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Article: Who Will Be The Twins' 4th And 5th Outfielders?

oswaldo arcia danny santana carlos quentin ryan sweeney max kepler
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#1 MikeBates

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Posted 09 March 2016 - 09:23 AM

It’s not likely to make a huge difference in the long run between whether the Twins win in 2016 or not, but the battle for the fourth and fifth outfield spots is shaping up to be interesting just a few games into spring training. With Byron Buxton the presumptive center fielder on Opening Day, Eddie Rosario in left and Miguel Sano in right, and the inevitable twelve-man pitching staff, Minnesota has room for one full- time outfielder and maybe a utility guy to come north.

Let’s handicap the field at this point, assuming that two guys out of this group make the club:Ryan Sweeney
Sweeney didn’t play in 2015, but is coming back as a 31-year-old. Once a top prospect in the White Sox organization (and considered one of the best BP hitters in baseball history), Sweeney never really clicked. Still, he brings a veteran presence (and we know how much the Twins value that), plays center field, and hits from the left side (to complement Buxton from the right). Through five games, he’s hit .333/.500/.400 in 16 plate appearances. Certainly, we shouldn’t take spring training performance at face value, but he’s also earning rave reviews according to Mike Berardino:



Chances he'll come north? 75%. Almost nothing would shock me less. Sweeney’s the kind of guy the Twins could fall in love with, and I think one of the next two guys will flop hard enough that the Twins will want to keep him around. Not that that’s a bad thing. I think Sweeney’s still got the potential to be a useful ballplayer.

Danny Santana
Santana has the most plate appearances on the Twins so far through six spring training games. And while he’s only hitting .111/.105/.278, it’s clear that the Twins are heavily invested in him winning the job. It looks like Santana might not be willing to cooperate, but they’ll give him every opportunity to fail. And I do mean every single one, as he’s out of options. Plus, as a switch hitter who can play shortstop (in theory), he has added value. If he keeps this slow start up, however, perhaps he’d be a guy you could slip through waivers.

Chances he'll come north? 60%. Far higher than his performance has earned.

Oswaldo Arcia
Left-handed, with incredible power, Arcia is a streaky hitter who runs unbelievably hot and cold. He would almost certainly be better served by a starting role, which would allow him to find his groove. Barring an injury, that’s not likely to happen. Arcia’s already made a bit of news by walking three times in one game over the weekend, something he’s done only once in the majors, and said afterwards that being more patient is a point of emphasis for him. We’ll see. Like Santana, he is out of options, and seems unlikely to slip through waivers. He’s been in the Twins’ doghouse for so long, however, that they may not care.

Chances he'll come north? 40%. His power is undeniable, but the defense has been awful (though he's made some impressive defensive plays so far, he can’t play center field, and is seen as a disappointment. My guess is that either Santana or Arcia will get put on waivers. Santana’s positional flexibility gives him the edge, and if Sweeney makes the club, he and Arcia are both left-handed.

Carlos Quentin
Kind of the right-handed version of Arcia, but Quentin also has that veteran label that the Twins have loved in the past. He didn’t play last year, but has nine years in the league hitting .252/.347/.484 (120 OPS+). He’s also like Coach from Cheers (I’m an old person), in that it’s virtually impossible not to hit him with a pitch and he is incredibly delicate, topping 100 games played just three times in his career. The reviews of his performance so far are a little mixed:



Quentin offers a little versatility in that he can also play first base, but God knows the Twins have enough guys who can do that right now, between Mauer, Park, Sano and Vargas.

Chances he'll come north? 12.5%. Something would have to happen to one of the other 1B/DH/corner OF guys for Quentin to make the team, especially as a right-handed bat. His other best hope is that the Twins decide to send Buxton to Rochester for a month.

Darin Mastroianni
If Santana and Arcia had options left, I’d bet the Twins would find some way to keep Mastroianni around. He’s able to play all three outfield spots and is an accomplished base stealer. He also had a previous go-around with the Twins that ended in injury woes. He’s not a good player, but fits fine as a below-average backup outfielder.
Chances he'll come north? 6.3%. Mastroianni is just behind too many people on the depth chart, and isn’t good enough to be more than an emergency option at this point.
Max Kepler
He’s a great young prospect who can handle center field for now, has tremendous plate discipline and good mid-range power to go with a strong hit tool. Kepler’s likely to be the best position prospect in the Twins’ minor league system at the start of the year. He’s had three singles in nine plate appearances so far.
Chances he'll come North? 6.3%. There’s simply no chance of Kepler making this team unless Buxton doesn’t or someone gets hurt. The Twins need him to play everyday, and keeping him in a reserve role will stall the development of one of their future linchpins.

Others
Joe Benson is a 28 year old who has hit .202/.288/.302 at Triple-A. He’ll be depth at Rochester.
No one short of Miguel Sano has Adam Brett Walker’s power, but his complete inability to control the strike zone means that he’ll spend almost all of 2016 in the minors. He’ll have to make incredible adjustments to find any success in the Majors.

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#2 USAFChief

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Posted 09 March 2016 - 09:34 AM

Arcia will make the team as the 4th OFer, Santana will make the team as a utility player.

 

Both are out of options.  

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#3 Mike Sixel

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Posted 09 March 2016 - 09:36 AM

I can't see Arcia anywhere but MN to start the year.

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It's been a fun year so far, GO Twins. 


#4 big dog

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Posted 09 March 2016 - 09:43 AM

I'm not sure what I think SHOULD happen, but I'm 100% convinced that Santana and Arcia WILL happen.  And right now I have no problem with that.

 

I do have a problem with all the at-bats Quentin is getting right now.  I don't see him as the answer to any problem we have.

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#5 mazeville

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Posted 09 March 2016 - 09:48 AM

Your Arcia percentage is WAY too low. I would, in fact, reverse Arcia and Sweeney. No, Arcia can't play center. But he is a big lefthanded bat off the bench. Letting him go would be really, really stupid.

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#6 tobi0040

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Posted 09 March 2016 - 09:55 AM

Between Rosario, Buxton, Santana, and Escobar on the roster, we have all the defensive flexibility that we need.The priority for the 4th OF should be a bat.Arcia makes a nice bench bat and can play against righties

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#7 zenser

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Posted 09 March 2016 - 09:59 AM

Arcia is going to get every chance to this spring.I would put his percentage at 90% to head north.The bigger question would be what are the percentage he will be on the team on June 1. 

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#8 Seth Stohs

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Posted 09 March 2016 - 10:07 AM

My opinion...

 

Danny Santana 99%

Oswaldo Arcia 99%

 

Others combine for like 2%

 

Santana theoretically can play 6 positions, including CF. There's value in that.

 

Arcia's power and youth is still valuable and the fact that Rosario can play CF too, he'll be around.

 

My caveat would be that the Twins could get an offer for one of them in the last week of spring training and take it. 

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#9 Seth Stohs

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Posted 09 March 2016 - 10:11 AM

 

 

I do have a problem with all the at-bats Quentin is getting right now.  I don't see him as the answer to any problem we have.

 

Doesn't bother me at all. He's a minor league signing on a guy that was really good for several years and since has been hurt. He took most of last year off, so if he's healthy, there is certainly a chance he can be OK. 

 

Throw him in AAA and see what happens. He can play the corner outfield positions and first base, DH and pinch hit... Not a bad depth guy. It's also very possible he's just going to take spring training to see where he's at. Likely has an opt-out, and may not be willing to go to AAA. IF that's the case, he could easily retire. Or, he could be a solid bench option.

 

I'd say the odds are very low that he makes the team. 

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#10 Han Joelo

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Posted 09 March 2016 - 10:38 AM

So are we talking five man bench?

 

Murphy, Nunez, Santana, Arcia, and ??  Why not Sweeney?


#11 TheLeviathan

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Posted 09 March 2016 - 10:40 AM

I think the only way Sweeney or Quentin makes it is in addition to Arcia and Santana.  And I just don't think we'll carry that thin of a pitching staff to start.

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#12 spycake

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Posted 09 March 2016 - 10:41 AM

Doesn't bother me at all. He's a minor league signing on a guy that was really good for several years and since has been hurt. He took most of last year off, so if he's healthy, there is certainly a chance he can be OK.

Throw him in AAA and see what happens. He can play the corner outfield positions and first base, DH and pinch hit... Not a bad depth guy. It's also very possible he's just going to take spring training to see where he's at. Likely has an opt-out, and may not be willing to go to AAA. IF that's the case, he could easily retire. Or, he could be a solid bench option.

I'd say the odds are very low that he makes the team.


If the odds are very low that he makes the team, isn't it a little pointless to invest a lot of spring training at bats in him?

#13 Vanimal46

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Posted 09 March 2016 - 10:42 AM

 

So are we talking five man bench?

 

Murphy, Nunez, Santana, Arcia, and ??  Why not Sweeney?

Who would you bump off the 40 man to add Sweeney?

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#14 birdwatcher

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Posted 09 March 2016 - 10:43 AM

Molitor is making the call, and I agree with most everyone else that Santana and Arcia are overwhelming favorites. Molitor seems to absolutely love what he sees from Danny Santana. His comments indicate his belief that Santana will ultimately be an asset in the batter's box as well as in the more obvious ways. 

 

And I agree that Molitor's criteria for his 5th OF ( I think Santana will get the call to fill in more often than Ozzie) will be a bench bat, someone they can rely on to take competent AB's when called upon. Given Arcia's history of taking some pretty stupid AB's, I think he needs to continue to show the kind of transformation we've seen so far. He has the edge, and of course being out of options is his trump card. Neither Santana or Arcia stand a snowball's chance of slipping through waivers in my view.

 

Molitor does not have a bias towards a "veteran presence", and frankly, I don't think this bias exists at all on the part of Ryan or anyone else still drawing a paycheck from the Twins. The bias is towards reliable, professional, consistent baseball, not tenure. Sweeney and Quentin are here in case Arcia reverts to his past knuckle-headed ways.

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#15 spycake

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Posted 09 March 2016 - 10:45 AM

So are we talking five man bench?

Murphy, Nunez, Santana, Arcia, and ?? Why not Sweeney?


No 5 man bench. That would mean only a 6 man bullpen, which is almost unheard of these days. Hence why most posters are predicting just two of the guys from this article make the team.
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#16 Seth Stohs

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Posted 09 March 2016 - 10:59 AM

 

If the odds are very low that he makes the team, isn't it a little pointless to invest a lot of spring training at bats in him?

 

There's the What If factor... What if he is finally healthy and returns to something closer to what he was. There is value in that. Nothing wrong with giving him an opportunity, especially early in camp when guys are typically only getting 2-3 at bats and you need bodies. 


#17 spycake

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Posted 09 March 2016 - 11:00 AM

Molitor does not have a bias towards a "veteran presence", and frankly, I don't think this bias exists at all on the part of Ryan or anyone else still drawing a paycheck from the Twins. The bias is towards reliable, professional, consistent baseball, not tenure. Sweeney and Quentin are here in case Arcia reverts to his past knuckle-headed ways.


I don't know about that. A good number of our past roster choices deemed "reliable, professional, consistent" players haven't lasted the season. It sure seems like TR and company perhaps overestimate veteran's abilities to be "reliable, professional, consistent" players at times.
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#18 Seth Stohs

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Posted 09 March 2016 - 11:01 AM

 

So are we talking five man bench?

 

Murphy, Nunez, Santana, Arcia, and ??  Why not Sweeney?

 

That would be crazy... I mean, the Twins have typically gone with 13 pitchers, so I'd be shocked if they started the season with just 11 pitchers.

 

I'll be surprised if it's not Murphy, Nunez, Santana and Arcia...

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#19 alarp33

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Posted 09 March 2016 - 11:01 AM

 

So are we talking five man bench?

 

Murphy, Nunez, Santana, Arcia, and ??  Why not Sweeney?

 

The Twins had a 3 man bench for a large portion of last year. Why would you think they would go to a 5 man this year?

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#20 spycake

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Posted 09 March 2016 - 11:02 AM

There's the What If factor... What if he is finally healthy and returns to something closer to what he was. There is value in that. Nothing wrong with giving him an opportunity, especially early in camp when guys are typically only getting 2-3 at bats and you need bodies.


Quentin can get that opportunity at AAA. He can't opt out until June 1st. I'm not sure what good there is in giving him priority in March.
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Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: oswaldo arcia, danny santana, carlos quentin, ryan sweeney, max kepler