Friday, April 26, 2013

Pedro Florimon vs. Eduardo Escobar

Pedro Florimon leaps over a sliding Ian Kinsler on the first
of two potential third-inning double plays that weren't
converted Thursday. The Rangers didn't score.
Pedro Florimon entered spring training as the Twins de facto shortstop incumbent, and held on to the job.

He's gone a few games without a hit and hasn't reached base since the Angels series, but still has an on-base percentage of .385. It's just 40 plate appearances, but he's done some good work in those appearances. Most notably, six walks as opposed to just four strikeouts. This is, to be sure, out of line with his minor league record, which generally sports closer to three strikeouts for each walk. Has his pitch recognition really improved that dramatically that rapidly?

When Florimon's not at short, Eduardo Escobar generally is. Escobar's numbers -- just 26 plate appearances -- are ridiculous: .480/.500/.720. Obviously he's not that good a hitter; nobody is. Given sufficient playing time, his batting average and slugging percentage will probably be about half his current numbers. 

The truth is, the Twins aren't counting on either playing a big role on offense. That's why they generally hit ninth, and why Florimon is pinch-hit for with regularity. Their job is to get outs in the field and make life easier for a pitching staff that isn't capable of getting a lot of strikeouts.

And in that task, Florimon clearly could be more efficient. My sense watching Thursday night's game was that the up-the-middle combo of Florimon and Brian Dozier left a few outs on the table; in particular, it was surprising that they couldn't turn two on creaky Lance Berkman in the third inning.

In contrast, the Rangers converted a more difficult double play on Josh Willingham in the eighth inning to choke off the Twins best chance at a big inning. Elvis Andrus had to go into the hole to get Willingham's grounder, but the Rangers still turned two.

I don't know who's better defensively, Florimon or Escobar. I am increasingly doubtful that Florimon's glovework can justify keeping him in the lineup.

1 comment:

  1. I have been impressed by Florimon's range, and like his flash. I think this team, with its pitching, needs an athletic infield. I don't think people appreciate how he gets around. Florimon is still leading the AL handily in range factor.

    That said, I acknowledge Florimon often rushes and makes mistakes with his hands. And when he looks bad at the plate, he looks very bad. Last night was an especially tough one for Pedro.

    Can the Twins afford to mix things up more, to keep things fresh? I wouldn't be sad to see Escobar and Carroll start more often.