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Article: Escobar Steps Up

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#1 Seth Stohs

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Posted 23 September 2017 - 09:19 AM

The Twins won on Friday night in Detroit. Later in the night, Angels and the Rangers lost, so the Twins have a 3 1/2 game lead on the 2nd AL Wild Card with eight games to play. Another way to look at that? The Twins magic number for a playoff spot is down to six.

Not convinced yet? Here are the playoff odds for the Twins according to some reliable national websites.

FanGraphs - 88.1%
Baseball Prospectus - 90.0%
FiveThirtyEight - 90%

In other words, it is officially OK to be excited about the Twins playoff chances.There are many reasons that the Twins are in this position. Nick wrote last week that everyone has contributed to a successful season.

Today I wanted to highlight one player who has been very helpful to the Twins cause down the stretch.

On August 19th, Miguel Sano fouled a ball off of his shin, and he hasn't played since. At this point, the odds of him contributing further in 2017 are unlikely, bordering on it's not going to happen.

The next day, Paul Molitor inserted Eduardo Escobar into the lineup at third base. He's been there most every day since. He's contributed in a big way.

Defensively, he has played quite well at third base, even making a few web gems. He's made just two errors in 33 games at the hot corner.

Offensively, he's hit like Eduardo Escobar, in terms of batting average and on-base percentage. In those 33 games, he has hit .246 and been on base 29.6% of the time. However, he has also provided Sano-like (or Sano-light?) power. In those games, he has added four doubles, three triple and eight home runs.

For a while, he was hitting cleanup against left-handed pitching. Fortunately that has stopped due to the performances of Jorge Polanco, Eddie Rosario and Byron Buxton.

While a team is not going to fully replace the offensive upside of Miguel Sano, Eduardo Escobar has been as good as we could hope. His .803 OPS is pretty good for anyone, even if most of that has come from extra-base hits.

And when the talk of leadership in the Twins clubhouse comes up, Eduardo Escobar's name should not be forgotten. His joy brings players together. His philanthropy has made him a finalist for the Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award.

For all that, join me in a hat tip for Eduardo Escobar.

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#2 Craig Arko

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Posted 23 September 2017 - 09:44 AM

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#3 Darius

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Posted 23 September 2017 - 09:53 AM

He may be the most underrated player on the team, when it comes to recognition for his contribution to the Twins epic turnaround.

He's one of my favorite players on this team, and that goes beyond his contributions in the field. By all accounts (I don't know him personally), he's an extremely gracious and generous individual, universally loved. Truly one of the good guys, who everyone should be rooting for.
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#4 FlauerPauer

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Posted 23 September 2017 - 10:03 AM

Eddie the Stick!  He may not be an everyday player, but he sure has been coming up big with his play the last month.

#StrikeoutsMatter

#5 MileHighTwinsFan

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Posted 23 September 2017 - 10:06 AM

As I mentioned on another thread, baseball needs a utility player award. Eduardo checks all the boxes for that kind of recognition.
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#6 mikelink45

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Posted 23 September 2017 - 10:17 AM

I would give him the Twins MVP.When Sano went down we all thought this was something that could doom the team, but Eduardo stepped in and stepped up.In tight situations I feel confidence when he comes to the plate.I feel confident when the ball is hit towards him.What more can someone do.Yes Rosario, Polanco, Buxton and now Kepler have had some great hot streaks, but Escobar has been a steady force before, through and after those hot streaks. 

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#7 Dantes929

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Posted 23 September 2017 - 10:40 AM

Sorry.  Just not there yet.  I see a 10% chance of not making the playoffs. See what a 2 game losing streak coupled with a 3 game win streak by one of the chasers does to the  odds. Keep in mind when our odds were 6% at the trade deadline I said see what a modest winning streak can do to the odds. I guess when others see a glass 90% full I see one 10% empty and when others see a glass 90% empty I see one 10% full.  

I like Escobar but for whatever reason do not like watching him play.  Doesn't mean I don't appreciate him.  Morneau in what was looking like a lock for another MVP in 2008, slumped in the last month.  Probably due to playing through a stress fracture but replacing him for that last month probably would have gotten us into the playoffs. Similar here to if Sano was playing in pain or even simply slumped and was in the middle of this order for this past month our playoff hopes might be greatly diminished because not only has Escobar been producing, he has been producing in big spots.  MVP award could simply go to our third baseman for the combined efforts of Sano and Escobar.

Escobar seems like a really good guy by all accounts but the same could be said about the entire team.  They are all quite like able.  Worst things I have heard about this team is that Mauer might be overpaid, Sano is a little overweight and Molitor bunts too much. They are easy to root for and I might mention the frosting on the cake is that pretty much all of them have come up through our system. Reading about them on TD for the last several years and now seeing what they can do has been awesome.

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#8 bighat

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Posted 23 September 2017 - 11:41 AM

 

Sorry.  Just not there yet.  I see a 10% chance of not making the playoffs. See what a 2 game losing streak coupled with a 3 game win streak by one of the chasers does to the  odds. Keep in mind when our odds were 6% at the trade deadline I said see what a modest winning streak can do to the odds.  

 

I am excited but I'm curbing my enthusiasm 'til the Twins lock this one down. At this point I'm taking an ultra conservative approach here. It makes me nervous when Dick mentions playoff tickets on the air, LOL. One game at a time, boys. Looking forward to seeing Erv take the hill tonight.

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#9 scottz

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Posted 23 September 2017 - 11:52 AM

El de la Pica!
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#10 Rosterman

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Posted 23 September 2017 - 12:23 PM

Trade Chip!

 

Joel Thingvall
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rosterman at www.twinscards.com


#11 Danchat

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Posted 23 September 2017 - 12:37 PM

 

Sorry.Just not there yet.I see a 10% chance of not making the playoffs. See what a 2 game losing streak coupled with a 3 game win streak by one of the chasers does to theodds. Keep in mind when our odds were 6% at the trade deadline I said see what a modest winning streak can do to the odds. I guess when others see a glass 90% full I see one 10% empty and when others see a glass 90% empty I see one 10% full.

I just can't see any way the Twins blow this. They have 5 more games against a AAA team... also known as the Detroit Tigers. Even if the Twins finish the season 4-4, the Rangers/Angels would need to go 8-1 in their final 9 games to make the playoffs. Also the Angels are down 5-0 to the Astros at this very moment, so the playoff spot is at hand.


#12 Old Twins Cap

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Posted 23 September 2017 - 12:45 PM

I suppose technically you could say it's a "playoff spot" but for me it's one game to see if you make it to the playoffs.

 

And, it's against the hated Yankees.

 

History awaits.We could exorcise a lot of demons.

 

Or compound a lot of pain.

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#13 ThejacKmp

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Posted 23 September 2017 - 02:19 PM

 

Or compound a lot of pain.

 

Meh, I don't care what happens in the wild card game, getting there is enough. The Twins go in a heavy underdog, if they lose still an incredible season. I'd really only feel pain if they blew a big lead or something. we're playing with house money.

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#14 Linus

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Posted 23 September 2017 - 04:07 PM

Meh, I don't care what happens in the wild card game, getting there is enough. The Twins go in a heavy underdog, if they lose still an incredible season. I'd really only feel pain if they blew a big lead or something. we're playing with house money.


I agree. I will be satisfied if they get to the game. Considering 80% of the board was predicting 75 or fewer wins this is a great season.
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#15 jimmer

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Posted 23 September 2017 - 06:05 PM

 

Meh, I don't care what happens in the wild card game, getting there is enough. The Twins go in a heavy underdog, if they lose still an incredible season. I'd really only feel pain if they blew a big lead or something. we're playing with house money.

This season has been very fun and I am proud of what this team has been able to do. They could fall apart and not even make the playoffs (they won't) and I'd feel the same way. The FO still has some moves to make (pitching), but they really put a fun season together.

Edited by jimmer, 23 September 2017 - 06:05 PM.

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#16 ThejacKmp

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Posted 23 September 2017 - 10:27 PM

 

I agree. I will be satisfied if they get to the game. Considering 80% of the board was predicting 75 or fewer wins this is a great season.

 

80%. That seems low. 99%. I thought I was wildly optimistic predicting they'd finish within a game of .500. I thought they'd compete but just finish off cuz they unloaded Dozier, Santana etc. at the deadline.

 

Instead, those two are both going to start Game 7 of the World Series,


#17 drjim

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Posted 24 September 2017 - 06:58 AM

80%. That seems low. 99%. I thought I was wildly optimistic predicting they'd finish within a game of .500. I thought they'd compete but just finish off cuz they unloaded Dozier, Santana etc. at the deadline.

Instead, those two are both going to start Game 7 of the World Series,


I wouldn't be stunned if Santana came out if the pen in Game 7 of the World Series, but he's lined up to start Games 1 and 5.
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#18 terrydactyls1947

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Posted 24 September 2017 - 07:42 AM

80%. That seems low. 99%. I thought I was wildly optimistic predicting they'd finish within a game of .500. I thought they'd compete but just finish off cuz they unloaded Dozier, Santana etc. at the deadline.
 
Instead, those two are both going to start Game 7 of the World Series,


Check out a blog I posted a couple weeks back called "A Look Back". I found an article posted at the beginning of the season in which many people posted their quesses at the Twins total wins for the year. Only one predicted that total to exceed 80.

#19 ThejacKmp

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Posted 24 September 2017 - 08:50 AM

 

Check out a blog I posted a couple weeks back called "A Look Back". I found an article posted at the beginning of the season in which many people posted their quesses at the Twins total wins for the year. Only one predicted that total to exceed 80.

 

Yeah, saw that. I never posted on TD for that. I send out MLB predictions every year to my buddies.

 

The Twins are my surprise team in the AL (who saw that coming!) They’ve got a great lineup and Buxton is going to be a breakout star. The pitching is not amazing but with some young depth coming up (Berrios, Mejia, Gonsalves) and some reclamation projects in Gibson, Santiago and Hughes, I think they piece together enough to be a game under .500.

 

Compared to most years (in 2015 I missed all five AL playoff teams) I did okay this year. Got all the division winners right. Got Yankees as WC and then had the Jays (overreaction to Stroman's WBC feats). Had Pirates and Mets as WC in NL (not so good). Seven out of 10 is a passing grade!


#20 Linus

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Posted 24 September 2017 - 09:51 AM

80%. That seems low. 99%. I thought I was wildly optimistic predicting they'd finish within a game of .500. I thought they'd compete but just finish off cuz they unloaded Dozier, Santana etc. at the deadline.

Instead, those two are both going to start Game 7 of the World Series,


Probably true on the 80%. I predicted 81-81. Boy do I hope I'm wrong. ☺