Eduardo Escobar began the season as a utility player but got more playing time at shortstop amid Jorge Polanco's first-half struggles and then played third base most of the final two months after Miguel Sano went down with a shin injury. He entered 2017 with 27 home runs in 1,620 plate appearances, but hit 21 home runs in 499 plate appearances last season. After posting flyball rates below 39 percent in each previous season, he lofted the ball more (45.3 percent flyball rate last year). His 12.8 percent HR/FB more than doubled his 5.7 percent mark from 2016 and topped his previous career high of 9.5 percent. As long as he keeps hitting the ball in the air, some of those power gains should remain. He is a career .253 hitter (he hit .254 last year) and offers little speed for fantasy purposes. Escobar doesn't have ideal range for shortstop but should be above average at third base or second base. He could begin the season as Minnesota's starting third baseman if Sano is moved to DH.
Escobar signed a one-year, $4.85 million deal with the Twins on Thursday to avoid arbitration, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports. Escobar enjoyed a solid yet unspectacular season with the Twins in 2017, slashing .254/.309/.449 over 499 plate appearances, including career-high marks of 21 home runs, 73 RBI and five stolen bases. He'll likely see a majority of his playing time at third base and DH this upcoming season.
Escobar is not in the lineup against the Indians on Thursday, MLBpressbox.com reports. Escobar, along with a few other regulars, will spend the series finale on the bench after securing a playoff spot due to the Angels' loss Wednesday night. Over the course of September, Escobar is slashing .257/.299/.584 with eight home runs and 22 RBI. Ehire Adrianza draws the start at the hot corner in his stead.
Escobar went 2-for-5 with a home run and four RBI during Sunday's win over the Tigers. Escobar slapped an RBI single in the fifth inning and followed that up with a three-run shot in the sixth. The Twins' third baseman put together a strong performance during the four-game series, going 6-for-18 with seven RBI in the sweep. He now holds a .252 average with 20 homers and 70 RBI on the campaign.
Escobar went 1-for-3 with a solo home run during Saturday's loss to Toronto. With Miguel Sano (shin) on the disabled list, Escobar has filled in admirably at third base. Escobar entered Saturday's game with six homers, 14 RBI, 11 runs and a .967 OPS through 14 September games, and those numbers only improved after his 19th long fly of the campaign.
Escobar went 1-for-3 with a solo homer Saturday during the Twins' 5-2 loss to the Royals. Escobar hit a laser off Jake Junis to tie the game in the third inning. His blast marked his 18th of the season and fifth in September, during which he's now 12-for-36 with 13 RBI. Still, it's uncertain that he's done enough to justify anything more than part-time duty after Miguel Sano (shin) returns from the disabled list, likely in the coming days.