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Will the real SS please stand up?

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Like the pretenders and imitators of the real Slim Shady, the Twins appear to have a preposterous situation at the SS position throughout the organization. Here, I discuss the 15 top shortstops in the organization with regard to their current output and future potential. Initially, the term "shortstop" will designate those players in the organization with significant playing time at the position in 2012 (Eduardo Escobar's 10 games at the position is the low point in terms of playing time at SS).

The "big" 15 are: Jamey Carroll, Brian Dozier, Pedro Florimon, Eduardo Escobar, James Beresford, Estarlin De Los Santos, Daniel Santana, Levi Michael, Tyler Grimes, Stephen Wickens, Adam Bryant, Adam Pettersen, Niko Goodrum, Jorge Polanco, Aderlin Mejia.

These players have accumulated 650 games played at SS this season and 559 games at other positions (predominantly 2B, then 3B). So the "shortstops" here have actually played the position for 53.8% of the games. Included in this are the games played by De Los Santos (55) and Bryant (20), but those two players cannot be a part of the future for the Twins with Bryant's .580 OPS as a 23-year-old at Beloit, and De Los Santos' .552 OPS as a 25-year-old.

Removing those games makes it about 50/50 in terms of shortstop playing time vs. playing time at other positions. But this ratio could be offset by true shortstops coupled with true second basemen, etc., right? Not really, as Brian Dozier's 83 games and Tyler Grimes' 77 games are second and third respectively in games played at shortstop behind Danny Santana. But Santana isn't even a good fit at SS, but is much better at 2B. In all three cases, it would appear that the better fit is 2B instead of SS.

What on earth is going to happen at shortstop outside of adding free agents? The best cases may be Florimon and Beresford, but I have no high hopes for the offensive production in the future for those two players. Maybe that will not matter, as the Twins offense outside of SS may improve dramatically. Otherwise, it would appear that the Twins are going to be hoping for Niko Goodrum to stay at short and develop offensively.

There is a major failure by this organization at securing this position. They had a chance with the FA J.J. Hardy, but they sought help elsewhere (nowhere). I am comfortable with Florimon backed by Carroll for 2013, but the outlook is fairly bleak beyond this season. The hope (for the future) for 2013 is going to lie in James Beresford's offensive production, Danny Santana's ability to field the postion, and Niko Goodrum's progress at the position across the board.
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Comments

  1. NoCryingInBaseball's Avatar
    Whoa, I have been so focused on staring pitching, or the need of help with the starting rotation, that I haven’t considered the “hole” with the position players. The Twins have several position prospects that will either be starting in 2014 or 15. The outfield has Ben Revere, Aaron Hicks and Oswaldo Arcia, not to mention Byron Buxton will not be far behind and he seems to have a much higher upside. In the infield, with Eddie Rosario at 2nd, Miguel Sano at 3rd and Chris Parmelee at 1st, it looked like the infield was developing into a decent group…but then the reality post you gave us this morning.

    The starting rotation still stands out as the greatest need for the organization. Scott Diamond and Kyle Gibson might establish themselves as part of the Twins future team, but other minor leaguers (Liam Hendriks, Alex Wimmers, B.J. Hermsen and Hudson Boyd) can only be listed as questionable starting potential and the reason the organization needs more long-term answers for the rotation. Now I have to start worrying about a short-stop for the Twins to be a solid contending team in a couple years.
  2. beckmt's Avatar
    Need to see Santana in more of a hitters league. There is hope down there and maybe the need for a stopgap in the majors for the next two years. Focus on pitching.
  3. Rosterman's Avatar
    Benson and Kepler in the line-up somewhere. Levi Michael? The return of Trevor Plouffe?
  4. Shane Wahl's Avatar
    If only Max Kepler were a shortstop. Actually, the big hope down the line that far has got to be Niko Goodrum.

    In the immediate future, filling in the rest of the lineup with productive hitters is going to be needed. I would not have thought that James Beresford would be the starting shortstop for the Twins, even though I always liked him. But I would not be surprised if it happened in 2014.
  5. ScottyB's Avatar
    It's not like this is a new problem for the Twins. The Twins have NEVER been able to scout shortstops in their over 50 year history. They have had only 2, count 'em 2, shortstops who have started in multiple seasons that they have drafted - Danny Thompson and Pat Meares. Other than Zoilo Versalles (who was acquired before the draft existed), every other starter of consequence was received in a trade. Leo Cardenas from the Reds, Roy Smalley from the Rangers, Greg Gagne and Christian Guzman from the Yankees, Jason Bartlett from the Padres, Nick Punto from the Phillies, JJ Hardy from the Brewers. Other than those guys the Twins have always had garbage placeholders - guys like Sergio Ferrer, Jackie Hernandez, Luis Gomez, Juan Castro, and Brendon Harris. They have drafted shortstops who have succeeded at other positions (i.e. Chuck Knoblauch and Michael Cuddyer, possibly Trevor Plouffe). As it stands now, Brian Dozier ranks third in number of games on the Twins list of drafted players to have played SS. It's an embarrassing record.
    Updated 11-27-2012 at 10:19 AM by ScottyB
  6. old nurse's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by ScottyB
    It's not like this is a new problem for the Twins. The Twins have NEVER been able to scout shortstops in their over 50 year history. They have had only 2, count 'em 2, shortstops who have started in multiple seasons that they have drafted - Danny Thompson and Pat Meares. Other than Zoilo Versalles (who was acquired before the draft existed), every other starter of consequence was received in a trade. Leo Cardenas from the Reds, Roy Smalley from the Rangers, Greg Gagne and Christian Guzman from the Yankees, Jason Bartlett from the Padres, Nick Punto from the Phillies, JJ Hardy from the Brewers. Other than those guys the Twins have always had garbage placeholders - guys like Sergio Ferrer, Jackie Hernandez, Luis Gomez, Juan Castro, and Brendon Harris. They have drafted shortstops who have succeeded at other positions (i.e. Chuck Knoblauch and Michael Cuddyer, possibly Trevor Plouffe). As it stands now, Brian Dozier ranks third in number of games on the Twins list of drafted players to have played SS. It's an embarrassing record.
    The number of players the Twins picked up from other organizations were not scouted by the Twins when they traded for them? That they traded for someone else's minor leaguer is no sin. BTW I think Knoublauch had to play second because there was a better SS named Gagne ahead of him.
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