06-07-2014, 10:48 AM #1
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I know there is a thread about Drew vs. Nick Burdi, but we now are presented with a choice at shortstop. Pedro Florimon is gone, banished to Rochester and Eduardo Escobar has been the Twins regular shortstop. All he has done is be capable in the field while continuing to sting the ball from both sides of the plate. Eduardo is hitting .315 with an OPS of .806, which would put him third offensively at his position, if he had enough plate appearances.
Meanwhile, Danny Santana is making a case to stay in the major leagues. He hammered his first homer last night and now has an .830 OPS in 67 plate appearances. Sanatna has always been thought to be a shortstop, but has logged most of his time for the Twins in center field.
Escobar has shown he is a decent defensive shortstop. His range doesn't astound anyone, but he has good hands and a strong arm. He seems to be fundamentally sound. I have to remind myself that he is still young--25--despite having logged almost two full seasons as a bench and utility player in the majors. I had always pegged Esco as a utility player, with his ability to play all over the infield, but he has definitely earned a shot to show he is an everyday player.
Santana has undeniable tools. He's probably the fastest player on the team and he has a strong arm, although I'm not convinced about it's accuracy. He has, so far, looked like he belongs as a hitter. After watching him in spring training, I thought he had a long way to go to be a competent defender at short. I still believe that to be true, although he's only played 50-some innings there for the Twins.
For the rest of the season, I think Escobar should have the job until he shows he can't sustain his above-average hitting. What about Santana? As long as he hits, he should not be sent down. Gardy needs to get him at-bats somehow. I wonder if he could become a real 10th regular--playing several positions and perhaps batting on the top of the order. Reusse likened Santana to Cesar Tovar and I also hearken back to Tony Phillips, who played many years without really having a position to call his own.
The irony here is that the more versatile player is Escobar, but he is also IMHO the guy who deserves regular play at shortstop.
06-07-2014, 10:54 AM #2
–Aaron Hicks could start taking more fly balls in right field in order to get him and rookie center fielder Danny Santana in the lineup at the same time, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. With Oswaldo Arcia ailing (sprained right ankle), Jason Kubel got the start in right over Chris Parmelee. It was just the second start in right for Kubel since the season’s first week.
06-07-2014, 12:18 PM #3
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This is a tough question, and neither of these guys come without their flaws. Escobar hitting well has been awesome to watch this year, but he still has a high .393 BABIP so hitting at this clip just seems unsustainable. The issue if his bat cools of is that he has never had a great walk rate, so if his average falls to .280 or lower his OBP probably won't be above .300.
Santana definitely needs to play everyday, but this guy is OPSing .830 after never OPSing higher than .740 during full-season ball in the minors. The homer last night and other flashes of gap-power is definitely encouraging, but unless he figured something out when he got promoted he will likely regress. There are signs that pitchers are starting to throw him more breaking stuff, the likes of which he probably hasn't seen before and that will probably continue as will his struggles against it. They say speed is slump-proof though, so hopefully he can make contact and good things will happen if he consistently is able to.
Defensively Escobar is definitely good enough to comfortably throw out there every day, while Santana has a rocket arm as you mentioned, but probably lacks the accuracy and range to be an asset there.
Escobar should be the starter. He's earned it. When Fuld gets back Hicks should probably be sent down to refine his swing against rightys. Otherwise you probably only feel comfortable playing him against leftys, who to his credit he's done fairly well against. When that happens Santana should see time in center and SS when Escobar is spelling someone else in the IF or taking a day of. Not an easy answer here, but one of these guys has to be the solution for a few years because there really isn't an answer in the minors right now (I don't think Polanco can stick at SS). If/ when Santana regresses he'll probably see more time in AAA.
06-07-2014, 06:05 PM #4
I really hope that the Twins find an answer in CF that isn't named Danny Santana. His speed is the only thing that allows him to not be worthless out there. He looks like a guy who has played about 50 innings of CF, that is to say, terrible. I don't know why Gardy wants Hicks to play a corner spot instead of Santana. That doesn't make sense to me. Maybe Danny doesn't profile well as a corner OFer, but that's because he's a SS!