Who will be Minnesota Twins unsung bench heroes in 2023?
As the Minnesota Twins start to ramp up the 2023 season with spring training underway there's newfound optimism with the signing and acquiring of Carlos Correa and Pablo Lopez. One strength of the team is its utility depth. Kyle Farmer, Nick Gordon, Michael Taylor, Donovan Solano, and Ryan Jeffers all offer quality play coming off the bench, which could be the difference in an AL Central division title.
I see this depth as a strength of the team.
All of the aforementioned players will likely be getting multiple starts per week. Let's break down the core amongst other depth options for the upcoming season.
Farmer brings a nice veteran presence with some nice pop in his bat. He can play virtually any infield position including catcher in an emergency. He's also capable of playing the outfield particularly left field. When the Twins face lefties he will most likely be in the line up more often than not. He could play 3rd base, moving Jose Miranda to first base or left field and spell Joey Gallo in said scenarios.
Nick had basically a do-or-die season for the Twins last season and took every opportunity to shine after a seven-and-a-half-year climb through the minor leagues. An infielder in the minors, Gordon showed he's more than capable of playing a decent outfield last season. Again I see Gordon in the line up multiple times per week. I believe the Twins will be cautious with Alex Kiriloff at first base, starting him only 3-4 times a week.
With that in mind, Gordon may find himself garnering a few infield starts there along with the outfield group. He's versatile enough and if he can follow up his production from last year that provides great value.
Michael A. Taylor
Grade A defender in outfield who offers a premium insurance policy if and when Byron Buxton has his IL stints and take his "load management" starts. He will surely find himself in the outfield 2-4 times a week. He will also likely platoon with Max Kepler in right field taking the start against lefties. He will get plenty of time out there.
Another great veteran addition to the Twins. He has gap power earning him the nickname of "Donnie Barrels" for his ability to hit the ball hard. I see him in a platoon with Jorge Polanco at 2nd Base taking the left-handed starts and sliding into the DH spot as needed. He's another player who could play any infield spot and will prove valuable as a pinch hitter.
Will definitely split time with Christian Vazquez behind the plate. Ryan will take a majority of his starts against lefties as he has struggled with the righties. A solid back stop with a nice arm can also provide a little pop off the bench and as a DH.
On the Farm
Infield: Hot prospects Brooks Lee, Edouard Julien, and Austin Martin stand at the ready in case of injury. Willi Castro and Eliiot Soto provide MLB-ready experience for short-term help, with Royce Lewis coming back from injury mid to late June.
Outfield: Gilberto Celestino, Kyle Garlick, Matt Wallner, Trevor Larnach and Mark Contreras all have MLB time. Depending on how injuries shake out any one of this group may be called upon to contribute. All bring different capabilities to the party.
There you have it, I like the depth of the Twins position players. To me it's one of the strong points of the team. Let's see how spring training progresses as things start to play out.