Minnesota Twins: Way-too-Early Opening Day Lineup Predictions for 2023

Minnesota Twins center fielder Byron Buxton is congratulated by left fielder Nick Gordon at the dugout. (Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports)
Minnesota Twins center fielder Byron Buxton is congratulated by left fielder Nick Gordon at the dugout. (Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Minnesota Twins
Minnesota Twins outfielder Trevor Larnach swings against the Arizona Diamondbacks. (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) /

2023 Minnesota Twins Opening Day Outfield Projections

2023 Opening Day Left Fielder: Trevor Larnach

In a similar position to Alex Kirilloff, Trevor Larnach is entering his third MLB season with some major injury concerns. For each of the past two seasons, Larnach has had stretches where he’s looked like a future All-Star and stretches where it looks like the injury is taking a serious toll on him.

Larnach is also similar to Kirilloff in that this serves as a sort of make or break season for the young outfielder. If he can’t manage to be a little more consistent, then he can’t be seen as a realistic option going forward.

2023 Opening Day Center Fielder: Byron Buxton

Despite what some Twins fans would like to believe, Byron Buxton’s 2022 season was a successful one that helped validate his new extension. Even though his season ended with a familiar scene (Buxton on the injured list), he should be the man in center field once again.

The first time All-Star has Gilberto Celestino and Nick Gordon to back him up if needed, but it’s not worth signing another player to try and fill the void when Buxton is out. He’ll be the guy in center once again.

2023 Opening Day Right Fielder: Matt Wallner

Right field is easily the biggest question mark (outside of shortstop) that the Minnesota Twins have. The position has been primarily occupied by Max Kepler for the last seven years, but after yet another struggling season, the team needs to admit that Kepler is best used as an elite defensive bench outfielder.

This leaves Alex Kirilloff, Nick Gordon, and top prospect Matt Wallner as the options here, and with Kirilloff at first, Wallner stands out as the best option. Wallner was decent in his first big league cup of coffee, but he has the best chance of anyone currently on the roster of manning the position long term.

If the team doesn’t make any major bullpen additions, signing a big-name corner outfielder could be a possible option, but the team should instead let Wallner, Kepler, Kirilloff, and Gordon take up the time here, with Wallner getting the most run.

2023 Opening Day Designated Hitter: Luis Arraez

Last but certainly not least, there’s no one better to put as the Minnesota Twins designated hitter than the newly-minted top hitter in the American League. Arraez’s defense is unplayable at any position outside of first and second, and in both of those places the Twins have better options defensively. Keeping Arraez as the DH keeps his bat in the lineup and limits defensive weakness.