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Article: Offseason Primer: Twins Should Stick With Jorge Polanco at Shortstop

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#21 Mike Sixel

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Posted 11 October 2018 - 09:43 AM

 

I personally don’t believe Gordon will ever be a better hitter than Polanco already is. Polanco was hitting MLB pitching decently at age 22. Gordon has not yet proven he can hit AAA pitching.

 

Probably not....but that's not the point. The question is how best to use those two players. Maybe trading one is the answer, maybe playing them both is the answer......I don't know. But if you think Gordon is destined for 2B, maybe you try Polanco at SS another year. 

I remain hopeful on Buxton and Sano.....but I'd not bet the franchise on them.


#22 birdwatcher

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Posted 11 October 2018 - 09:57 AM

 

I'd keep playing Polanco at SS as much as possible.The Twins' second baseman of the future seems to be Luis Arraez who is defensively limited at second base, and the future might be 2019... 

 

The Twins would be ill-advised to count on a banjo hitter like Arraez at any time, let alone some time in 2019. Even if he DOES amount to something, I don't see the logic of keeping Polanco at SS so as not to block Arraez at some future time. And frankly, one could make the argument that Blankenhorn, Gordon, and Severino are ultimately more likely to be successful MLB 2nd basemen than Arraez, and maybe on an equal or faster timetable. That would be my own bet.

 

The question to me is this: since you know you need an external option to start 2019 at one or the other position, which makes more sense? Do you try to sign Iglesias and move Polanco? Do you sign Jed Lowrie or someone and keep Polanco at SS?

 

I think it's foolish to think a whole lot about the timetables for Gordon, Lewis, Arraez, or anyone else in the system. We have a problem that needs an April solution, not a September one. 

 

I vote to find a SS, via trade most likely, to man the position for maybe two years. Trade the guy if Lewis, Javier, or someone else nudges them aside. And if Arraez or Gordon are ready for the show at 2B, make some calls and see who's interested in them, or in Polanco.

Edited by birdwatcher, 11 October 2018 - 10:11 AM.

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#23 Badsmerf

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Posted 11 October 2018 - 10:01 AM

Sign Manny, move Jorge to 2nd and move Manny when Lewis is ready. Best infield in the league for 5+ years.
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#24 yarnivek1972

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Posted 11 October 2018 - 10:07 AM

Probably not....but that's not the point. The question is how best to use those two players. Maybe trading one is the answer, maybe playing them both is the answer......I don't know. But if you think Gordon is destined for 2B, maybe you try Polanco at SS another year.


I wouldn’t know which is the better shortstop. Presumably, someone working for the Twins does.

#25 ashburyjohn

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Posted 11 October 2018 - 10:29 AM

The Twins would be ill-advised to count on a banjo hitter like Arraez at any time

You don't compile an OPS above .750 simply by hitting .300. Arraez hits a fair number of doubles, and his so-so speed (scouting ratings, SB) doesn't suggest he's turning a lot of scratch singles into doubles. He doesn't even turn 22 until next April, so don't be surprised if some man-muscles show up and he hits a few more out of the park. (2018 video I just looked at of him suggests he already weighs more than the 155 b-r.com lists him at.)

 

That said, I agree with not basing a 2019 infield deployment on a mere prospect who got a first taste of AA. Polanco has been moved from 2B to SS in the recent past. He could be moved back there again, if 2B looked like the right place for him at the present and then conditions changed.

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#26 Brandon

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Posted 11 October 2018 - 10:43 AM

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I agree that Polanco is fine at SS but it also depends on what are other options are for SS and 2B. This article talks about 2 options a better defensive yet worse hitter in Iglesias and an extremely expensive better hitter in Machado. Between these two options yes Polanco should ve the SS choice and Lowrie would be a good 2B option if he doesnt resign with Oakland. I have't researched the 2B and SS options yet in bith FA and trade....remember we have tons of young player capital and i wouldnt be surprised if we used some to reahape the roster.
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#27 JLease

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Posted 11 October 2018 - 10:54 AM

I'm fine with leaving Polanco at SS. I agree with Tom: I'm not sure the gains we're likely to get on D are worth what we're likely to give up on offense. Of course, you have to look at it holistically: we have to fill a hole in the middle infield this offseason. Where are we more likely to find success and increased overall production?

 

Despite losing Polanco for half a year, Dozier being awful, Sano & Buxton being injured and awful, Morrison adding nothing, and Kepler not improving on offense the twins still finished 6th in the league in scoring, and the top 5 teams in the AL in scoring made the playoffs. Maybe we're better off with the offensive-minded SS?

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#28 jkcarew

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Posted 11 October 2018 - 11:18 AM

The Twins are coming off an stretch of years where they could realistically expect to get 4.5 - 6.5 WAR out of 2nd base.Obviously, we can hope that other spots in the lineup grow and compensate...but, on the other hand, the Jose Iglesias's of the world won't do much to fill those types of gaps.

 

I say you go after the very best offensive middle-infielder you can get...and do with Polanco what you will based on who you get.(Spoiler:if we get Machado, Polanco goes to 2nd)

 

Also not opposed to including Polanco in trade offers (depending on what happens with FA signings...and what we think about Gordon, Lewis, etc., etc.)...I think the league values Polanco.

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#29 Respy

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Posted 11 October 2018 - 11:26 AM

I don't think it's relevant whether he plays at 2B or SS because they need to find the best player they can get at either 2B or SS, and put Polanco at the other position. Deciding first what position Polanco should be at, limits our flexibility.

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#30 TFRazor

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Posted 11 October 2018 - 12:18 PM

A good defensive team has a better chance of stumbling into a run or two in a close game than a good offensive team has of getting 5 or 6 when they're trailing because their defense sucks. It's an over-simplification but ya know sometimes that's all you've got

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#31 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 11 October 2018 - 12:23 PM

If I remember right, Polanco graded out around average last year at SS. So perhaps there's some rust in that 80 game sample size? I don't know. I'm not one to trust defensive metrics anyways, and I know I'm not the only one there. That said, they need someone. Gordon isn't ready, and I think it would be foolish to hand him the reigns next season. So either they get someone on a 2 year deal or go big for one who will remain nameless. 

 

I suppose they could let Escobar start and move him back into that role, though I think at this point I consider signing Escobar into a super utility role and getting someone else that play 2b/ss. 

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#32 LA VIkes Fan

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Posted 11 October 2018 - 12:35 PM

 

Polanco's OPS and wRC+ would still be top 10 as a second basemen.You lose a little bit there, but gain a lot defensively.

 

Basically, he's a premium hitter whether he plays 2B or SS, so better that he plays the position where he can be a plus defensively rather than a minus.

I like this, but who plays SS? Iglesias is a good glove but not much of a hitter and I'm not aware of anyone else out there we could get. Adrianza might be a similar choice since he hit .251 (.680 OPS, 86 OPS+), so a little better bat, little lesser glove. It's going to be hard to carry Buxton and Iglesias in the same batting order, particularly when you add Kepler's below average OF bat. I guess we could pick up a glove first guy but then it's hard to start both Buxton and Kepler. 

 

My other thought would be either: (1) to get a glove first SS like Iglesias, play Rosario and Cave every day in the OF and have Kepler and Buxton as the 3/4 OF guys, or (2) trade for a guy like Starlin Castro to play 2B and then you can play Kepler and Buxton in the OF but you put Cave on the bench when he's a good fielder and a much better hitter so far than either Kepler or Buxton. I would opt for approach #1 - sign Iglesias, move Polanco to 2B, play Cave every day in RF with Buxton in CF and Kepler as 4th OF/LH 1B/LH DH playing 3-4 days a week until he shows he can hit better than he's hit the last 3 years. 

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#33 TheLeviathan

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Posted 11 October 2018 - 01:00 PM

I would target Iglesias or Galvis. The other option is to explore trades. Im just not sure what's out there.
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#34 rdehring

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Posted 11 October 2018 - 01:04 PM

I am gonna look at this a little different, Tom.Polanco played nearly every day at shortstop for 13 weeks, or 3 months.He had 13 errors.I don't know how many more than the average that is.Maybe 3?If so, does his offensive upside offset 1 extra error a month?I would think so, especially considering that not all of those errors will lead to runs.

 

Don't know what the best position for Polanco or the Team is long-term.But I want this kid somewhere in the middle of the lineup for the next 5++ years.And with a normal winter/spring, I suspect he will be better in 2019...with his bat and glove.

 

If one of these kids comes up and is a better shortstop a few years from now, move him to second base then.But I don't see that happening between now and opening day.

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#35 jorgenswest

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Posted 11 October 2018 - 01:07 PM

If I remember right, Polanco graded out around average last year at SS. So perhaps there's some rust in that 80 game sample size? I don't know. I'm not one to trust defensive metrics anyways, and I know I'm not the only one there. That said, they need someone. Gordon isn't ready, and I think it would be foolish to hand him the reigns next season. So either they get someone on a 2 year deal or go big for one who will remain nameless.

I suppose they could let Escobar start and move him back into that role, though I think at this point I consider signing Escobar into a super utility role and getting someone else that play 2b/ss.


On trusting defensive metrics...

Is it just the available measures you do not trust? Do you believe that individual defense has a significant impact on preventing runs?

#36 tarheeltwinsfan

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Posted 11 October 2018 - 02:07 PM

 

By the way, last season Joe Mauer had 20 scoops in 753 2/3 innings played at first base, per FanGraphs. That's basically one scoop per every four games he played there. It's a valuable skill, no doubt, and you'd much rather have a guy at first that can pick it than somebody with stone hands, but I think it's an overvalued skill.

Thanks for this post. After looking at the FanGraphs information, I was surprised at how infrequently a scoop happens at 1B. In view of this info, I agree it is an overvalued skill.

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#37 tarheeltwinsfan

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Posted 11 October 2018 - 02:17 PM

What about Polanco at 3B, and Sano at SS? That would improve the fielding at 3B and improve the hitting at SS. (april fool).

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#38 yarnivek1972

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Posted 11 October 2018 - 02:20 PM

If I remember right, Polanco graded out around average last year at SS. So perhaps there's some rust in that 80 game sample size? I don't know. I'm not one to trust defensive metrics anyways, and I know I'm not the only one there. That said, they need someone. Gordon isn't ready, and I think it would be foolish to hand him the reigns next season. So either they get someone on a 2 year deal or go big for one who will remain nameless.

I suppose they could let Escobar start and move him back into that role, though I think at this point I consider signing Escobar into a super utility role and getting someone else that play 2b/ss.


Out of 33 shortstops with 1000 innings in 2017 and 2018 combined, Polanco’s UZR/150 ranked 32nd. That’s not average.
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#39 Carole Keller

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Posted 11 October 2018 - 02:28 PM

 

Sign Manny, move Jorge to 2nd and move Manny when Lewis is ready. Best infield in the league for 5+ years.

Yes!!! I'm way on board with this!!! :)

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#40 Mike Sixel

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Posted 11 October 2018 - 03:01 PM

 

A good defensive team has a better chance of stumbling into a run or two in a close game than a good offensive team has of getting 5 or 6 when they're trailing because their defense sucks. It's an over-simplification but ya know sometimes that's all you've got

 

One one side, you have to find 1 run, and the other 5? That doesn't seem like a fair comparison.....People don't trust defensive stats, but they put more value on defense than offense. Seems odd to me.

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I remain hopeful on Buxton and Sano.....but I'd not bet the franchise on them.