Cody Pirkl Twins Daily Contributor Posted January 29 Share Posted January 29 Gilberto Celestino had a chance to cement himself as an MLB player in 2022 and couldn’t get the job done. After several outfield additions, it seems his future is unclear. Where does Celestino stand in the organization? Image courtesy of Jordan Johnson-USA TODAY Sports Through the end of May, Gilberto Celestino appeared to have turned a corner in 2022. The Twins backup center fielder was slashing .324/.398/.378, 50% above league average by wRC+.With little power to speak of, Celestino was a legitimate offensive contributor for a month or two. And then it all fell apart. From June 1 forward, Celestino slashed .211/.286/.278. The Twins clearly lost faith in him as they acquired Michael A. Taylor in a trade this last week, and he’s likely to fill the backup center field role. Celestino simply has too many questions left unanswered. Nothing demonstrates the Twins lack of trust in Celestino like them trading for a nearly identical player to fill the role he was in last season. Taylor is nearly a carbon copy in terms of raw skills. Both are elite defensive center fielders with little offensive value. It begs the question as to why the Twins traded for Taylor in the first place. There are two main considerations to take into account. First and foremost, the Twins likely have a lack of trust not only in Celestino’s performance, but in his ability to focus. Celestino regularly made awful decisions in the field and on the bases down the stretch in 2022, and in September it reached a breaking point. The offensive struggles were one thing, but it likely said a lot to the Twins brass that in a golden opportunity to prove himself with so many injuries, Celestino was losing focus in several aspects of the game that he had no reason not to be excelling at. It likely told the Twins that for 2023 on days when Byron Buxton is not in center field, Celestino was not a trustworthy replacement even to provide defensive value. A bigger reason for the Taylor trade is that Celestino may be the same zero offense, plus defense type player as Taylor now, but he doesn’t have to be forever. In 2021 Celestino was promoted straight from Double-A as a 22-year-old out of necessity. He was an average hitter there and didn’t have time to adjust before making a massive leap to the MLB. He predictably showed little offensive value, but went down to Triple-A to end the season and slashed a fantastic .290/.384/.443 in 49 games. It seems Celestino is headed back to Triple-A St. Paul to begin 2023, and he may spend significant time there. His unrefined plate approach became too obvious in 2022, and his plan of what to work on is pretty straightforward. He hit the ball to the opposite field more often than any other direction, and as the season went on, he was successfully challenged by pitches inside. He rarely made loud contact, as he appeared to just be trying to hang in there at the plate against MLB pitching. In Triple-A the Twins can work on him pulling the pitches he should be. Even developing some gap power would make him a much more serviceable fill-in. He has one minor league option remaining and won’t even be arbitration eligible until 2025, meaning the Twins have a solid timeline to develop Celestino just a bit more offensively. There is likely still a slight chance that the Twins could trade Celestino if a team calls them up and sees him as a legitimate piece in a trade for an impact player. The Twins would likely prefer however to turn the keys over to Celestino next season after Michael A Taylor departs in free agency. Even if Celestino doesn’t show the offensive upside he flashed in his brief AAA stint, he can play a valuable part in the Twins outfield mix the next few years. It’s obvious that Gilberto Celestino is the big loser in the Michael A Taylor trade, but the Twins have to ensure they don’t find themselves in the same spot as last year. Celestino was dealt a tough hand the day he was promoted directly from AA, and it likely set him back a bit. With Taylor, the Twins bought time for Celestino to develop into the player he’s capable of however, and now it’s up to him to make use of the development time he missed out on in AAA. View full article ashbury and wabene 2 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
Join the conversation
You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.