The Minnesota Twins are in a rebuilding mode, hoping to compete in 2014 or 2015. If the they were planning on being competitive, it’s likely journeyman Jamey Carroll, who is in the last guaranteed year of his contract, would occupy one of the middle infield positions. But because Carroll is in the final year of his deal and the Twins probably wont be playing meaningful games late in the season, expect Twins’ GM Terry Ryan and manager Ron Gardenhire to give Brian Dozier and Pedro Florimon the majority of the starts up the middle.
Both Dozier and Florimon play above average defense. 2012 served as their first year of extended action at the MLB level and both were anemic offensively. Florimon sported a .219/.272/.307 split in 43 games and eight of his 30 hits went for extra bases. Dozier was only slightly better posting a .235 BA and a .271 OBP. He showed decent power potential for a middle infielder hitting six home runs and knocking in 33 runs in 84 games.
Third base appears to be a lock for Trevor Plouffe who had unexpected flashes of power last year. However, after hitting 19 home runs in the first half, his production completely fell off. He only went deep five times after the All-Star Break and saw his batting average plummeted to .235. And despite his 24 homeruns he only managed to knock in 55 runs in over 400 ABs.
Former MVP Justin Morneau could have a great year if he’s able to shake lingering concussion symptoms and stay healthy. But even though it’s only February, there’s been plenty of speculation that Morneau–who is also in the final year of his contract–could be on the move. Especially if he gets off to a hot start.
It appears that Dozier, Florimon and Plouffe will be given a prolonged audition in 2013–an opportunity to show that they can be a long-term answer at their respective positions. While some contending teams can afford to have one defensive specialist who hits in the low .200s, it’s unreasonable to have three quarters of your infield barely hitting their weight. In order for these three young infielders to seize their opportunity, they’ll have to get something going at the plate. If not, the Twins will be forced to explore other avenues while constructing their next competitive team.
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