The 2017 Minnesota Twins had a very good outfield as the team found playoff baseball again. How does that group rank all-time with other Twins outfields?
The Minnesota Twins have built a history that is filled with plenty of success, headlined by World Series victories in 1987 and 1991. Of course, there are plenty of seasons we would like to forget as well. Here is the start of a series that will look at something that should be fun to remember. It will examine some of the best position groups through Twins history. The first position group up in the series is the outfield.
This ends up being an especially exciting adventure with the Twins 2017 instalment of the outfield receiving a lot of credit for the Twins playoff success. It is a group if it stays together could very well find themselves on a similar list to this one in the future.
The group was led by Byron Buxton and his defense in center field. Buxton ended the season at the top of the league in terms of defensive WAR among outfielders. He also found himself second among all position players, only behind Los Angeles shortstop Andrelton Simmons. Offensively, Buxton ended the season with a slash line of .253/.314/.413, 16 home runs, and 29 stolen bases bringing his season WAR to 5.1. The hope is that Buxton has truly found his groove at the plate and will be able to replicate his second half line of .300/.347/.546 which would look very good over a full season.
To Buxton’s right was Eddie Rosario who had a breakout season of his own. Coming into 2017, Rosario was known as a free-swinging, undisciplined hitter. Some adjustments were made and Rosario went on to hit .290/.328/.507 with 27 home runs. Questions surround whether or not Rosario can sustain that type of production, but he sure looked good doing it in 2017 finishing with a 1.7 WAR.
The regular right fielder was Max Kepler. Kepler had a bit of a rough season in comparison to what we expected from him in 2017 as the lefty looked poised for some major growth in his game. Instead, he struggled at the plate against left-handed hurlers making it easier for opposing teams to neutralize his bat, especially late in games. Toward the end of 2017, Kepler seemed to be figuring those lefty-lefty matchups out and finished the season with a slash line of .243/.312/.425, 19 home runs, and a 2.1 WAR.
Buxton, Rosario, and Kepler have provided fans with a young, talented outfield to cheer for and an outfield unit, if it stays together, that could produce some brilliant things. As you can already see, WAR has been referenced several times and that will be one of the major measures used in determining the best outfields in Twins history for the purposes of this list. It will not be the only measure as some other factors will come into play as well. Without any other delay let’s start looking at the top 5 outfields in Twins history.