Rebuilding the Twins: Left Field
In the latest installment of Rebuilding the Twins, we take a look at left field.
The Twins are facing a lot of questions and uncertainty in the outfield as they look towards next season. Lineup regulars Michael Cuddyer and Jason Kubel are both free agents, and there is no guarantee the Twins are going to be able to retain both of them for the price they will demand on the market.
Delmon Young was also traded late in the year when the team fell out of contention for a playoff spot.
Due to the numerous injuries the club has had this year, we got to see a look to the future with many minor league prospects receiving playing time late in the year such as Ben Revere and Joe Benson.
Let’s look at the candidates:
Denard Span: Span had a down year this past season, missing a massive chunk of games with concussion symptoms, which opened the door for Ben Revere to get regular playing time. Conventional wisdom suggests that if Revere is going to make the team next season that he would play center field and Span would slide over to Left field. This would give the Twins a very good defensive outfield and speed at the top of the lineup.
Joe Benson: Benson was another prospect that received more playing time at the end of the season. Benson showed flashes of what has made the Twins believe he will be a regular player, but his overall average during his call up was low, suggesting he may need more time to mature as a ballplayer. My guess is that Benson acts as a 4th outfielder next season, depending on what happens with Cuddyer and Kubel.
Free Agents: The Twins face major decisions with two of their regular players in Cuddyer and Kubel, and while neither one plays left field (Kubel is mostly a DH but plays the outfield occasionally) they will both have an impact on who starts next season in left field. My opinion is that Cuddyer will be retained, which would mean that he will take his usual spot in right field.
Gut Feeling: Regardless of what happens to Cuddyer and Kubel, my guess is that Denard Span will be the Twins starting left fielder next season. This will ensure that Revere and Span will both get regular playing time and anchor what will hopefully be an improved lineup and defense.