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Chart: Twins center field candidates

  • February 16, 2013 - 10:05 PM

TWINS' CENTER FIELD CANDIDATES

JOE BENSON

Age: 25 (born March 5, 1988)

Bats, throws: right, right

Drafted: Twins, second round, 2006

2012 season: A disaster; wrist and knee surgery made it a significant step backward. Batted .179 at Class AAA and .184 at Class AA.

Case for: Hit 27 homers in 2010, possesses a strong arm and is a good base stealer. Walks a lot, too.

Case against: Has had several seasons spoiled by injury (just 646 games in seven years), is a 100-strikeout guy, has somewhat less range than the others.

AARON HICKS

Age: 23 (born Oct. 2, 1989)

Bats, throws: switch, right

Drafted: Twins, first round, 2008

2012 season: Breakout season at Class AA New Britain with 13 homers, 45 extra-base hits, 79 walks, .384 on-base percentage.

Case for: Has been projected as future star since he was drafted and is getting more dangerous at the plate as he grows. Great athlete, big arm.

Case against: More than 100 strikeouts for three straight years, is thrown out stealing too much, and he hasn't spent a day at Class AAA.

DARIN MASTROIANNI

Age: 27 (born Aug. 26, 1985)

Bats, throws: right, right

Drafted: Toronto, 16th round, 2007

2012: After a week in Class AA and a month in Class AAA, he played 77 games as the Twins' fourth outfielder. Stole 21 bases, hit three homers.

Case for: Has real big-league experience, was sure-handed in the outfield, and as Twins' top base-stealer, occasionally ignited the offense.

Case against: His .324 on-base percentage is low for a leadoff hitter, and he had only eight extra-base hits in 163 at-bats.

Dark horses: Brandon Boggs, Clete Thomas and Wilkin Ramirez

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