Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Middle Infield Competition

There are four players competing for second base and shortstop. One of the losers in that competition will likely end up as a utility player.

The favorite at second base is Jamey Carroll. Carroll started last year as the Twins opening day shortstop and then played all over the infield. He is 39 years old and there is talk that the Twins think he will do better with more time off. But he is a steady veteran who can play anywhere and is probably the Twins best candidate for replacing Ben Revere as the number two hitter. He will be in the lineup most days, the question is whether it is at one position or all over the field.

Pedro Florimon, 26, is the favorite at shortstop. He has the best glove of any of the candidates. The problem is that he has not demonstrated much of a bat in his minor league career. There is also always the question with young players as to how consistent they can be in the field. The shortstop position appears to be Florimon's to lose, but his playing himself out of the position this spring is not out of the question.

Brian Dozier, 26 in May, is the guy the Twins would like to take the second base job. He failed miserably at shortstop last year both in the field and at the plate.  It doesn't sound like Dozier is going to be given much time at shortstop this spring. The Twins hope by moving him to second they can take some of the pressure to field off him and the bat he showed in the minor leagues will emerge at the major league level. He could also take the utility job, playing some at both shortstop and second.

Educardo Escobar is the fourth candidate and the youngest, having just turned 24 in January. He is probably Florimon's major competition at shortstop with many of the same strengths and weaknesses. He has some major league experience the last couple years with the White Sox, playing mostly third base.  He may profile best as a utility player, but he can play second or short and will compete with the others for a starting spot.

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