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Game Thread Twins @ Cubs 9 /18/2020 7:15 PM CDT

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SS - your best fielder

Posted by mikelink45 , 03 September 2018 · 3,037 views

shortstop polanco twins defense
SS - your best fielder For years baseball played with shortstops that could cover a lot of ground and if they hit well it was a bonus - Marty Marion and Ozzie Smith made the hall like this. Mark Belanger was the glue of Earl Weaver's championship Orioles and Zoilo Versalles brought the Twins to their first World Series.

Now we masquerade SS with all the shifts but still we look at Lindor and Correa and other great gloves with great arms as prototype shortstops. Notice how many professional athletes began as Shortstops - that includes Sano. Because the best athlete was the SS. On a site called Dick's Pro Tips the little league teams are given this advise - "Arguably, this should be one of your best defensive players. The shortstop should show great range and the ability to field sharply hit baseballs. Choose someone who has an above-average arm, as many of their throws will be a great distance."

Some might argue catcher and they get a lot of points, but they do not have to move as fast and as many directions, catch hops, drives, popups, and bad hops. Nor do they turn DPs.
Think about what happens when a shortstop blows a catch, misses on a DP, or drops a pop up. We can put big oafs that hit Homeruns at 1B and even 3B, but not at SS. We can put good gloves with limited range at 2B (hate to say that since I played 2B), but at SS we want quickness, range, and arm. It is a position that demands a lot and is involved in a lot.

I bring that up because Polanco is really disappointing this year. I do not have a stat that tells me how much offense is needed to offset bad defense. He has now reached 50 Errors at SS, not counting other positions, in 3 years. Too many. His fielding percentage, his errors, and his defensive WAR are all near the bottom. If the Twins are going to move up in the standings, we have to move up in the quality of each position and Jorge is not cutting it right now. Do we have hope that will change?

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Winston Smith
Sep 03 2018 09:37 PM


@AaronGleeman
Aug 31

Jorge Polanco has started 176 games at shortstop since the beginning of last season and @BaseballPro rates him as -14 runs. And that was before tonight.

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He's a big plus in the lineup; hopefully better and needed at second?
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LA VIkes Fan
Sep 04 2018 08:13 AM

This echos another thread.We will be needing a 2B for next year since Forsythe is an average journeyman and Gordon isn't nearly ready. Maybe the play is to get a good glove SS, maybe Iglesias from Detroit (FA), and move Polanco to 2B.He's a good bat for a middle infielder but just doesn't look like he has the chops to play SS.

 

The problem with this approach is that we would not have an easy place for Escobar if we could get him to come back. He could be part of a 1B/3B/DH grouping with Sano, Mauer and Austin but then one of those 4 sits every day and that

makes it tough even with Mauer only playing 110 games a year. Easier if Mauer retires. 

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Cory Engelhardt
Sep 04 2018 01:41 PM

I like this thought. Sign Iglesias and move Polanco to 2B. That fixes two positions up the middle as I think Polanco is a better 2nd baseman than anyone else currently on the free agent market. And then because Igelsias is so good defensively, it would help Sano as well IF Sano is still going to be the main 3rd baseman.

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This is what happens when yourj manager tries to make square pegs fit round holes. I never considered Polanco a MLB SS, but I do consider him a MLB hitter. To paraphrase a different post in another thread, 'you cannot have a competitive MLB team with Jorge Polanco as your SS'!
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@AaronGleeman
Aug 31
Jorge Polanco has started 176 games at shortstop since the beginning of last season and @BaseballPro rates him as -14 runs. And that was before tonight.


I feel this post has to be addressed.

As an athlete, as a potential offensive player, I am a huge proponent for Polanco. I am being honest and outgoing by stating this, even showing a certain degree of optimism and prejudice.

Except for a few guys...and I have spent the time to look up the numbers...most high quality, All Star, Gold Glove winners even, (Though I know there are debates about those awards), many ML SS experienced rather high error totals in their milb career. (Same for many 2B and 3B, FWIW). Most grew in to the job.

I hate to re-hash the past, but Polanco was signed as a glove first SS who you hoped would hit. Well, he learned to hit, and I don't believe we've seen his potential yet. He was bounced up and down in his service time early on with limited appearances at the ML, taken off AS for whatever reason(s) and then placed as the ever day SS. 176 games is only a bit over a full season at SS in the ML as a full time player. (After being practically pulled off the position in milb). I've absolutely seen him botch some plays. I've also seen range and ability that show me he can absolutely play the position with more time and experience.

Long term, I believe that the even more talented and athletic Lewis will push Polanco to 2B...eventually. Barring a trade or FA signing, IMO, Polanco is a solid SS with the potential to be pretty good with a little more time and experience.

I am so frustrated that our collection of 24-26yo players like Polanco, Sano, Buxton and Kepler aren't already ML studs and All Stars and budding All Stars. And then I review their potential, and the flashes they have shown, and I get frustrated that we are frustrated that that they aren't what we want them to be YET.
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I feel this post has to be addressed. As an athlete, as a potential offensive player, I am a huge proponent for Polanco. I am being honest and outgoing by stating this, even showing a certain degree of optimism and prejudice. Except for a few guys...and I have spent the time to look up the numbers...most high quality, All Star, Gold Glove winners even, (Though I know there are debates about those awards), many ML SS experienced rather high error totals in their milb career. (Same for many 2B and 3B, FWIW). Most grew in to the job. I hate to re-hash the past, but Polanco was signed as a glove first SS who you hoped would hit. Well, he learned to hit, and I don't believe we've seen his potential yet. He was bounced up and down in his service time early on with limited appearances at the ML, taken off AS for whatever reason(s) and then placed as the ever day SS. 176 games is only a bit over a full season at SS in the ML as a full time player. (After being practically pulled off the position in milb). I've absolutely seen him botch some plays. I've also seen range and ability that show me he can absolutely play the position with more time and experience. Long term, I believe that the even more talented and athletic Lewis will push Polanco to 2B...eventually. Barring a trade or FA signing, IMO, Polanco is a solid SS with the potential to be pretty good with a little more time and experience. I am so frustrated that our collection of 24-26yo players like Polanco, Sano, Buxton and Kepler aren't already ML studs and All Stars and budding All Stars. And then I review their potential, and the flashes they have shown, and I get frustrated that we are frustrated that that they aren't what we want them to be YET.

I believe the frustration comes as we watch other teams bring up even younger players - St Louis, Nationals, Yankees, Braves are great examples this year and their players, even younger than ours come in and play well, sometimes exceedingly well.So we have a right to expect players in their 25 - 26 year old years with 2 - 3 years of MLB experience to begin to shine.  

 

Polanco has digressed in the field as far as my eyes go.I think I will write a blog about my 2B thoughts too.The infield is a mess and that cannot take us to the championships we all crave.

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tarheeltwinsfan
Sep 06 2018 06:49 AM

Last season 3good fielding outfielders helped our pitchers greatly. The same would be true of 4good fielding infielders. I think too much emphasis is placed on offensive statisticsin these posts because offensive stats are more available and easier to quantify. I would like to see a ranking of the best fielding Twins, major and minor leaguers, according to fielding ability. To heck with these "sluggers" who strike out so much. I'm sick of it.

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I like the idea of Jose Iglesias playing SS on a 1-year deal.That would move Polanco to 2B or better yet the bench.

It will be Polanco as a place holder in 2019. Middle infield is arguably the strongest position in the minors. But with Gordon added to the list of minor league studs, major league duds, the middle infielders of the future are all in A ball. So, yes, it is with great disappointment that I announce the 2019 opening day defense for our Twins: Sano, Polanco, 30-something mediocre late-signing FA, Austin. And an outfield of Rosario, Buxton and Cave. Sigh.
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ChrisKnutson
Sep 06 2018 05:44 PM
I know Gordon had a down year, and Lewis might not stick at SS, but if things still go according to plan, what’s gonna happen to Polanco???

Polanco is a place setter.

 

Polanco would probably play better at second base.

 

But right now that leaves us with Adrianza at shortstop and nothing special at all with the bat or the base paths in the middle infield.

 

Nick Gordon NEEDED a look this September, just so the major league coaches could evaluate him, just so we could see his hands and movement in the field. He may not be ready, but you could learn if he would be ready at some time in 2019, rather than not.

 

Wander Javier is the dark horse. He is now a season behind Royce Lewis, who will play at AA...and (hey, remember Nick Gordon)...a player can advance from AA to the major leagues due to their stats in the southern league. Players do it all the time, right?

 

The question is: rebuilding team, which means you can give raw rookies a chance early. Or do you continue to fill holes with placesetters who...place set.