Shortstop Pecking Order
by, 05-17-2014 at 11:57 AM (514 Views)
Right now, the Twins have a wealth of shortstop candidates. Conventional wisdom is that shortstops aren't platooned because working with the keystone partner is so important. Here is my view on the shortstops and my best guess to what will happen. I invite anyone else to comment and offer their opinion.
1) Eduardo Escobar. Escobar is starting most games right now and why not? He's hitting over .340 and he's pretty good in the field. News flash. Eduardo Escobar won't hit .340 and he's not going to get 50 doubles. When his bat cools, we'll see how Gardy feels about playing Escobar every day. For whatever reason, Escobar has been tabbed as a utility guy and he is a versatile player. Defensively, he is a solid shortstop with good hands and a strong arm. He doesn't have great range. I think Escobar has earned this shot and I think there's a chance that he may succeed. Regardless, he has proven he is a capable utility player.
2) Danny Santana. He has the range that Escobar lacks. Routine plays are a challenge. Since his promotion, Santana has played short and center field and demonstrated his blazing speed and strong arm. So far, he has also hit the ball great. Santana isn't going to hit .400 any more than Escobar will hit .340. In fact, if he gets a couple hundred plate appearances, it is really doubtful he be above average as a hitter. In his very short trial with the Twins, he hasn't shown he's ready to be a regular major leaguer, but he also has shown he has major league tools. A trip back to Rochester is nearly certain. Maybe he can develop into a big league regular with quite a bit more sizzle than Escobar offers.
3) Eduardo Nuñez. He is the most established hitter of the group, but that isn't saying much. He currently has taken on the utility role that Escobar vacated. If EE slumps, I wouldn't be surprised if Nuñez gets a shot to prove that his bad defensive rep is an overstatement or not. I can't see Gardy going with one of the worst defensive shortstops for long, but then again we saw Plouffe and Nishi playing the position.
4) Pedro Florimon. The manager is reportedly already missing his magic glove, but Florimon just didn't hit in about 70 plate appearances with the Twins, and hasn't hit at all in AAA either (and has already committed 5 errors--those minor league fields must be rough!). I think Florimon's peak as a hitter was what he produced the first half of last year and that is barely passable. He needs to put up some kind of offense to justify his recall.
Down the road, there are others, but they are years away. I hope someone separates himself. Some are predicting that the Twins will draft a shortstop with their high first round pick, maybe that will the solution to the shortstop problem.