Monday, March 10, 2014

25-Man Roster Dissection: Eduardo Escobar

With Miguel Sano's recent elbow injury and up-coming surgery, the Twins infield for 2014 looks to be stabilizing. Sano might have been able to push Trevor Plouffe for the starting job at third but that won't be the case. The starters look to be set around the diamond with Joe Mauer at first, Brian Dozier at second, Pedro Florimon at shortstop, and Trevor Plouffe at third.

The only wild card left in the bunch could be Eduardo Escobar. There is a very good chance that he will make the team's 25-man roster as the team heads north. His skills on the defensive side of the ball should translate to him becoming the team's back-up infielder. As the season progresses and the team sees how other infielders are playing, he could find himself getting more starts at more than one position.

2013 Recap: .236/.282/.345, 3 HR, 5 2B, 10 RBI (66 Games)
Eduardo Escobar got off to a hot start in 2013. In 16 games during the month of April, he hit .378/.395/.541 with three extra-base hits and half of his season total for RBI. Things would go downhill from there as he hit under .100 for the month of May. He closed out the regular season on another hot streak by batting .324/.342/.412 with three doubles. Throughout the season, he played second base, shortstop, third base, and even played part of a game in the outfield. The fast majority of his innings were on the left side of the infield. This defensive versatility makes him a valuable piece to have on the bench. Escobar batted almost 90 points higher at home than on the road and seven of his 10 extra-base hits came at Target Field. He spent a big chunk of the second half of the year in Rochester so the 25-year old will be looking to avoid that fate again in 2014.

Forecasting 2014: .239/.283/.348, 5 HR, 12 2B, 29 RBI (85 games)
This coming season will be a very important one in Eduardo Escobar's career. He played a career high 66 big league games last season as a 24-year old but this season is all about establishing himself as consistent player off the bench. An injury to Plouffe or Florimon could mean Escobar is forced into the line-up on a more regular basis. It also seems plausible for poor play from either of these players to lead to Escobar playing a more vital role than last season. There is pressure on Plouffe to perform at third base but his defense needs to make strides in the right direction. Escobar will get more playing time this season and he will reward the Twins with a bump in his numbers. 

25-Man Roster Safety: Loosely Locked-In

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