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  • Twins Organizational Depth Chart - Outfielders

    Recently, we have reviewed the catchers, the first basemen, third basemen and middle infielders. Today we will be looking at the outfielders in the Minnesota Twins organization. If I thought separating the middle infielders was difficult, imagine separating the Twins' outfielders into three positions? Think about it. Do we know who will be starting, for certain, at any of the three positions, much less who the fourth or fifth outfielders will be?
    The Big Leaguers


    Josh Willingham had a down season in 2013 after winning a Silver Slugger Award for his tremendous 2012 season. His best defensive position is probably DH, and heíll likely spend some time there, but he will catch what he gets to in left field. Oswaldo Arcia struggled with the glove in his 2013 debut, though he had never played left field in his pro career until he was called up to the big leagues. I believe if he goes to right field, full-time, he will look better in time. Not great, but better. His bat is pretty potent, though he will need to avoid those prolonged slumps where he struggles to make contact.

    The centerfield situation will likely again have Aaron Hicks and Darin Mastroianni involved, along with the favorite, Alex Presley. Mastroianni was removed from the 40 man last month, but heís got a chance to be the fourth outfielder. Hicks hit great in spring training a year ago and then really struggled. Heís got immense talent and will get another chance. However, with Byron Buxton on the horizon, his time in centerfield may be limited.

    Chris Parmelee is out of options. Heís played both corner spots and some first base. Since Arcia has options, is it possible Parmelee gets April in right field? And don't forget that Chris Colabello played some right field for the Twins after never playing outfield in the minor leagues. He remains a bench option as well.

    2013 Draft Picks


    The Twins have drafted a lot of pitching early in the draft the last couple seasons and in 2013 they did not select an outfielder until the 14th round. The Twins took three college outfielders, all capable of playing center field.

    In the 14th round, they selected Seton Hall junior Zachary Granite. He is a speed guy who plays very good defense. He played in Elizabethton in 2013 and hit .285/.362/.343 with four doubles and five triples. He also stole 14 bases and was named to the Appy League postseason all-star team.

    In the 20th round, they took a four year senior from the University of Buffalo named Jason Kanzler. He went to the GCL and hit just .225/.286/.390 with six doubles, six triples and three home runs. He stole 13 bases in 14 attempts. As a senior, he hit .330 with 12 home runs and 21 stolen bases. He also won his second college Gold Glove.

    Ivory Thomas was the teamís 34th round pick. Another four year starter, Thomas spent his first three seasons at Cal-State Fullerton before playing at Cal-State Dominguez Hills his final season. He hit .383 and was on base about 52% of the time during the season. He didnít sign until late, so he played in just 16 games in the GCL.

    Prospect Rankings


    Just three outfielders appear in my Top 30 Twins Prospects list, and all three of them are in the Top 11.



    Byron Buxton is the greatest prospect ever. All right, that may, or may not, be a bit excessive, but he is the clear choice for the #1 prospect in all baseball, which also makes him the pretty clear choice for #1 prospect in the Twins organization. That is pretty impressive because Miguel Sano would be the top guy in most organizations. Buxton has all the tools. He has elite speed which he uses on offense Ė turning ground outs into hits, or turning doubles into triples Ė and defense Ė where he has great instincts to go with the tremendous range. He also has a very powerful arm. He has the ability to hit for average and should continue to add some power to his game. He can steal a lot of bases. He also has a very advanced approach at the plate. He is patient, and like the Twinsí Joe Mauer, isnít afraid to hit with two strikes. Yet, coaches and teammates talk about him as a very coachable, very respectful young man who has a drive to not only be good, but to be great. Prospects like Byron Buxton donít come around all that often. He could be up in the 2nd half of 2014 if all continues to go well.

    Max Kepler was also listed in the first base grouping as that may be the future position for him, but he has played more outfield to this point. He is my #9 Twins prospect. Unfortunately, his 2013 season was delayed by an elbow injury. When he arrived in Cedar Rapids for the second half, he played quite a bit of centerfield, taking over for the promoted Buxton. He has good speed, though at 6-4 and probably 220 already, he is a better fit in the corners, probably left field. He is a solid outfielder and looks graceful on the field. Offensively, he holds his hands high and has a very quick, very powerful swing. As he matures, he is going to add even more power. He struggled against left-handers in his time with the Kernels, so that will need to be monitored, but he is all about potential. He was added to the 40 man roster following the season.

    Adam Brett Walker was the Twins' 3rd round pick in 2012 out of Jacksonville. He had been a Baseball America Top 100 prospect for the draft, and the Twins were thrilled that he was still available when they picked. After his powerful 2013 performance in Cedar Rapids, I ranked him as the #11 prospect for the Twins. People want to talk about the negative with Walker. He spent the full season in Cedar Rapids as a 21 year old. He walked just 31 times in 553 plate appearances for an IsoD of just .041. If he can find a way to get that up to 0.55-0.60 in the next year or so, then it wonít be such an issue. However, his power is incredibly impressive. I would feel comfortable saying that, outside of Sano, Walker has the best power potential in the Twins' farm system. He drilled 31 doubles, seven triples and a Midwest League Leading 27 home runs. His 109 RBI led the league as well, and it was just one behind fellow Twins prospect Dalton Hicks for tops in all of minor league baseball. He also stole 10 bases in 10 attempts during the season. He is 14-14 as a professional after going 40-41 during his three seasons at Jacksonville. 2014 will be an interesting season for the right fielder. Heíll start the year in Ft. Myers but has a chance to move up to New Britain with a strong first half.

    Just outside of my Top 30 you will find JD Williams. He was the Twins' 10th round pick in 2010 out of high school. At the time, he was a toolsy project with terrific speed and very good strength. He was pushed to Beloit in 2012 and showed some signs but he did struggle. He returned to the Midwest League to start the 2013 season and showed great improvement. He hit .281, and he got on base 39% of the time. He also showed power with 12 doubles, six triples and eight home runs. He earned a second half promotion to Ft. Myers where he got off to a fast start before struggling late. He stole 26 bases between the two stops.

    Danny Ortiz gets forgotten in prospect rankings because of the Twins outfield depth. He doesnít put up numbers that blow you away. He just puts up solid all-around numbers while playing good defense. I think he can be a fourth outfielder type. Heís not a burner, but he can play centerfield. He was the Twins 4th round pick in 2008 out of high school in Puerto Rico. With New Britain a year ago, he hit .258 with 27 doubles, four triples and 12 home runs. Listed at just 5'-11", he is not a big guy, but he has surprising pop in his bat.

    One year ago at this time, Nate Roberts was a popular choice for a Top 30 prospect. He was coming off of a showing in the Arizona Fall League where he led the league in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. He did that despite having spent the season at Low-A Beloit (because he had missed so much time with knee injuries). That was the story in 2013, too. He had knee surgery before spring training last year. He played in one game in Ft. Myers and had to undergo another knee surgery. He still has the skill set to be a good leadoff hitter, but he needs to stay healthy.

    Zach Larson is a young prospect worth watching. He has solid tools all around, but he can really hit. He could hit for average and for power. He's an adequate defender in the outfield though he doesn't run real well. But he can hit. He was the Twins 19th round pick in 2012 out of high school. He was paid well over slot. He began 2013 in the GCL but earned a promotion to Elizabethton where he was arguably their top hitter in his time there.

    Roster
    Projections

    In each installment, I have been making my roster projections. Obviously additional signings or injuries will affect all this, and thatís why it is important to have more than just two or even three at each level. There are also always players put on the disabled lists. This just gives an idea of who could be at each affiliate at the start of the season.


    • Minnesota: Josh Willingham (LF), Alex Pressley (CF), Oswaldo Arcia (RF), Darin Mastroianni (4th), Chris Parmelee (UT), Jason Kubel (DH)
    • Rochester: Chris Rahl (LF), Aaron Hicks (CF), Wilkin Ramirez (RF), Jermaine Mitchell (4th), Evan Bigley (5th), Eric Farris (UT), Nate Hanson (UT), Chris Colabello (RF/1B)
    • New Britain: Danny Ortiz (LF), Byron Buxton (CF), Mike Kvasnicka (RF), Lance Ray (4th), AJ Pettersen (UT)
    • Fort Myers: Max Kepler (LF/1B), JD Williams (LF/DH), Jonathan Murphy (CF), Adam Walker (RF), Nate Roberts (4th/DH)
    • Cedar Rapids: Jeremias Pineda (LF), Zach Granite (CF), Dereck Rodriguez (RF), Jake Proctor (4th), Jason Kanzler (4th)
    • Extended Spring Training: Zach Larson, Ivory Thomas, Ryan Tufts, Jorge Fernandez, Adonis Pacheco


    Feel free to discuss the players and the roster.

    Just a quick note. I will be working on the organizational depth chart for pitchers, but I am going to wait a week to ten days. Iím doing that for a couple reasons. First, I think itís possible that the Twins add another pitcher or two on minor league deals (does Johan Santana come to mind?). Also, I will be making the long trek down to the Twin Cities on Thursday. Iíll be at the Diamond Awards, Twins Fest and the Twins Daily Winter Meltdown, so it will be a busy weekend.
    Comments 31 Comments
    1. VandyTwinsFan's Avatar
      VandyTwinsFan -
      Did you intentionally forget to put Colabello on a roster?
    1. Ctwink's Avatar
      Ctwink -
      and Max Kepler?
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      If Mastroianni makes the Twins over Hicks and if Willingham plays more than a quarter of his innings at LF (instead of DHing,) the Twins are in for a long season. Mastroianni adds nothing to a roster that has Presley. I still see the Twins adding an OF bat in an 1 year type of contract or trading for someone in his last contract year.
    1. TPetter's Avatar
      TPetter -
      Seth, are you hinting that a Johan signing is in the offing?
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Added Colabello and kepler to this, though both were also mentioned in the 1B article.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by TPetter View Post
      Seth, are you hinting that a Johan signing is in the offing?
      Never know... wouldn't surprise me. He won't be pitching until June, and I think he knows that the Twins will take care of him and his arm. I think it's 50/50.
    1. tellis205's Avatar
      tellis205 -
      A month or so before Eddie Rosario was even rumored to be suspended, I heard that there was internal discussions going on whether to move him back to the outfield. This being because of Dozier's turnaround this year. Since then he's been suspended. It wouldn't surprise me at all if Rosario stayed at 2nd base but played a significant amount of games in the OF this year once he returns. The amount of OF's we have is a strength and will be good leverage in future trade talks.
    1. lightfoot789's Avatar
      lightfoot789 -
      As you look at your roster projections: Who are some guys that could block a mid season promotion from the lower levels if they played well?

      Example: If Nate Roberts plays well at Fort Myer - does he move to New Britain mid season and if he does move to New Britain - who from New Britain gets cut or moves up.


      I would like everyones Mid Season promotions and (possible / needed) moves to pull those promotions off..............
    1. lightfoot789's Avatar
      lightfoot789 -
      I can see all three moving up to AAA during 2014 season.
      Danny Ortiz (LF), Byron Buxton (CF), Mike Kvasnicka (RF)

      I can see JD Williams. Roberts and possibly Walker moving to AA during 2014 season

      I see Murphy filling in where needed at High A and above based on injuries and such.
      I see Kepler staying in High A all year with his 2015 season being AA & call up possibility.

      I also see some trades in the near future for some of these guys. Probably add ons to bigger trades.
    1. VandyTwinsFan's Avatar
      VandyTwinsFan -
      Quote Originally Posted by seth stohs View Post
      added colabello and kepler to this, though both were also mentioned in the 1b article.
      touchť
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      There will be guys that get released during and at the end of spring training. It's an unfortunate, but necessary, part of the business. In these, you've seen all the names. I'm not going to discuss who is likely to be released throughout the year.

      Players move up, and sometimes it's because people get hurt up above. Prospects move up when they're ready, and some guys are at risk because they're just not going to block top guys.
    1. Boom Boom's Avatar
      Boom Boom -
      Quote Originally Posted by tellis205 View Post
      A month or so before Eddie Rosario was even rumored to be suspended, I heard that there was internal discussions going on whether to move him back to the outfield. This being because of Dozier's turnaround this year. Since then he's been suspended. It wouldn't surprise me at all if Rosario stayed at 2nd base but played a significant amount of games in the OF this year once he returns. The amount of OF's we have is a strength and will be good leverage in future trade talks.
      Hmm, it seems to me that if the Twins were serious about trading Rosario they'd want him to play 2B as much as possible. He'd have more trade value if he demonstrates he can be capable there. As a corner outfielder he doesn't really project to be a plus hitter.
    1. Dantes929's Avatar
      Dantes929 -
      Any chance of Dozier going back to shortstop? At some point I like an infield of Pinto, Sano, Dozier, Rosario and Mauer to go with an outfield of Arcia, Buxton and Hicks.
    1. Halsey Hall's Avatar
      Halsey Hall -
      Travis Harrison mentioned yesterday they told him if he was ever going to make the bigs, it would be in the outfield. He played only 3rd base last season and then the outfield in the fall. I look to see him in the outfield alot more this season as he chases the dream.
    1. OldManWinter's Avatar
      OldManWinter -
      I assume Arcia is a definite defensive upgrade over Delmon Young?
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Rosario back to LF, Buxton in CF, Hicks in RF, Arcia at DH.....your 2015 starting Twins OF/DH rotation.

      Or, maybe Hicks in LF and Arcia in RF, and ? at DH, with Rosario or Dozier dealt.....
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by Boom Boom View Post
      Hmm, it seems to me that if the Twins were serious about trading Rosario they'd want him to play 2B as much as possible. He'd have more trade value if he demonstrates he can be capable there. As a corner outfielder he doesn't really project to be a plus hitter.

      If it's me, I play him at 2B as long as possible because it will take him 0 time to move back to the OF. He's already very good there. No reason to move him from 2B if there's any chance at all they'll trade him or play him there.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by Halsey Hall View Post
      Travis Harrison mentioned yesterday they told him if he was ever going to make the bigs, it would be in the outfield. He played only 3rd base last season and then the outfield in the fall. I look to see him in the outfield alot more this season as he chases the dream.
      And he played there quite a lot before being drafted, in his amateur days, so it makes sense.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by OldManWinter View Post
      I assume Arcia is a definite defensive upgrade over Delmon Young?
      My honest opinion is probably... Not sure yet. But, Arcia should be in right field where I think he'd be just fine. Not great, maybe not even all that good, but just fine.
    1. Cris E's Avatar
      Cris E -
      The amount of OF's we have is a strength and will be good leverage in future trade talks.

      Only if Terry Ryan ever considers trading a minor leaguer... (Or were you saying we have leverage in talks with our own players because we have so many minor league OF piling up and "We've got guys willing to play for nothing if you won't take it"?) Whatever, more options are good, but wasting careers by not playing OR trading players is just selfish. Ryan has to find roles for these guys, and trade bait is a noble use.
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