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.