The average MLB fan may have no idea who Darin Mastroianni is, but the Minnesota Twins will need big-time production from him if they have any hopes in 2013. Denard Span was the Twins table-setter for the last five season so the transition may be a little difficult. Mastroianni is slated to play center on opening day, and will his cuts from the leadoff spot.
Mastroianni was an absolute menace on the basepaths while in the minor leagues as he stole 70 bases while at AA and A+ in 2009. Since then he has stolen his fair share of bases with seasons of 46 and 34 in the minor leagues, not to mention the 21 he nabbed in just half a season with the Twins in 2012.
He will have Jamey Carroll and Joe Mauer batting behind him. As they’re both professional hitters who will naturally make Mastroianni a better hitter, if he can get on base more often, look for him to score upwards of 100 runs in 2013. Justin Morneau is healthy for the first time in quite a while and may be getting back to the ruthless numbers he was putting up prior to his concussion in 2010.
Mastroianni spent 34 of his 77 games at right field, and he also saw time at center field, DH, left field and second base, which shows just how versatile he can be at the major league level. At age-27, he must be able to settle in somewhere if he hopes to be a mainstay in Minnesota–opportunity is calling and it’s Mastroianni’s job to answer the call.
I could see 2013 going either way for the center fielder, but I have a feeling he will fill Span’s shoes nicely and finish 2013 as a bright spot for a Twins team that is still rebuilding.