|Eduardo Escobar hits his second homer of Wednesday's game.|
He hit three in the Tampa Bay series.
For the second year in a row, Eduardo Escobar began the season as Plan B at shortstop and emerged as the regular. And for the second year in a row, he has provided some thump from a position commonly occupied by slap hitters. LaVelle Neal of the Star Tribune refers to him on Twitter as "Eddie The Stick."
This intrigues me, even though they involve too few at-bats to mean much: When playing shortstop this year, Escobar's slash line is .308/.361/.519 (entering Thursday's play, which means those numbers are even better this morning); as a left fielder, .224/.261/.388.
The defensive metrics I've seen have Escobar as an average shortstop, maybe a touch below average, and I'll buy that. That's acceptable, especially with the extra bases he's provided the past two years from the position.
I assume that Escobar will be the Twins' regular shortstop down the stretch. I also expect that he won't be a lock to be the regular at the start of 2016. I doubt the Twins have given up on Santana's athleticism, and Jorge Polanco has been a very productive hitting middle infielder in the high minors. Even now, Paul Molitor hasn't truly embraced Escobar as the starter, so he's probably inclined to look for alternatives.
And given Escobar's limitations, that's sensible. But I doubt the Twins have a better alternative on hand until 2018 or so, when one of the shortstops in the low minors might be ready. Certainly for now, Escobar should be Plan A at shortstop.