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FORT MYERS, Fla. — It’s hard to believe that the Twins are nearing the halfway point of camp, with the big questions in the outfield competition yet to be answered — and, in ways more interesting, considering the early success of Kyle Garlick and Keon Broxton. The new-look infield is also only now getting the chance to Minnesota Twins Jerseys China become whole with the late addition of Andrelton Simmons.
That leaves plenty up in the air down the stretch of the Grapefruit League schedule — so let’s dive right into your questions.
BENCH QUESTION! Assuming Alex Kirilloff is the Opening Day LF, is Jake Cave the fourth outfielder? If so, any chance the Twins can stash Broxton in St. Paul as Buxton insurance?
How long does Keon Broxton need to continue keeping this up until his chances of making the team are taken seriously?
Assuming health, I find it very tough to imagine any version of this Opening Day roster that doesn’t have Cave on it. It’s obviously a nice sign for the Twins’ depth that Broxton is having such a productive spring, but let’s also keep in mind that the sample size there is a handful of Spring Training games, and that Broxton didn’t see any real game action last season.
Cave has been solid against right-handed pitching throughout his Twins career, can play center field and has been a go-to option for this coaching staff. Regardless of whether it’s Kirilloff, Brent Rooker or even Garlick that rounds out the outfield, I think there’s a place for Cave and his beard on the 26-man.
As to the second part of your question: There’s actually a good chance of the Twins being able to hold on to Broxton without breaking camp with him because he doesn’t have an opt-out at the end of Spring Training. That feels to me like it would a safe bet for depth considering prospects would likely benefit from seeing more live game action in Minor League Spring Training.
Does Jorge Polanco need to step up his game defensively in Spring Training to guarantee he starts at 2B and take time/at-bats away from Luis Arraez?
No. Barring injury, Polanco is this team’s starting second baseman.
There’s very little — whether on offense or on defense — that can happen in Spring Training that will do much to change the club’s evaluation of a longtime contributor like Polanco. He’s been in the organization since he was 16 years old. They know who he is as a defender by now — certainly not a superb defender at shortstop, but a solid second baseman, at minimum.
Arraez will consistently find his way onto the field. You don’t need to worry about that — and a slightly lessened workload won’t necessarily be the worst thing, considering his history of knee issues.
Rooker, Kirilloff, Trevor Larnach. How do they rank today vs. the Opening Day roster?
I’m not 100% sure what you’re asking here, but if you’re asking where they rank in terms of their likelihood of making the Opening Day roster, I’d put Kirilloff with a slight edge over Rooker, with a larger gap between those two and Larnach.
Rooker and Kirilloff already have big league experience (though it’s only one game in Kirilloff’s case) and both are on the 40-man roster, whereas Larnach is not. Larnach is also a slight step behind both of the others in his development timeline.
Twins on Alex Kirilloff’s talent
Feb 26, 2021 · 1:15
Twins on Alex Kirilloff’s talent
With Arraez only playing the infield in Spring Training games thus far, is he no longer a legitimate left-field option?
I’d say he’s still an option there to the extent he was before. It’s clearly not the team’s preference, and it doesn’t seem like he was ever going to be a regular in a left-field rotation or anything like that. They played him out there in 2019 hoping that he’d pick it up on the fly, and he did that acceptably. He’ll remain a candidate to play there in a pinch if the club needs him.
Still, his focus will remain on the infield. I’d expect most of his time this season to come at second base and third base, and his usage this spring reflects that.