How do the Minnesota Twins compare to their AL Central competition at Center Field?
Puckett’s Pond is taking a look at how the Minnesota Twins compare at each position vs their AL Central Competition. We begin with Center Field.
Executives and analysts are always extolling the virtues of have great defence up the middle and they’re right. It seems to be a huge key to success in this league. Consider the 2015 Royals and Blue Jays.
Center field is an important component of defence up the middle.
Center fielders must be skilled defensively as well as (if not more so than) offensively. Less effective defenders can be stashed in the corners but porous defense in center is costly. Center fielders are the captains of the outfield. Every ball they want to get is theirs. Good jumps and reads, speed, efficient routes, judgment, a strong arm and leadership are some of the aspects of a very difficult role.
Who occupies that role on the AL Central teams?
Minnesota Twins: Almost certainly it will be Byron Buxton. Buxton hasn’t blown the doors off this spring by any stretch of the imagination but there isn’t really a realistic plan B. And there shouldn’t be. In spite of his struggles against Major League pitching very early in his career so far, the time is now for Buxton. He has nothing more to learn from facing minor league hurlers. In order to hit big league pitchers, he needs to face them.
As mentioned above, a center fielder’s defensive skills are perhaps more important than his offensive ones. Buxton is fully prepared in that regard. Byron put up 4 DRS (defensive runs saved) and 0.6 dWAR in only 327 innings in Center last season.
The bat will come for baseball’s number 2 overall prospect; the glove is already here.