The Twins and Their Supposed "Outfield Depth"
I just read Souhan's recent article, in which he suggests trading Span due to outfield depth. I thought about the fact that it is pretty widely accepted in a lot of places that the Twins have outfield depth, but do they really?
I'm not sure what this means exactly in terms of how far beyond 2012 we're looking, but I guess the conclusion I came to is that we have a lot of young outfielders, but true outfield depth, imo, would be a situation where we have multiple outfielders that are fighting for playing time because they are high quality players. They certainly don't have that now, and I also don't see it in the next couple of years.
Left field is the only solid spot for the next couple of years, with Willingham there and then Span in center (assuming he's not traded). After that, this team really doesn't currently have a legitimate RF and has a couple of #4 outfielders on the bench. I think that Revere could be starting for this team, but I'm not convinced he's a starting caliber outfielder yet. In the minors, people like to talk about Benson and Hicks as the promising future out there, but they are both currently at AA and they're looking anything but promising right now. Maybe Parmelee has had some promising stretches, but nothing convincing yet that he's an everyday player (it was nice to see him play well in AAA again and will be interesting to see what he does as he arrives back here).
For comparison, take a look at Michael Cuddyer's minor league numbers and compare them to any of our current prospects. Cuddyer is a solid, maybe slightly above average, starter in the majors. Only one season in the minors did he post an OPS below .800, his first season in AA as a 20 year-old. For his remaining 3 years in the minors he proceeded to crush minor league pitching at the AA and AAA level.
Setting aside whether we should trade Span (I think that's a different, though related debate), I know we like to look to the future thinking we have OF depth and then slot guys like Revere, Benson, and Hicks into the big league lineups a couple years down the road. However, I really think that we're overrating how much depth we have in the minors in the outfield, at least right now and for the immediate future.