Well, in my eyes, there are four guys that already have a Twins uniform that could start in center field for the team this year. A combination of Lew Ford and Jason Tyner would be the most likely scenario, but neither player was kept around. And the nominees are:

 

Jason Pridie

Probably the best choice right now. After having a terrible 2005 season, and hitting just .230 in 460 at-bats in 2006, Pridie really turned it on last season, playing 71 games for AA Montgomery and AAA Durham. In total he had 14 HR, 66 RBI, 89 runs scored, 26 stolen bases and 10 caught stealing in a combined 134 games. In his first action at AAA, as a 23-year old, he hit .318 with a .375 OBP and .539 slugging percentage, giving him an OPS (on-base plus slugging) of .914.

 

Denard Span

He simply has not met expectations thus far. A 1st-round pick in 2002, Span has struggled at nearly every level he’s played at. His best season came in 2005, when in 49 games he hit .339 and had an OPS of .813; the only time he’s had an OPS above .700 in his minor league career. Denard won’t hit for power, with just 7 homers in 1,939 career at-bats, and he’s got just 56 doubles in that same time frame. He’s capable of stealing 20 bases but will also get caught at least half that many. Basically his numbers have shown he was not worthy of being picked in the first round, and he didn’t prove worthy last year at AAA, so my opinion is to keep him there for this year.

 

Brandon Roberts

Definitely the least-talked about option, Roberts is just 22 years old and hasn’t played an inning at AAA. But he had a respectable .355 OBP last year in 369 at-bats at AA New Britain. Unless he has a Spring Training that blows everyone away, chances are Roberts will see maybe 5-10 games at AA and then could possibly be bumped up to AAA and play a corner outfield spot.

 

Craig Monroe

Currently penciled in as the Opening Day starter, Monroe put up good power numbers in his four full years with Detroit, but 2007 saw him split time between the Tigers and the Cubs. He had limited at-bats with Chicago, tallying just 49 in a total of 23 games. His offensive numbers for 2007 are definitely ones he’d like to forget, but I think the Twins front office feels more comfortable with Craig as a LF/DH type. He played CF just last year, going 38 innings without making an error. In fact, he’s started 65 games out there (played in a total of 77) totaling 520 innings; he’s committed just 2 errors.

Advertisements