Minnesota Twins: Should he Stay or Should he Go? The Twins, Mauer, and 2019.
Replacement Candidates from within
Below is a list of guys the Twins currently have in the system that could easily step in to take over for Mauer in 2019.
Kennys Vargas/ByungHo Park
These two guys are linked together because it is starting to look like a long shot that either guy is with the Twins by the 2019 season. 2018 is maybe even in question. Since Park and Vargas were clearly in consideration at one point for a DH/1B role with Twins they need to at least appear on this list. Even if their future with the club is looking bleak.
Daniel Palka has primarily been an outfielder since coming to the Twins’ system, but a switch to 1B to snag a major league spot wouldn’t be out of the question. Especially since he saw some time there when he was with the Diamondbacks. Palka may warrant a call up yet this season as he is batting .273/.325/.435 with 12 home runs.
2019 may be too early for Lewin Diaz and he may need more time to develop. He is currently at Single-A Cedar Rapids where this season he has batted .288/.325/.445 with 12 home runs. As a raw talent Diaz is a fringe top 10 prospect in the Twins’ system and depending on his development, he could be anywhere from still figuring it out in Chattanooga or knocking on the door to the big leagues.
Brent Rooker the 35th pick in this year’s draft seems to be the guy the Twins’ front office would want ready to take over for Mauer in 2019. Between Advanced Rookie Elizabethton and High-A Fort Myers, Rooker has batted .286/.374/.577 with 17 home runs. He is currently playing as an outfielder but saw time at first base in college making the position switch a real possibility. And it may be his only open route to big leagues as it seems the trio of Eddie Rosario, Byron Buxton, and Max Kepler will hopefully be entrenched together for some time to come.