Minnesota Twins 2018 positional recap and 2019 predicitons, part 6: Outfield

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 20: (L-R) Eddie Rosario
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 20: (L-R) Eddie Rosario /
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Minnesota Twins
KANSAS CITY, MO – JULY 20: Max Kepler #26 of the Minnesota Twins catches a ball hit by Rosell Herrera #7 of the Kansas City Royals in the fourth inning at Kauffman Stadium on July 20, 2018 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images) /

Matt’s predictions

The starting 3 outfielders are going to be pretty straightforward to start the season. Just like the past few years, Eddie Rosario will start in left, Byron Buxton will get center, and Max Kepler will take right. Assuming all will be healthy, there’s really no reason to expect anything else. Jake Cave has likely earned the 4th outfielder role thanks to his performance and high potential, and as previously mentioned, Cave could get some starts at DH as well.

The biggest question regarding the Minnesota Twins outfield in 2019, in my eyes, will be what happens to Robbie Grossman. He’s not too expensive, and I believe he does more for the Twins than a lot of fans realize, but at the same time, he’s far from a critical piece of our offense. The emergence of Jake Cave has made Grossman expendable. Ideally, I’d like to shop him in trade for as good of a prospect as the Twins can get. He wouldn’t get much, but something is better than nothing, and there’s not really any big reasons to hold onto Grossman much longer.

What I think will happen, however, is that Grossman will be back with the Twins for at least the start of 2019. His upside is pretty limited, but he also has a pretty high floor. As it stands now, the Twins have a lot of open space on the roster. That will likely change as free agents are signed throughout the offseason, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Twins break camp with both Grossman and Cave on the roster to start the year.

Where things might get a bit more interesting could be if Zack Granite plays well in the minors. If he does, I could see the team trading or even DFAing Grossman to make space for someone else. Then if an outfielder gets hurt, Granite could be called up for depth. Overall, though, there’s probably not a whole lot in question with the 2019 Minnesota Twins outfield.

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In summary

Other than a short, disappointing year for Byron Buxton, the Twins outfield was pretty stable. Eddie Rosario and Max Kepler played close to full seasons in the corners, and there Ryan LaMarre, Jake Cave, and Robbie Grossman were essentially the only other outfielders to see significant playing time.

Rosario had a fantastic season, while Kepler continued to plateau, albeit at an acceptable level of production. Jake Cave emerged as a potential gem and should get plenty of chances to make an impact in the lineup. There are a few different scenarios of what could happen to Grossman, but beyond that, the Twins’ outfield is pretty well set for 2019 and beyond.