Cheap Speed: Darin Mastroianni

Posted: February 21, 2013 in Player Profile

By David Kerr

Now that the log jam in the Minnesota outfield has presumably loosened up, Darin Mastrioianni will be given the chance to play everyday. That could pay strong dividends to Fantasy Owners looking for speed late in their drafts. Mastroianni is similar to Ben Revere, who the Twins traded over the off season to Philadelphia. He has minuscule power, but is valuable because of his decent on-base skills and above-average speed. Over six Minor League seasons, Mastroianni only managed 14 total home runs. His stolen base total in those six seasons though was 230!

In 2012, Mastroianni went to the plate for Minnesota just 186 times. In his limited number of at-bats, he succeeded in swiping 21 bases. He was only caught three times. If you triple his plate appearances from 2012 and triple his steals, you’d come up with 558 and 63. If Mastroianni pulled that off, he’d be the stolen bases leader in 2013. Let me assure you, that is highly unlikely. The point though, is that Mastroianni has real speed and real value. He’s going to go undrafted in most 12-team leagues and shallower. I would absolutely use my last round pick in mostly every draft and snag a guy that could steal 40 plus bases if he plays everyday.

I am confident that Darin Mastroianni will be starting in center field and batting leadoff for the Twins on April 1. Because Revere and Denard Span are both with new teams, his only competition is Joe Benson and Aaron Hicks. Benson has had a small cup of coffee in the Majors, but it is likely he’ll start the season in Rochester with Minnesota’s Triple A affiliate. Hicks has never played above Double A, so he’ll begin his season with the New Britain Rock Cats or in Rochester with Benson. Hicks is the center fielder of the future for the Twins, so they will probably be inclined to keep him in the Minors to be sure that he is ready.

If Mastroianni does in fact start and bat leadoff for the Twins, this is my projected line: .265-75-4-30-45. For Mastroianni to reach those type of numbers, it will be imperative for him cut down on his strikeouts. In less than 200 plate appearances for Minnesota last season, he struck out 24.2% of the time. He needs to cut that number down or he could see prolonged slumps. I don’t think it is any secret that he’ll be keeping the proverbial seat warm for Aaron Hicks, but if he impresses in 2013, he could be trade bait or even shift over to right field if the Twins see fit. He’s already 27 years old, so this may be his only real shot. You can’t expect too much, but at the same time it’s hard to pluck a guy with 40 stolen base potential off of the waiver wire. I’m buying this year and so should you.

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