Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Infield Competition Update

I did a story at the start of spring training about the infield competition. Not much has really changed since then except that it is more likely the Twins will carry 6 or even 7 infielders since it sounds like they may go with only two catchers.

Here is where the infield competition stands right now.

Morneau (1b)
Carroll (2b, ss, 3b)
Plouffe (3b)

Florimon (ss)

Escobar (2b,ss,3b)
Dozier (2b, ss)

Olmedo (2b, ss, 3b)
Sobolewski (3b)
Clement (1b)
Colabello (1b)

Beresford (2b, ss)
Romero (3b)
Santana (ss)

I think Florimon has all but locked up the shortstop spot. He went into spring training as the favorite and it doesn't look like anyone will displace him. He would have to stumble badly as the competition gets stiffer.

Dozier is trying to win the starting second base spot. He has received some praise for his progress there from both Tom Kelly and Gardy.  Escobar may still be in the competition for second and shortstop, but is more likely to win a spot as a utility guy. Apparently they are even having him catch a little. Carroll will be either the starting second baseman or a utility guy. So, in some ways, Dozier and Escobar are competing against one another. Although it is possible they could keep both. Olmedo may have played himself a little more into the utility competition, but looks like a longshot.

Sobolewski is a good defensive third baseman. He has hit well enough so far to be used as a pinch hitter, so he might win a spot as Plouffe's defensive backup and bat off the bench if that continues. But more likely he will be kept at AAA for that purpose.

Clement and Colabello are first basemen whose primary role would be a bat off the bench and occasional relief for Morneau. Both are longshots. Colabello is playing in the WBC, as is Morneau. So Clement should get a lot of chances at first base for the next couple weeks.

Romero is MIA as a result of a visa problem. If he gets that worked out he may still get some at bats with the major league team when he arrives. But he has likely lost any chance he had to make the roster out of spring training.

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