No. 4 Eddie Rosario
This is just a wide spread look at the Twins starting left fielder. Eddie Rosario took continued steps in being not just a solid outfielder but an All-Star caliber one. Rosario finished the season with a .288/.323/.479 slash line and a .803 OPS. That is actually down from his 2017 season, but his first half was like something we rarely get to see in baseball.
Rosario’s first half was filled with a stat line of .311/.353/.537, a .890 OPS, and 19 home runs. If there is any way Rosario can harness a fraction of that over the entirety of a season as he continues to mature and develop he will be quite the force to be reckoned with.
On top of the actual baseball performance of Rosario is just the joy that comes with watching Rosario. Really not much unlike watching Astudillo, there is something infectious about watching Rosario play the game of baseball. His smile, his energy, his swagger just brings joy to his fans.
My hope is now with Joe Mauer retired that excitement and energy that he and Jose Berrios bring to the ballpark is something that may become the hallmark of this team moving forward. Of course, there is always a danger with such an emotionally charged team but it also would be quite entertaining to watch.
No. 3 Jake Cave got his shot
As spring training was getting rolling the Twins made a trade that I felt a little too excited about as it felt pretty minor at the time. On March 16th, the Twins traded Luis Gil, a minor league pitcher who is a long ways from being an MLB player (although he did perform well this season so we may reevaluate this take at a later date), for Jake Cave. Cave was a player who had been performing very well at the Triple-A level but with Giancarlo Stanton joining the roster the Yankees outfield was very crowded.
That was where the Twins front office saw an opportunity and acquired Cave. While it took some time for Cave to get his shot as the Twins continued to run Ryan LaMarre out in the lineup way too often when he did he took advantage of his opportunity.
May 19th Cave made his debut with the Twins and showed off his ability to add pop to the lineup as he made his first hit in a Twins uniform a home run. From there he went on to fill Byron Buxton‘s spot in the lineup and shuffled around the outfield defensively. Cave hit .265/.313/.473 and 13 home runs through 2018.
Cave performed well enough in 2018 that there are some who wonder if he hasn’t overtaken Max Kepler as a starting outfielder. He certainly didn’t hurt his chances with his 2018 performance in a Twins outfield mix that is full of potential major leaguers.