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Monday, August 6, 2012

The Twins' 2014 Outfield

Oswaldo Arcia: Twins' right fielder as early as 2014??
For regular readers -- especially those that read for the Rock Cats content -- I should apologize. It's been a busy month of the real job, so I've had a tough time updating the blog. With that said, let's talk about the #futuretwins for a little while.

I've had the good fortune of watching a pretty exciting outfield lately in New Britain, consisting mainly of Aaron Hicks in center field and Oswaldo Arcia in right. Joe Benson has also played some left field -- though we know he's a center fielder, and even Chris Herrmann has done pretty well in left field. But today I want to focus on Arcia and Hicks, and their role in the future of this franchise. I'm certainly not ready to cast Benson off as washed up, but unquestionably, this is more or less a lost season for him in terms of development.

I'm here to tell you that, after watching Hicks progress this season, and after watching Arcia exceed expectations over the past couple months, I firmly believe that both have a legitimate chance to be starting for the Twins in 2014. I fully expect that the Twins will trade Josh Willingham, perhaps this off-season, or during the 2013 season, assuming his trade value is still very high then. I also expect that, one of these months, a team is going to overwhelm Terry Ryan with an offer for Denard Span. Denard is one of my favorite Twins, and Willingham certainly has been a fantastic signing, and by all accounts is a great guy.

That being said, it is -- or will be in the near future -- time for changes: my dream outfield for 2014 is Ben Revere in center field; Hicks in left field; and Arcia in right. We're talking about a lot of speed, and good arm strength in the corner positions. We're also talking about a right fielder that should have 25 HR power, a left fielder with explosive speed and good on-base skills, and a center fielder with phenomenal speed and the ability to reach base at a high rate. We're also talking about a very, very inexpensive outfield -- like under $3 million, total.

Yes, Hicks and Arcia have work to do. I'd still like to see Hicks hit the ball with more authority from the left side of the plate (although it's very, very encouraging that his splits have more or less evened out, at least with respect to batting average). And Arcia needs to strike out less and walk more, but he's only 21 years and 2 months old! What I'm suggesting is that, in just 2 years, we could have a young, and very exciting outfield. Revere has met my expectations -- and then some -- this season. Sure, he certainly can improve, and hopefully will. But if there's one are Twins fans should be excited about, it's the fact that the team could have an extremely talented outfield as early as September of 2013, that is well equipped to compete at the major league level. When we talking about signing expensive free agent pitchers that cost $15-$20 million per season, how great is it to think that our outfield, at least for a couple seasons, could be little more than 10 percent of Joe Mauer's annual contact?

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