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Near and Far, 2: Positional Analysis (2B)

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Second base is a problem area for the Twins and has been since Luis Castillo. Here's a look at the state of the system from top to bottom, in detail:


Minnesota:

Brian Dozier: RH, DOB: 5-15-87. STATS: .205/.250/.279 (.529), 2/2/1, 8-29, 3-3.

I was a fan of Brian Dozier up until May of this year. I worry about his ability to be a competent player in the major leagues at this point. His defense at second is good, but he is abysmal at the plate. His walk/strikeout rate is just inexcusable. It's frustrating because he can really get good swings on the ball sometimes (his homer in the ninth against Boston, for instance), but he is not good overall at the moment.

Jamey Carroll: RH, 2-18-74. STATS: .304/.361/.339 (.700), 2/0/0, 5-13, 0-0.

Carroll is getting fairly limited playing time this year, mainly because of Dozier. But Carroll is doing an OK job as a utility player and his OPS should climb over .700 with a bit more playing time, returning to 2010 and 2011 numbers. I like Carroll as a tradeable player to some N.L. team at the deadline (even if the Twins are somehow also competing for the playoff) since he is a good roster piece to move around in certain situations more likely to come up in that league. The return just needs to be competent, not overwhelming. I think the Braves, Nationals, Giants, Cardinals and Reds are notable teams to start considering for trade possibilities.


Eduardo Escobar: SH, DOB: 1-5-89. STATS: .293/.328/.466 (.793), 2/1/2, 3-6, 0-1.

I undervalued Escobar for several months now and am admitting that I was wrong, fundamentally, and could be very wrong about his ability and potential. I think that there is a fairly easy managerial decision to be made right now: play Escobar somewhere until that OPS drops below .730 or so. It's really simple: he spells Plouffe once a week, spells Florimon twice a week, and spells Dozier twice a week.


Rochester:

Eric Farris: RH, DOB: 3-3-86. STATS: .227/.278/.311 (.589), 3/1/2, 9-19, 7-0.

I like Farris' ability to steal bases, but there is really no reason for Farris to have 138 plate appearances right now. For whatever absurd reason, Farris was batting 6th in the Red Wings lineup just last night. There is no excuse for that. Joe Benson was batting 9th in this lineup. And we will see below that there are AA players now deserving of a promotion.

Nate Hanson: RH, DOB: 2/8/87. STATS (AA/AAA): .255/.318/.368 (.686), 3/0/3, 11-23, 0-0.

Hanson is struggling in AAA now and hasn't played second base yet (for whatever insane reason--Deibinson Romero must be cringing in AA). He is a potential super-utility option as he has played 3B, 2B, 1B, and LF in significant doses.


New Britain:

James Beresford: SH, DOB: 1-19-89. STATS: .340/.413/.383 (.796), 4/0/0, 11-16, 3-0.

I believe Beresford is an overlooked player right now in the Twins system. He plays great defense at second and perhaps great defense at shortstop, though the Twins are hardly bothered to put him at that position this year so far. Maybe that is because they know he can do and they are trying out Danny Santana there. The offensive numbers are good for Beresford this year and I am really impressed with his ability to make substantial improvements offensively while repeating at AA. That said, he belongs in AAA by now. He's basically ready defensively and is showing major strides at the plate. And below him are guys named Rosario and Michael. His SLG has jumped 69 points to MI respectability now.


Jason Christian: LH, DOB: 6-16-87. STATS: .189/.271/.302 (.573), 2/2/0, 6-18, 2-2.

Organizational filler who is taking plate appearances away from players with actual potential. This is what the Twins do, and there is no good reason for it. He's never been remotely good in the minors, yet the Twins signed him.

Danny Santana: SH, DOB: 11-7-90. STATS: .280/.297/.354 (.651), 7/3/0, 5-28, 7-3.

Santana has a lot of potential as a kind of Ben Revere of the infield. I list him here as a second baseman, because I see no future as a SS. He has been fairly bad his whole minor league career there. I am not sure what the Twins are thinking because swapping Santana and Beresford is such an obvious decision. Regardless, Santana did not initially do well after the jump this season to AA ball, but he has come on strong in last 10 games. Making these adjustments matters, and he is doing so. I would like to simply see him improve his now adequate defense at second base. Santana's long-term role with the Twins really depends on Eddie Rosario more than those above him. Do not be surprised if the Twins offer him up in a trade sometime down the road if they find themselves comfortable with Rosario at second, and a few other players as SS and UTIL players. That said, Santana does have CF experience and could position himself as another player who is Brian Dinkelman+ (well maybe ++).


Fort Myers:

Eddie Rosario: LH, DOB: 9-28-91. STATS: .318/.359/.487 (.846), 9/4/3, 10-26, 3-2.

Rosario is a key component to the Twins future. As a second baseman, he could serve as a major re-shaping figure for this team. And the results are in so far: after a shaky transition in 2012, Rosario has improved his defense enormously at second base and he may be projectable as an above-average major league defender at the position. And this will come with significant doubles power and some other extra pop. His plate discipline has lagged only a tiny bit after the move to high-A ball. He could serve as the best 2-hole hitter ahead of Joe Mauer (Ben Revere 2012 for a few months is the only other contender) in the Mauer era. There is no reason that Rosario should not finish at AA.


Levi Michael: SH, DOB: 2-9-91. STATS: .210/.278/.370 (.648), 6/2/1, 8-19, 2-0.

Michael has returned to Fort Myers and has mimicked his numbers from a season ago, though he is coming off of an injury. His power is slightly up too, which is a really good sign. If he sticks at short that would be a plus, but he could very well end up competing at second base. And with Rosario there, he is going to have to improve offensively. And how.


Cedar Rapids:

Jorge Polanco: SH, DOB: 7-5-93. STATS: .325/.376/.491 (.867), 12/6/1, 16-20, 1-2.

Polanco is exciting. Up until he turned 18, Polanco struggled at the plate. In the past two years, he has gone ballistic. His defense at SS was an attractive thing as a 16-year-old. He has now split time at SS and second overall is minor league career. He struggled at SS up until this year. In limited time there he has really improved his defensive stats. I think the Twins want to see if Niko Goodrum will stay at SS, but that may be doubtful. Polanco could move over and be the SS of the future for the Twins. For now, he is the primary second baseman for Cedar Rapids. Even though his numbers are great, I wouldn't expect a promotion to Fort Myers this year.

Candido Pimentel: SH, DOB: 7/19/90. STATS: .262/.328/.299 (.627), 2/1/0, 11-27, 7-2.

Pimentel blossomed last year in his third season of rookie ball, but he appears to be returning to the pre-2012 performance. He is rotating into the lineup with Polanco and Goodrum this year, but he really needs to improve if he has any chance.


EST:

Jose Ramirez: SH, DOB: 9-6-91. STATS (2012 in the GCL): .234/.294/.269, 3/1/0, 10-33, 3-5.

Ramirez is likely going to Elizabethon when that season starts. He has not produced, but perhaps this year he gets acclimated to the U.S. and plays better.

Logan Wade: SH, DOB: 11-13-91. STATS (2012 in the GCL): .234/.301/.371 (.672), 6/4/1, 12-29, 2-2

The Australian turned in an OK performance in 2012, but will need to improve significantly to advance out of rookie ball.

Will Hurt: RH, DOB: 12-22-93. STATS (bad in limited time in the GCL, not even worth mentioning!).

With a name like that, I really want him to succeed. He was drafted in the 16th round of the 2012 draft and played very little rookie ball. He should go back to the GCL and play, hopefully turning things around this year.


Conclusion:

Eddie Rosario alone makes this position adequate in the system, but now the Twins have significant depth at second base. There are some question marks about who's going to end up staying at second and short, but the middle infield situation has improved markedly in the past year with a successful move (Rosario) and very improved performances (Escobar, Beresford, Santana, and Polanco).
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Comments

  1. B Richard's Avatar
    Thanks for this Shane, for the record I read your 1B breakdown and look forward to future installments.
  2. Shane Wahl's Avatar
    In that case, I will actually continue with shortstops very soon!
  3. Shane Wahl's Avatar
    B Richard, I am probably just going to do an overall blog post about the rest of the positions, and then one on pitching. I appreciate your interest, but no one else gives a rat's ass. It takes a lot of time to do this and there is just one other person interested. Thank you, though.
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