As we count down to opening day, we’ll be taking a look at each position for the Twins, the presumed starter, and the other options in the organization. Today we’ll be looking at right field.
The Presumed Starter: Max Kepler
The left-handed German earned a five year, $35 million contract extension this season, so the Twins clearly see him as the future of their outfield. Kepler is a capable center fielder, but with Byron Buxton occupying the middle of the outfield, becomes one of the better defensive right fielders in the game. Target Field’s tricky angles down the first-base side makes his plus defense a massive asset for the Twins. Kepler has been mashing baseballs this spring, to the tune of .310/.412/.586 with two doubles and two dongs, in only 34 plate appearances. ZiPS projects the young Twin to hit .246/.328/.442 this season, and stroke 20 long-balls. Meanwhile, just about every fantasy baseball prognostication service has him pegged as a breakout candidate this season.
The Bench Guys: Jake Cave or Michael Reed, Marwin Gonzalez
With Kepler firmly entrenched in right field, the real competition is for the fourth outfielder position. These profiles might sound a little similar for the next few days... because they are. Cave and Reed are very similar players, both being age-26, and capable of covering all three positions. Cave has a possible leg up based on his performance last season, but still has options, whereas Reed would face waivers if he doesn’t make the team. Matt will be taking a deeper dive into the battle between the two later today.
Marwin Gonzalez may see an occasional game in right field as well. Gonzalez projects to be the starting third baseman with Miguel Sano out for the first couple months of the season, but is the ultimate utility player. Gonzalez is an adequate option for the corner outfield, although he has primarily played left field. The Twins may consider shifting Eddie Rosario to right field occasionally this season, in order to keep Gonzalez in left. Similarly, you could see Ehire Adrianza or even Willians Astudillo make an appearance in the outfield, but right field romps for either will be few-and-far-between.
Next up... Centerfield
How do you feel about Right Field for the Twins?
This poll is closed
Great, Kepler is going to be a breakout player this season!
Kinda on the fence, Kepler needs to prove it
Kepler is gonna be a bust, and the Twins have a hole