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Minnesota’s depth in center field was tested this week after Rob Refsnyder plowed into the wall in Baltimore. With Byron Buxton still on the IL, let’s examine the organization’s depth in center field.

The Call-Up: Gilberto Celestino (AAA)

Celestino, the team's top center field prospect, has spent nearly all of 2021 at Double-A, but he was recently promoted to St. Paul. He never made it into a game with the Saints as he was needed at the big-league level. Entering the season, Celestino had only played 11 games above the Low-A level and three of those contests were back when he was in the Houston organization. In his last full season (2019), he hit .277/.349/.410 (.759) with 41 extra-base hits in 125 games. So far this season, his .725 OPS is 20 points lower than his career mark, but every at-bat has come against older pitching. He’s inclusion on the 40-man roster made him the easiest call-up choice as the team dealt without a true center fielder at the big-league level. 

Triple-A Journeyman: Keon Broxton (AAA)

When Buxton was injured, some fans were clamoring for Keon Broxton to be called up. He played on three different teams back in 2019 and combined for a .517 OPS. Some of the positivity surrounding Broxton was based on his performance this spring with the Twins. He played in 22 spring games and hit .286/.394/.464 with three extra-base hits. Unfortunately, his time at Triple-A has been unmemorable so far in 2021. Through his first 20 games, Broxton is hitting .159/.224/.203 (.427), which is the second lowest OPS among qualified players in the Triple-A East. Also, he’s not on the 40-man roster and he hasn’t exactly played himself into a role with the big-league club.

Other Options: Jimmy Kerrigan (AAA), Aaron Whitefield (AA)

Another option at Triple-A is Jimmy Kerrigan who has played all three outfield positions this season. In 19 Triple-A games, he has hit .217/.304/.400 (.704), which is a higher OBP than his career average. He spent four seasons at the collegiate level before the Twins signed him back in 2017. Through most of his professional career, he has been older than the average age of the competition. At Triple-A this year, he is 27-years old and still looking for a big-league opportunity.  

Aaron Whitefield is another intriguing name because he got a brief cup of coffee with the Twins last season. He appeared in three games and only registered one plate appearance. He was removed from the team’s 40-man roster, but he passed through waivers and stayed in the organization. So far in 2021, he has played the entire year at Double-A and he is batting .310/.367/.460 (.827) with seven extra-base hits in 23 games. His current OPS is 177 points higher than his career mark in the minors.

Which centerfielder gets the most playing time for the rest of the season? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

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Celestino may surprise some with his defensive prowess in CF, but his bat is going to be pretty raw. I'm not expecting much from him at the plate.

Kerrigan is a name to watch, he has some serious pop in his bat, and he's quite fast. Not sure if he's a good fielder, but he could be a bench option in the future.

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Spycake says Celestino is in Baltimore. Looks like we will know more about our CF depth starting tonight. I am looking forward to seeing him. Refsnyder has been at least as good as Cave so we might have found something. Hope we don't see Garlick in CF again. Where is Byron ever? Agree on Lewis as future CF star.

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1 hour ago, Mike Sixel said:

This year:

Buxton then Celestino for most games

Next year:

Celestino then Royce Lewis for most games

After that....Royce Lewis

Are you predicting Buxton gets traded or are you assuming he is on the IL most of next year.  Regardless, I am with you on Lewis At whatever position he is best suited to contribute. I was really hoping we would get a look at Lewis this year in a big league uniform.  All of these injuries really suck!

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5 minutes ago, Major League Ready said:

Are you predicting Buxton gets traded or are you assuming he is on the IL most of next year.  Regardless, I am with you on Lewis At whatever position he is best suited to contribute. I was really hoping we would get a look at Lewis this year in a big league uniform.  All of these injuries really suck!

Traded. Though after I posted that, I began to have doubts..... I'd trade for a shortstop, and move Lewis to center. But I don't know they trade Berrios and Buxton both....

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I still think Buxton is back and gets plenty of CF time, but Celestino will get a good look now that he's up. I doubt we see Broxton, Whitehead, or even Kerrigan. Frankly, I think there's more likelihood of seeing Nick Gordon in CF than any of these guys who are not on the 40-man right now.

Celestino can defend out there and do it well; the question is whether his bat can stand up to quality pitching or if he's just an auto-out who can defend right now. But I feel good about his future.

I still think the Twins stick with Buxton, but Celestino will definitely be a serious contender for the OF next season as his defense plays off the bench even if his bat doesn't develop as fast as we'd hope. Not seeing Royce Lewis get converted to OF yet, especially not coming off a significant injury. Seems foolish to ask someone to learn another position while trying to comeback from injury and not playing in real competition in 2 years.

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51 minutes ago, jmlease1 said:

I still think Buxton is back and gets plenty of CF time, but Celestino will get a good look now that he's up. I doubt we see Broxton, Whitehead, or even Kerrigan. Frankly, I think there's more likelihood of seeing Nick Gordon in CF than any of these guys who are not on the 40-man right now.

Celestino can defend out there and do it well; the question is whether his bat can stand up to quality pitching or if he's just an auto-out who can defend right now. But I feel good about his future.

I still think the Twins stick with Buxton, but Celestino will definitely be a serious contender for the OF next season as his defense plays off the bench even if his bat doesn't develop as fast as we'd hope. Not seeing Royce Lewis get converted to OF yet, especially not coming off a significant injury. Seems foolish to ask someone to learn another position while trying to comeback from injury and not playing in real competition in 2 years.

I agree they will go with Celestino if needed.  He is on the 40 man, is solid defensively and while the bat will likely be a liability at least he is someone they can move up and down as needed.  He can play in AAA as well as AA the competition isn't all that much different.  Getting some MLB at bats isn't going to hurt him either and he can't be much worse than most of the rest of the team. Broxton is just so bad at the plate it seems like it would be better to give those at bats to Celestino. He honestly can't do worse than what Broxton is doing right now at AAA.

They will need to be careful with who they put on the 40 man unless they are willing to lose them because they have a lot of rule V pitchers coming up as well as Miranda and possibly Palacios if he continues to hit.  Maybe they don't care if they lose Kerigan or Broxton hard to say but I don't see one of the other options having much of a chance unless of coarse they think Buxton is coming back even later than expected or not at all this year.  That might change the decision making.  Still I think Celestino is next in line.  His bat was starting to warm up so maybe they feel he is ready for another shot.

 

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No offense to Celestino, who I have high hopes for and should have a floor as a 4th OF, but how crazy is this season when we're on our 5th CF the 2nd of June?

I'd rather let Celestino play great defense and get his feet wet rather than bring up Broxton and have to create yet another 40 man spot. And let's not forget Broxton slid a lot in ST and hasn't done anything at St Paul this season so far. 

Really hoping Whitefield continues to play well and gets to spend the 2nd half of the year at St Paul. He's not just a good story, the guy has real skills and is a quality athlete. But we all knew he was going to take a while to tap in to that ability. 

Run with Celestino for now.

Not going to lie, I really like the idea of Gordon getting some side work in CF and maybe trying it when he gets back to AAA. He's still young, fast an athletic. He adds his lost weight back on, hopefully adds a few more pounds of muscle...and there's room to easily add 10-12lbs of such...his arm may improve at SS a bit. You MIGHT yet end up with a useful utility player that MAY be able to play a little CF here and there. Absolutely worth a shot, just not at the ML level in games at this point.

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Just wanted to address the Lewis idea.

I have little doubt he could be a quality CF with his talent and his look-see at the position during his AFL stint. And versatility is a great thing! But while he may still be a little raw at SS, he has the range, arm, and body control to be a solid/good SS.  You don't give up on such a talented kid at at SS at this point.

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1 hour ago, DocBauer said:

Just wanted to address the Lewis idea.

I have little doubt he could be a quality CF with his talent and his look-see at the position during his AFL stint. And versatility is a great thing! But while he may still be a little raw at SS, he has the range, arm, and body control to be a solid/good SS.  You don't give up on such a talented kid at at SS at this point.

He could be up next year as a CF. Almost no chance as a SS. But I guess we can wait two more years to see him. 

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9 hours ago, Mike Sixel said:

He could be up next year as a CF. Almost no chance as a SS. But I guess we can wait two more years to see him. 

Lewis is still a couple years away from having his bat translate to the major leagues(if ever.)  Calling him up to "try him" in centerfield is not an option.

 

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Celestino deserves a shot. If the Twins can afford to have an automatic out in the lineup like Sano, then anyone and everyone out there also deserves a chance to play regardless of their bat..

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"Minnesota’s depth in center field was tested this week after Rob Refsnyder plowed into the wall in Baltimore."

I have to take issue with the opening context. Their depth in CF was tested before Refsnyder.

None of his other major league teams had ever put RobRef out there. He had 13 games of AAA experience in CF before joining the Twins organization.  If he has a concussion, it's a really sad outcome to his being willing to gamely go along with a reckless contingency plan by the FO.  The video of him playing that flyball looks exactly like someone underprepared for the role. Not his fault.

As for the thrust of the article, there is not much to say. Injury (Buxton, Cave, Kepler), unreadiness (Celestino, Whitefield), and basic lack of demonstrated hitting ability (Broxton, Kerrigan) have successively removed all the reasonable options to play CF.

The team's up the creek.

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Celestino seemed to have a knack for reading hits in CF, plus the speed to go get them. His bat looked promising, too. I have no problem letting him fill in for Buxton. I seem to recall Celestino also had good base stealing skills. Worth watching!

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Celestino had a PA taken away by a stupid umpire, had a nice line drive snared on a good play by the O's 2B-man and had another PA stolen by his manager who needed a pinch-strikeout as part of his spreadsheet driven game-plan.  If anyone ever deserved a mulligan ....

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I hate to break it to everyone, but Lewis has a looooooong way to go before proving he is a MLB type batter.

Please refresh your memory with his A+ K/BB ratio.

AFL SSS does not erase this season long disaster.

He has MUCH more left to prove (even before coming back from a season long injury!). I don't like it, but it's true.

Penciling him into the Twins future is hopeful at this point.... at best

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