The Minnesota Twins have openings at several starting spots, including the important middle triangle of center field, shortstop and second base.
The team is now just over one week into its spring training schedule and each job has no cut winner leader.
The leader in the clubhouse right now appears to be the 27-year-old Mastroianni. The right-handed hitting former waiver pickup is hitting .364 with three doubles, one RBI, three runs scored, one walk and one stolen base in 11 at-bats over five games. He has been slowed recently by an injury, but appears close to returning. The 23-year-old Hicks has shown more flash, but has not made as much contact as Mastroianni.
The Twins are going to sacrifice some offense for better defense than it had in recent seasons.
The main candidates have combined to commit two errors. The two leading candidates at this point have not committed either of them. Pedro Florimon entered spring training as the expected starter, but a .231 batting average pushes him into a running up spot in the initial power rankings.
Jamey Carroll has been solid defensively and is hitting .357 to take the top spot as the starting shortstop.
The second base job is the same candidates as the shortstops with the addition of Brian Dozier. Dozier is the initial leader with zero errors in 18 chances and is hitting a respectable .273 with three walks and one strikeout. The more consistent contact he is making the better his odds of solidifying the starting spot and No. 2 hole in the batting order.
The Projected Opening Day Batting Order
CF Darin Mastroianni
2B Brian Dozier
C Joe Mauer
LF Josh Willingham
1B Justin Morneau
DH Ryan Doumit
RF Chris Parmelee
3B Trevor Plouffe
SS Jamey Carroll
*Italics indicate spot is locked down