Going into camp…
Pedro Florimon came in as the clear front-runner of a pedestrian crop of shortstop options. The 26 year old is a light-hitting, slick-gloved player who has the ability to make spectacular plays in the field, but needed to show a little more consistency in making the routine plays in camp.
Jamey Carroll is a veteran option best suited for a reserve role, and Eduardo Escobar came in looking to impress enough to start the season in the majors. Journeyman Ray Olmedo was signed as a minor league free agent with an invitation to spring training, and James Beresford resigned as a minor league free agent and was invited to camp, as well. Prospect Danny Santana came into his first camp with little in the way of expectations facing MLB-caliber players.
How the competition has played out thus far:
Florimon has been solid with the glove the first few weeks, and is hitting .207; however, in limited plate appearances, he has managed to walk as many times (2) as he’s struck out, which is a good sign. He’s been the player the Twins thought he was, and it appears he may be cleaning up a couple of minor deficiencies in his overall game, so he remains the front runner, for now.
Escobar has been a pleasant surprise this spring, batting .344 while showing defensive versatility and acumen. If he continues to thrive the remainder of camp, he has a chance to win the starting shortstop position come April 1. He’s certainly played himself into the discussion.
Regardless of what kind of numbers he puts up, the Twins know exactly what they have in Carroll, and he won’t be a starter heading north unless someone else in the infield really struggles in March. So far, that hasn’t happened.
Ray Olmedo has been hot so far, with a 1.120 OPS over 12 games and, while spring training tends to be less about the numbers, he could wind up as the second middle infield backup if Escobar wins the SS job out of camp.
If it were all about the numbers, Danny Santana wouldn’t have been optioned to AA New Britain already: the prospect hit .333 in limited action and played well in the field.
Beresford has one hit in nine plate appearances, but it did go for a home run.
Florimon is probably still the front runner here, but if Escobar can keep playing the way he has, the Twins will be forced to make a tough decision in a couple of weeks.