Minnesota Twins Depth Danger: Second Base
As Spring Training games begin, the Minnesota Twins can’t afford an injury at second base.
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Spring training is often met with a sense of optimism that is at times overwhelming. Players claim they are in the best shape of their lives, teams act as if they have identified missing pieces that kept them from contention the previous season, and many fans begin to believe that this season will be the one to remember. Yet the tone can quickly change if an unfortunate injury surfaces in early Spring.
One textbook example of spring training woes occurred in 2015 when Yu Darvish suffered a season ending injury. That injury occurred only after one inning of Spring Training, yet the impact of that injury held the Texas Rangers back for the rest of the season.
At almost every position, the Minnesota Twins have considerable depth. This depth is no stronger than in the outfield, where players like Oswaldo Arcia and Danny Santana will struggle to see meaningful time on the field. Even at catcher, the Twins have two players that could take the full time role if called upon.
Despite all their efforts to have depth options at each position, the Minnesota Twins could still struggle mightily if second baseman Brian Dozier were to become injured during Spring Training. Immediate second base replacement options are not as readily apparent as with other positions. Eduardo Nunez would be one option at second, but the Twins have him slotted for utility purposes and his defensive abilities would be a large downgrade from Dozier. Alternatively, Danny Santana could take that position, but the Twins lack faith in his middle-infield abilities and seem set on converting him to a full time outfielder.
The lack of a true second base replacement at the major league level is worrisome
The lack of a true second base replacement at the major league level is worrisome, and looking towards the minor league system fails to address that worry. Instead it further highlights how important a healthy Brian Dozier is to a successful 2016. Puckett’s Pond recently detailed which players were the best of the minor leagues, and not a single one of those players is currently projected as a second baseman.
Short stops Jorge Polanco, Nick Gordon, and Wander Javier all could make the shift towards second base. Both Gordon and Javier are still have plenty of development before the Twins would be comfortable having them with the major league club. Jorge Polanco has had some experience with the Twins and has had some experience at second base. Polanco is a potential defensive liability. Yet, if the Twins were put in the position to get somewhat into the spot immediately, Polanco could get the call.
Next: Top Prospect: Jorge Polanco
Luckily, Brian Dozier has not had many injury scares in his career, and there is no reason to expect that to change. It is hard to imagine the team competing without Dozier’s presence in the middle infield. The Twins are likely aware of the depth concerns at the position, but did not take any moves to address the issue. Instead, it is likely the team believes that Polanco could take the next step in 2016 if he were to be called upon.