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  • Escobar Impressing at SS

    From the beginning, there was never really any doubt that Eduardo Escobar was going to make the 25-man roster out of spring training. The intriguing young infield talent is out of options and the Twins, short on infield help, were not going to let him slip away.

    That hasn't stopped the 25-year-old from going out and playing like he's trying to win a job. And that he might.

    After delivering a key two-run single in the seventh inning of Sunday's exhibition match-up against Miami, Escobar is batting .333 this spring, with three extra-base hits in 24 at-bats.

    Meanwhile, the players he's competing with have lagged behind. Jason Bartlett is hitless in 23 at-bats and Doug Bernier is hitting .200 in limited playing time. Escobar has easily cemented himself as the top candidate for a backup infield gig, and he may be playing his way toward a potential starting assignment out of the gates.

    Pedro Florimon has been easing into action in minor-league games after missing a couple weeks due to an emergency appendectomy. He's viewed as the favorite to start at shortstop but his hold on that job is tenuous at best since he hasn't shown much with the bat in the past.

    Escobar hasn't proven to be a superior hitter in the majors, but he also hasn't had the chance to settle into a regular position.

    Last year, after being demoted from the Twins with a .214 average in July, he hit .307/.380/.500 in 43 games at Rochester, and then batted .324 after returning to the majors as a September call-up. So his momentum stretches back beyond the nice spring he's enjoying.

    Florimon is expected to return to the Twins' lineup Monday. If he looks sharp in the field and decent at the plate over these next couple weeks he'll probably be the club's starting shortstop in Chicago on March 31st. Ron Gardenhire seems committed to getting a long look at the athletic defensive whiz, and Escobar's defensive versatility makes him more attractive as a utility man.

    But the Twins need offense and they know it. If Escobar proves himself to be the superior threat at the plate as March fades into April, he could very well knock Florimon from his precarious perch atop the depth chart.
    Comments 70 Comments
    1. Larsbars08's Avatar
      Larsbars08 -
      Didn't Escobar have a great start to the season last year before he got injured? I was at the Tigers game last year where he hit the walk-off double. Seems like he could be a solid regular if he could achieve any kind of consistency.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by Larsbars08 View Post
      Didn't Escobar have a great start to the season last year before he got injured? I was at the Tigers game last year where he hit the walk-off double. Seems like he could be a solid regular if he could achieve any kind of consistency.
      He wasn't hurt, he just couldn't hit after April.

      Escobar is a solid glove at all three positions, and can play in the OF too. I think Florimon's defense is elite. I can't see Escobar starting over him, but I can see him getting a little bit more playing time early just to help ease Florimon back into things.
    1. Larsbars08's Avatar
      Larsbars08 -
      Huh. I had remembered him getting hurt, but I guess I was wrong.
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      I do remember him getting off to a great start. While I'd say the odds are low, he's shown enough with the bat where I'd like to see him get an extended shot at the job... That's my 2 cents.
    1. troyhobbs's Avatar
      troyhobbs -
      Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
      He wasn't hurt, he just couldn't hit after April.

      Escobar is a solid glove at all three positions, and can play in the OF too. I think Florimon's defense is elite. I can't see Escobar starting over him, but I can see him getting a little bit more playing time early just to help ease Florimon back into things.
      Florimon's D is very good but I think elite is using the term a bit loosely. I've never heard his name in a national conversation about the best defensive players in the game and I view he and Escobar as pretty much the same player.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Meager though it may be, Escobar has a little upside. I'd like to see him get a shot at starting this season.
    1. Riverbrian's Avatar
      Riverbrian -
      Quote Originally Posted by troyhobbs View Post
      Florimon's D is very good but I think elite is using the term a bit loosely. I've never heard his name in a national conversation about the best defensive players in the game and I view he and Escobar as pretty much the same player.
      I've heard his name mentioned in National conversation. I don't worry bout that much though.

      He's elite in my opinion and I'm hard on Defense. Florimon and Dozier were a great combo up the middle.

      Simmons is the best
      Iglasias is probably next(in my opinion)
      I think Florimon is #3 and in the conversation.

      I also believe that the level of defense being played right now is uncharted territory. The stuff that Simmons is doing consistently hasn't been done before. Iglasias, Florimon, Segura are taking SS defense to a whole new level.

      I like Escobar and I don't want this to sound like I'm dissing his defense... But... He isn't near Florimon defensively.
    1. hybridbear's Avatar
      hybridbear -
      Support the Eddie 400!

      http://twinsdaily.com/content.php/25...-The-Eddie-400
    1. Riverbrian's Avatar
      Riverbrian -
      One more thing on Florimon's elite-ness.

      Florimon has a lifetime MLB OPS of .601 after 548 at bats at the age of 27.

      With a hitting track record like that... Here's the question.

      Do the Twins hold the SS position for him if he wasn't defensively elite?

      No they wouldn't...

      The reason Florimon is around for TD members to complain about is because he is defensively elite. If he wasn't... He'd be gone at age 27.

      I know that some believe that the Twins front office is run by door stops. But... C'mon.

      On topic... I like Escobar... He's a fine defensive player. He looks like the primary backup at 2B,3B and SS.
    1. Dantes929's Avatar
      Dantes929 -
      "Do the Twins hold the SS position for him if he wasn't defensively elite? " I believe he is very good defensively. Elite might be going far. The Twins hold the position for him because he is very good defensively and there is little competition. Escobar isn't that much better offensively and Santana, at the moment, is not average defensively.
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Florimon is not elite, unless by "elite" you mean "above average". With a whole bunch of different metrics he is from 4th-15th SS in the league. For me "elite" is an all time equation. Ozzie Smith was elite.

      As far as why Gardenhire is starting Florimon if not elite, this is because it is his MO. Punto, Buscher, Tolbert, Butera et al. were not elite by any means. Actually Punto is a pretty good defensive comparable at SS for Florimon, other than the high line drive ball.

      I always have been high on Escobar and I think that he will have a great season this season. Little known fact: SS is his natural and best position and he won the VWL gold glove last winter. Also, he is not a good third baseman by any means. He is better than Plouffe, but this does not mean that he is good (see the above link for metrics and defensive comparisons with Florimon, if you care.)

      Would a contender stand to have Florimon's bat at SS? If not, the Twins should not either.
    1. tobi0040's Avatar
      tobi0040 -
      [QUOTE=Riverbrian;203916]One more thing on Florimon's elite-ness.

      Florimon has a lifetime MLB OPS of .601 after 548 at bats at the age of 27.

      With a hitting track record like that... Here's the question.

      Do the Twins hold the SS position for him if he wasn't defensively elite?

      No they wouldn't...

      QUOTE]

      I don't think it is a question of "holding" the position. I think it is a situation of Florimon being the nicest trailer home in the community.

      It is frustrating to see the battle between Florimon, Bartlett, and Escobar in year 3 of a rebuilding effort.
    1. ChiTownTwinsFan's Avatar
      ChiTownTwinsFan -
      We'll see how Florimon is doing as the local paper here said he'll be in the lineup today against the Orioles.
    1. Jim Crikket's Avatar
      Jim Crikket -
      Quote Originally Posted by tobi0040 View Post
      It is frustrating to see the battle between Florimon, Bartlett, and Escobar in year 3 of a rebuilding effort.
      I think the Twins are very disappointed that Santana hasn't figured out how to play SS competently, yet. If he hadn't butchered so many ground balls last year, I think he'd have been competing for the starting SS job by now.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      Hopefully Danny Santana follows the Florimon model of defense (though hopefully at 3-4 years younger) and moves from flashy, spectacular, and routine-play-error-prone, to just flashy and spectacular.

      Florimon just needs to make more contact. He's a potential 15-25 homer-sb guy at his best.
    1. tobi0040's Avatar
      tobi0040 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jim Crikket View Post
      I think the Twins are very disappointed that Santana hasn't figured out how to play SS competently, yet. If he hadn't butchered so many ground balls last year, I think he'd have been competing for the starting SS job by now.
      Maybe, but he was never really a top prospect. Outside of drafting Levi, we haven't done anything at the position outside of brining in guys that were not well regarded or basically dumped by their teams (Florimon and Escobar).

      When is the last time the Twins had an above average SS? Bartlett for a year or two here maybe. Then the one or two years Guzman had.
    1. birdwatcher's Avatar
      birdwatcher -
      Quote Originally Posted by Thrylos View Post
      Florimon is not elite, unless by "elite" you mean "above average". With a whole bunch of different metrics he is from 4th-15th SS in the league. For me "elite" is an all time equation. Ozzie Smith was elite.

      As far as why Gardenhire is starting Florimon if not elite, this is because it is his MO. Punto, Buscher, Tolbert, Butera et al. were not elite by any means. Actually Punto is a pretty good defensive comparable at SS for Florimon, other than the high line drive ball.

      I always have been high on Escobar and I think that he will have a great season this season. Little known fact: SS is his natural and best position and he won the VWL gold glove last winter. Also, he is not a good third baseman by any means. He is better than Plouffe, but this does not mean that he is good (see the above link for metrics and defensive comparisons with Florimon, if you care.)

      Would a contender stand to have Florimon's bat at SS? If not, the Twins should not either.
      Come on, thrylos, isn't that a cheap shot on Gardy? He played those players because they were his best option, the lesser of two evils. He played the best players he had to work with, thrylos. THAT's his MO.
    1. birdwatcher's Avatar
      birdwatcher -
      Why is it not possible to simply argue that the field staff is wrong in it's viewpoint that Florimon makes them better as a team than Escobar as the starting SS?
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by birdwatcher View Post
      Come on, thrylos, isn't that a cheap shot on Gardy? He played those players because they were his best option, the lesser of two evils. He played the best players he had to work with, thrylos. THAT's his MO.
      It's almost impossible to defend the 2006 season and the shortstop situation out of Spring Training.

      Now whether that was Gardy or Ryan or both, I don't know... but Juan Castro.

      Ugh. Juan Castro.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      Quote Originally Posted by birdwatcher View Post
      Why is it not possible to simply argue that the field staff is wrong in it's viewpoint that Florimon makes them better as a team than Escobar as the starting SS?
      You do know that Escobar's career MLB OPS is lower than Florimon's, right? Given that, and given Florimon's defense is better, where is there an error in judgment?
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