Friday, March 23, 2012

Utility Infielder and other Twins Roster Competition

Here are the players still in the Twins spring training camp competing for the last three spots on the roster as position players. The likely choices are a catcher, a middle infielder and a utility guy. They area grouped by likelihood they will make the team. There are some changes from my previous evaluation.

To start Chang, Lehman and Carson were sent to the minor league camp. The only mild surprise there is Change. With a middle infield spot open, I expected him to stick around for a while.

I moved Butera ahead of Hughes. I think both these guys will be on the roster, but its possible Burroughs could beat out Hughes. I see little evidence that Towles or Rivera would move ahead of Butera. Although Butera was not catching today when Pavano pitched, something that was sort of a given the last couple seasons.

Hollimon moved up ahead of Burroughs largely because Ron Gardenhire mentioned him as a shortstop candidate and there were reports that he was getting work there in camp. I had assumed that his defense was not really shortstop material. That apparently is not entirely the case.

Gardenhire made it clear Florimon is a better shortstop. In fact, he seemed to indicate Florimon is better than anyone else in camp defensively. It appears he can't hit. But that may not be a fatal problem for a utility player. The Twins will have Hughes/Burroughs and Plouffe as bats on the bench. They may put a premium on defense for the last spot.

Dozier moved down based on comments by Gardenhire that he would only make the team as a regular. It sounds like he is going to AAA to wait for an opening. The other thing is that Gardenhire also said that Parmelee is closest to ready of any of the prospects trying to make the jump from AA last year. Terry Ryan confirmed the problem with Benson is that he needs to learn not to swing at bad pitches. That is a lot harder to fix successfully than Parmelee's footwork at first. Dinkelman is ahead of all three because he is highly flexible. If an outfielder gets hurt, he is the most likely candidate to take the 4th outfielder spot. An injury to one of four outfielders is a lot more likely than Carroll or Casilla going down and opening a spot for Dozier.

I should mention, its likely that the Twins will look for a veteran middle infielder rather than relying on Florimon or Hollimon as the backup at shortstop.





Anonymous said...

I notice that Dozier is starting at short for the 2nd consective day. I don't think this means he's going to make the team. I don't think it means much more than a veteran(Carroll) not having to make long bus rides very often. But it might also means the Twins are looking at Dozier very closely(we knew that). It is also interesting that Hollimon hasn't gotten a start at short.

I think you have the roster right, except I don't know if they will really start with 3 catchers. With all the days off early in the season, if they don't find a veteran MI, they may go without a bckup SS for awhile, though I don't really think they will do that.

I never thought Holimon had much of a chance to make the 25 man roster, but I could see him starting the year with the Twins,now. With all the days off the backup SS probably won't play much. Florimon may benefit from playing everyday. Holimon is, what he is.

TT said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TT said...

Interesting developments today. Hollimon made an error at third. The local beat writers seem to be making a lot of that because it cost the Twins a bunch of runs. I doubt the consequences factor into its effect on Hollimon's chances.

What was more peculiar was Towles came in to replace Hollimon at third base. Towles has played one game anywhere but behind the plate in his professional career, minor leagues or major leagues. I am not sure what that means, if anything.

Jim H said...

I see where sportwriters are suggesting Parmelee could make the team. I suspect that was always a possibility, but like Dozier the caveat is he has to be mostly a starter. I would think that might eliminate a 3rd catcher with Doumit becoming more of a backup catcher. I still don't think Parmelee beginning the year with the Twins is real likely, but if Morneau is mostly a DH, it could happen.

TT said...

Jim -

I agree. If Morneau is limited to DH a third catcher is not needed with Doumit on the bench when he is not behind the plate.

I just finished a longer post on this.

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