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Twins Infield Projections for 2018

Posted by Andrew Thares , 31 March 2018 · 692 views

rounding third projections
The Twins infield depth took a real hit when it was announced that Jorge Polanco would have to serve an 80-game suspension for testing positive for PEDs. As it stands, every Twins infielder on the Twins 40-man roster is also on the 25-man roster.

Again, for these projections I used PECOTA (via Baseball Prospectus), along with ZiPS and Steamer (via Fangraphs) to group with with my personal projections for each player in the Twins infield.

Jason Castro, C

Jason Castro 2018 Projections

It’s hard to find a player that has been more consistent than Jason Castro has been over the last four seasons. In each of those seasons Castro has played between 104 and 126 games, hit between 10 and 14 home runs, scored between 38 and 49 runs, had wRC+ between 80 and 93, provided above average defense at catcher, and collected an fWAR between 1.2 and 1.6. This probably explains why the projects for Castro are nearly identical across the board.

Mitch Garver, C

Mitch Garver 2018 Projections

Mitch Garver had a breakout season in AAA last year and was voted as the Twins 2017 Minor League Hitter of the Year by the Twins Daily staff. Garver has the bat to be a lot more of an offensive weapon than most backup catchers around the league. Garver also provides a quality right-handed bat for the lineup, which sets him up well to work in a platoon with the left-handed hitting Castro.

Ehrie Adrianza, INF

Ehrie Adrianza 2018 Projections

Before the Polanco suspension, Ehrie Adrianza’s role with the Twins in 2018 was going to be much if the same as it was last year. However, Adrianza will now need to take on a bigger role in the lineup as he will most likely split some time with Eduardo Escobar at short. Given that Adrianza is the better fielder of the two, I would expect to see him in the lineup whenever Kyle Gibson is on the hill to provide a little better infield defense for the groundball pitcher.

Brian Dozier, 2B

Brian Dozier 2018 Projections

Brian Dozier has stepped up in a big way for the Twins over the last few seasons, earning MVP votes in each of the last three. The projection systems are being a little cautious for Dozier this season, and I am as well. For me, the biggest reason is it is difficult to project a player to have better than a 4.0 fWAR season (which is still a really good year) unless they are one of the top 10-20 players in the game. Let’s hope we are all wrong and Dozier blows these projections out of the water.

Eduardo Escobar, SS

Eduardo Escobar 2018 Projections

At the end of 2017, Eduardo Escobar was thrust into the role of full-time third baseman after Miguel Sano went down with an injury, and did he ever take advantage of it. From August 20th on (the day after the Sano injury) Escobar hit 10 home runs and had an OPS of .826. The Twins are hoping Escobar can step up again this year and fill their hole at short.

Joe Mauer, 1B/DH

Joe Mauer 2018 Projections

After years of struggling with symptoms from a concussion that forced him out from behind the plate, Joe Mauer finally seemed like his old self again last year. If Joe wants to continue his career in Minnesota beyond 2018, he will need another season like that this year. Joe’s improvements defensively at first have been well noted and will make him the primary option to play there over Logan Morrison throughout the season.

Logan Morrison, 1B/DH

Logan Morrison 2018 Projections

Entering the offseason, Logan Morrison wasn’t anywhere on the Twins radar. However, with the unusual free agency, Morrison’s value plummeted to a point where Derek Falvey and Thad Levine just couldn’t pass him up. In 2017, Morrison tallied 38 home runs, after never hitting more than 23 in any season in his career. While the projection systems rely mostly on numbers that would suggest he should regress this season, I see a player who made a change in his swing that caused the spike in his home run output. This is why I believe that he can repeat that performance again this season.

Miguel Sano, 3B

Miguel Sano 2018 Projections

Miguel Sano will avoid a suspension to begin the season after assault allegations were made against him this winter. On the field, the Twins are showing faith in Sano’s ability to stay at third, at least in the short term. Offensively, there is no question about Sano’s power, but questions do remain about his ability to stay healthy, and if his supporting numbers were propped up on his .375 BABIP last season.

Jorge Polanco, SS

Jorge Polanco 2018 Projections

Jorge Polanco broke out of his shell over the last two months of 2017, which is what makes his 80-game suspension to start the season all the more disheartening. Polanco is set to come off of his suspension on June 30th, which will be in the middle of a three-game set against the Cubs at Wrigley Field. Only time will tell if Polanco’s hot stretch was truly a break-out, or if it was more of a product of a small sample size.

  • BoofBonser likes this

It is my hope that they will step up to the future and bring up Gordon so we have a real SS in the lineup.