Minnesota Twins Spring Training Battles: Position Players
OF: It seems that the Twins weren’t bluffing about moving Miguel Sano into the outfield, and rumbles from early spring training have him maybe in left field instead of right. Coaches may worry about him learning the tricky aspects of right field at Target Field: He’d be playing up to 81 times in one of the toughest right fields to learn in all of baseball with the different wall compositions and that pesky overhang.
With Sano taking one spot (either left or right) and Eddie Rosario probably taking the other, that leaves center field up for grabs. Truth be told, it is Byron Buxton’s to lose. He’s added 6 pounds to his frame, yet still looks as lean as ever according to early reports. With his plus coverage, plus speed, and plus arm, the Twins need just below-average to average proficiency at the plate to have Buxton start 2016 in center field.
With his speed, he can help make up for Sano’s lack of it, thereby eliminating some of the downside of the Sano outfield experiment. His speed also will help put pressure on opposing pitchers and infielders, taking a page from the Kansas City formula. If Buxton does need some seasoning at the plate in AAA, then the outfield configurations could take different shapes: If Danny Santana graduates from super-sub to CF, then the corner positions would stay the same.
If prospect Max Kepler proves too hard to cut this spring, then Rosario could move to center with Kepler taking over his spot. Buxton will have to really flop this spring not to make the final 25.