Twins Future Position Analysis: Corner Outfield
Image courtesy of © Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports (Kepler, Kirilloff), John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports (Larnach)Current Corner Outfielders: Max Kepler, Alex Kirilloff
Minnesota locked up Max Kepler at the right time as the 27-year-old is under team control for four more seasons with a team-friendly deal. Over the last two seasons, he has hit .246/.332/.499 with 45 home runs and 41 doubles in 182 games. Not to mention, he represented MLB in Germany last winter by “promoting baseball and inspiring the next generation of players.”
Kirilloff’s 2020 debut was well documented because he became the first player in league history to make his debut by starting a playoff game. He went 1-for-4 in the game as the Twins were swept by the Astros. Kirilloff has been one of the team’s top prospects since he was drafted in the first round back in 2016. Entering last season, he was a consensus top-100 prospect with MLB.com and Baseball America having him ranked in the top 32.
While Kirilloff is expected play the majority of the team’s games in the outfield, Jake Cave has a chance to start the year in left field so they Twins can control Kirilloff’s service time. Since joining the Twins, Cave has hit .254/.321/.451 while showing the ability to play all three outfield positions. He does a good job of fitting into the fourth outfielder role, but some of the younger players mentioned below might start encroaching on his playing time in the coming year.
Brent Rooker made a strong impression last year as he hit .316/.381/.579 with three extra-base hits. Unfortunately, his season only last seven games as he suffered a fractured forearm on a hit by pitch.
LaMonte Wade Jr. has played 42 big-league games over the last two seasons and he has compiled a .684 OPS. Defensively, the Twins have used him at all three outfield positions, and he has even seen some time at first base.
On the Farm Options
Outside of the options mentioned above, there are other corner options in the minor leagues including some strong prospects.
Trevor Larnach is actually older than Kirilloff and he has been right behind him when it comes to prospect rankings in the organization. He spent the 2020 season with Kirilloff at the alternate training site after coming off a 2019 season where he was the organization’s Minor League Player of the Year. Larnach likely fits into the team’s long-term plans in the outfield which allows Kirilloff to switch to first base in the years to come.
Kerrigan showed some up in the upper levels of the minor leagues last season as he accumulated 31 extra-base hits in just 98 games. He adds to the organizational depth and he can play all three outfield positions. Wallner was drafted out of college in 2019 and saw time in Elizabethton and Cedar Rapids in his professional debut. He posted an .810 OPS with 31 extra-base hits in 65 games with all his defensive innings coming in right field.
Soularie and Rosario joined the Twins as part of the 2020 draft class. Soularie was the team’s second round pick out of the University of Tennessee. In his two collegiate seasons, he hit .336/.448/.586 with more walks (49) than strikeouts (47). Rosario was Minnesota’s final draft pick in the 2020 draft since it was shortened to five rounds. He has a lot of raw power and impressive exit velocities for a prep player. Aguiar, a native of Venezuelan, has been in the Twins system for two years. In 2019, he was limited to seven games, but he was the youngest player on the GCL Twins.
What do you think about the future of corner outfielders in Minnesota? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
OTHER POSTS IN THE SERIES
MORE FROM TWINS DAILY
— Latest Twins coverage from our writers
— Recent Twins discussion in our forums
— Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
- h2oface and dbminn like this