Friday, August 28, 2015

Eduardo Escobar, shortstop

Eduardo Escobar hits his second homer of Wednesday's game.
He hit three in the Tampa Bay series.
Question: How many games did the Twins cost themselves this year by insisting for months that Danny Santana was their best shortstop option?

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. 


  1. It's as if he is the better hitting, poorer fielding reincarnation of Nick Punto.

  2. I think that's exactly who he is. He's a great clubhouse guy. Everybody seems to love him, which seemed to be one of Punto's attributes. Eduardo can play all over the field -some places better than others- but the ability to fill in at shortstop at a more than adequate level is huge. And even as a light hitter, Punto seemed to give the team good at-bats (he always saw a lot of pitches and had okay OBP). Escobar seems to take good at bats too, but then has a little thump when he gets a good pitch.

    The Twins' problem with Punto is they kept giving him more responsibility (and money) than was entirely warranted. Hopefully they don't swing the other way and give Esco' too few chances.