Minnesota Twins Spring Training: Ranking The Top 5 Early Standouts
Ranking The Top 5 Early Standouts For Minnesota Twins
The Minnesota Twins are only seven games into Spring Training, but have already seen several standout performances begin to make their case for a 2014 roster spot. Looking to bounce back from a disappointing 2013 season, the Twins were anxious to showcase a series of new free agent signings and young talent this spring. Roster moves and other contractual circumstances leave multiple Opening Day positions up for grabs in Minnesota, and could give players extra incentive to perform early and often throughout March.
It’s important to remember that while Spring Training is a necessary step in a player’s progression towards the regular season, it does not reflect much moving forward. MLB managers want to see their players perform well in the spring, but realize the preseason has a larger purpose. Young players get to showcase their talent and gain valuable experience, veterans get to focus on specific parts of their game that need improvement and get to warm up for regular season competition, and a true standout performance could eventually help answer potential lineup questions.
In 2013, Aaron Hicks provided a prime example of Spring Training success failing to translate to regular season success. Last spring, Hicks produced a line of .370/.407/.644 with four home runs and 18 RBI over 22 games. In the following 81 regular season games, however, he put up a dismal .192/.259/.338 line.
Spring Training gives players an opportunity to get their game where it needs to be before the regular season gets into full swing, but doesn’t serve as a crystal ball. However, it’s certainly nicer to see your team performing at a high level rather than tanking one month before Opening Day. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire is ready to dish out a lot of playing time to roster hopefuls in the upcoming weeks, which provides these players with an opportunity to step up and excite him.
Here are the top five Twins off to the best start this spring.
5. OF Oswaldo Arcia
Oswaldo Arcia has already shown an improved eye at the plate in four appearances this spring. He’s tied for the team lead in walks, and has produced an early line of .286/.455/.714 with one HR, two RBI and four runs scored. Arcia has great pop in his bat and will look to lock down a starting spot in Minnesota’s outfield in 2014.
4. SS Eduardo Escobar
Eduardo Escobar has been a very solid utility player for the Twins over the last couple seasons. With Pedro Florimon questionable for Opening Day, Minnesota’s starting spot at shortstop is seemingly Escobar’s to lose.
The 25 year old is hitting .333 this spring and slugging .778. He’s registered a pair of doubles and a triple, and has kept up with the hot start of fellow shortstop prospect Danny Santana.
3. SP Kyle Gibson
In a small workload, Kyle Gibson has looked dominant and on top of his game this spring. Through three scoreless innings, Gibson struck out two and walked none, showing great control over his fastball. Gibson was a highly anticipated callup last season, but failed to meet expectations with a 6.53 ERA over 10 starts. Unlike a handful of other Twins starters, Gibson still has minor league options left and won’t likely make the team’s Opening Day rotation. Being only 26 years old, however, expect him to get a second opportunity in the show soon.
2. C Chris Hermann
Chris Hermann served as a solid backup catcher and utility outfielder for Minnesota in 2013. He has an extremely smooth swing, and at only 26 years old, shows great potential at the plate. Likely fighting for a roster spot as an emergency catcher/utility player, Hermann has looked very strong in Spring Training. He’s sprayed the ball to all parts of the field, is tied for the team lead in walks, and has produced an impressive .600/.750/.800 line in four games this spring. If Hermann’s strong play continues, the Twins may regret spending $2.75 million on Kurt Suzuki this offseason.
1. 2B Brian Dozier
Brian Dozier was a true bright spot for the Twins last season, and has shown no signs of slowing down as we approach the 2014 campaign. Dozier has produced a .600/.636/.900 line, scored four runs, and laced three doubles so far this preseason. Dozier’s powerful and reliable bat, along with a sure-handed glove, should factor in as a major part of Minnesota’s hopeful bounce-back season in 2014.