I need to pay more attention to spring training.
Ryan LaMarre will make the roster. Zack Granite optioned— Rhett Bollinger (@RhettBollinger) March 27, 2018
At the beginning of camp, the Twins had these two along with Nick Buss and Chris Heisey as backup outfielder candidates. Ultimately, LaMarre and Zack Granite put some distance between them and the rest of the pack, and it turns out that Kennys Vargas’ vacated 40-man roster spot will go to LaMarre.
A 29-year old, LaMarre made his major league debut with the Cincinnati Reds back in 2015, accumulating 26 plate appearances despite appearing in 21 games. He also had cups of coffee with Boston and Oakland over the past two seasons, so this likely signals his first significant major league action in his career.
LaMarre put up a 135 wRC+ for Triple-A Pawtucket in 2016, but he hasn’t consistently excelled in the upper levels of the minor leagues. However, he hit .475/.500/.775 over 40 spring training at-bats, and it appears that the Twins preferred to take advantage of Granite’s options instead of losing LaMarre. It should also be noted that Granite hit just .122/.217/.147 himself this spring, thus it’s not difficult to argue that LaMarre earned it over Granite.
Regardless, I think the Twins just wanted someone that was more capable of playing the outfield than Robbie Grossman, plus LaMarre’s batting handedness makes him a better fit as a sub for lefties Eddie Rosario and Max Kepler. He might draw some starts against tough lefthanded pitchers, but otherwise I don’t anticipate him making much of a impact on the roster.