Friday, February 15, 2013

Twins Prospects in Camp

The Twins have a number of prospects in camp this year. That includes a number of players who have lost their rookie status in the last couple years. Many of them are not candidates for the roster, but several have shots at jobs in spring training. Two of them are likely penciled in to starting positions.

Pedro Florimon is no longer a rookie since he barely got over 130 at bats last year. But he is probably the leading candidate for starting shortstop. The Twins hope Aaron Hicks will be ready to take the center field job.

Kyle Gibson is not likely to win the 5th spot in the rotation out of spring training, but he certainly could. He will need to show he is fully recovered from Tommy John surgery. And he is not going to get the job by default.  He will need to not only show that he is better than the other options, but convince the Twins he is ready to pitch successfully in the major leagues.

Liam Hendriks is the other prospect with a shot at the 5th spot in the rotation. He lost his rookie status in appearances with the Twins last year. He has had great success the last couple years in the minors, but that hasn't translated to success against major league hitters

In addition to Florimon, there are two other guys competing for middle infield spots, Eduardo Escobar
and Brian Dozier. Like Florimon, Dozier lost his rookie status last year as he won the starting shortstop spot but couldn't produce defensively or offensively. The Twins hope that was a case of being rushed. Escobar came to the Twins as part of the Liriano trade. He can play shortstop, second or third and probably fits best as a utility guy. At 24, he is the youngest of the infield candidates, but lost his rookie status while with the White Sox.

In addition to Aaron Hicks, Joe Benson is the other prospect expected to be given a shot at the center field position. Benson has some pop in his bat and can play all three outfield positions. His problem has been making contact even against minor league pitching. His defense makes him a candidate for the 4th outfielder spot. Oswaldo Arcia may be the best bat of any of the young players in camp. But he hasn't played above AA and is a corner outfielder. He may provide some competition for Chris Parmelee in right field, but is unlikely to get a serious chance there to start the season.

Caleb Thielbar has a shot at a bullpen spot, but more likely will start the year at AAA. Pedro Hernandez, Brett Hermsen, Trevor May and Michael Tonkin are all guys who are slated for the minor leagues. Hernandez was the other player besides Escobar in the Liriano trade and has pitched in the big leagues, so he might be considered for the 5th starter spot if he opens some eyes in spring training.

Danny Santana, Chris Herrmann, Josmil Pinto are all slated for minor league roles. They are in camp because they are on the major league roster. Herrmann made his major league debut last fall as an extra catcher. If the Twins need an extra catcher for a few games this summer, he may get that chance again since he is on the roster. But he probably isn't ready to hold a major league catching job for any length of time.

In addition to the prospects on the major league roster there are a number of non-roster invites that are also candidates for positions. Their chances were covered in an early post

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