With the trading away of Ben Revere, the Minnesota Twins have a giant hole in center field. That spot has been a strength for the Twins franchise, so some extra thought might go in to choosing who wins the spot. Of course, caliber of play in the spring will factor in on the choice. Other factors should go into the choice as well.
Darin Mastroianni had a strong showing in only 77 games last season. His big league experience gives him an edge over Aaron Hicks, who just completed his first year at Double-A in 2012. Hicks has all of the tools, but has yet to really put all five tools together. He does reportedly have good patience at the plate, which is rare for a young hitter.
Another option is Joe Benson. Benson hasn’t seen play for a while because of injuries, but is arriving at camp healthy this season ready to fight for a spot. He will have to fight hard to win the job from Mastroianni, however.
Mastroianni has just as much promise as the other two players, though possibly not as much raw power. What he does have that the Twins desperately need is spark and speed.
He is one of those players that just makes you pump your fist when you see him lay out to catch a blooping liner. That kind of jump start will be a big deal for the Twins in 2013, as it would for any club. The biggest factor is his speed. Mastroianni was tied for thirteenth in the American League for most steals in 2012, with roughly half the games played of the others on the list. His speed and spark combo, along with dynamite defense, should give him the job.
Aaron Hicks needs a year at Triple-A to work on a few things. He’ll probably be ready to join Mastroianni in the outfield next year but this year, the job should go to Mastroianni, hands down.