outshine all of that.
He had a less than thrilling season with the New Britain Rock Cats in Double-A after being reinstated, but the career minor league numbers suggest that is the outlier and not the norm (.294/.343/.485, 57 home runs, 273 RBIs, over 427 games). Also, through the start of the Arizona Fall League, Rosario is hitting a blistering .409/.391/.455 with five RBIs and four stolen bases.
Onlookers have commented often that Rosario displays above average ball tracking ability in the outfield, and has all the tools to stick at the position. His bat hasn’t ever really been a question, and the Twins may be monitoring the situation as free agency looms closer.
Considering the positivity and possibility that surrounds Rosario, the Twins approach to the outfield this offseason could be different than fans are looking for. Yasmany Tomas is likely a pipe dream, and Melky Cabrera isn’t coming to Minnesota, but the Twins may not need more than a fourth option.
If the Twins believe in Rosario, he represents some of the top tier talent filtering in, and the ability for the Twins to go after outfield depth rather than a full fledged starter.
No matter what happens with the Twins left field situation, they have in house options, and it will be up to the next manager and Terry Ryan to decide if they are viable. At this point, Eddie Rosario has put his name on the map, and is trending upwards. Get excited Twins Territory, the youth movement is here.
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