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

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#41 Dantes929

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Posted 11 October 2018 - 03:29 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.

 

 

Not to mention other 1B also had scoops.....that ability is in the defensive rankings, and there just isn't that much difference between 1B at the MLB level. These guys have been fielding grounders since they were 7 ......or 5.

Just not buying it mainly by the eye ball test.Last year when Ortiz and Sano were playing in place of Mauer when I watched there would be at least one play that they messed up that I mentally said Mauer gets that one.Not all scoops are created equal and Mauer would make some while I watched that I thought "Most Sano, or Ortiz or Austen miss that most of the time"The stats say Mauer scoops one every 4 games.Hard to believe but I accept your facts.Of course once in every 4 games sounds like more than 20 time in 753 innings.Yes, other 1st basemen have scoops but do the stats track the ones that aren't caught?It is said one hit every two weeks is what separates an average hitter from an all star and my eyes still tell me Mauer caught one ball every two weeks that Sano would not.Every one has played ball since young age and hitters have unique athletic ability but Rod Carew was a great hitter and mediocre fielder and I could probably cite hundreds of examples of athletic skills not translating.I'm sure Sano was fielding fly balls since a young age also but it didn't make him an outfielder. Doesn't mean he can't get better though.Morneau was good but not great.Still did that hockey thing where he made the big wave at the ball on scoops. Looks flashy as heck and he was good at it but balls still got by him every once in a while.Good but not great.If Mauer is gone next year I think you will notice the difference. Might be only once in 10 or twenty games but games hinge on that kind of thing.

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#42 TFRazor

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Posted 11 October 2018 - 03:49 PM

 

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.

I quite honestly can't tell what you're trying to say. Care to elucidate?


#43 Thrylos

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Posted 11 October 2018 - 05:21 PM

 

 

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?

 

 

 

Sign Escobar for 2-3 years and pencil him in as the starting second baseman and take it from there.If and when one of the prospects is ready, Escobar returns to his super utility role.

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#44 dbminn

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Posted 11 October 2018 - 06:18 PM

 

Sign Escobar for 2-3 years and pencil him in as the starting second baseman and take it from there.If and when one of the prospects is ready, Escobar returns to his super utility role.

 

Too easy!!! :)

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#45 stringer bell

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Posted 11 October 2018 - 07:42 PM

I am with Chief on this discussion. Shortstop remains very important and even though less balls are put in play, it is crucial to turn outs into outs. Polanco is a very nice offensive player for a middle infielder, but he cost too many outs with his defense last year. 

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#46 Platoon

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Posted 12 October 2018 - 06:13 AM

Below are Manny Machado's numbers, in an inconvenient format. These seem the numbers you could suffer subpar defense for. While I have always liked Polanco as a hitter, I have never liked him as a defensive player. It's not just th lack of range, and the insufficient arm for the position, it's a generally inability to handle the ball on throws and tags. Sadly I must admit that will follow him to second base. The Twins IF has the potential to be a mess next year. If you would put in place the current pieces you would end up with Sano, Polanco, Forstyhe and Austin. Every one a subpar defender. Toss in (fill in the blank) behind the plate and it will look like an A ball IF. I agree with the above poster: I don't want to see the game filled with 8 guys dragging their bat out to their field in position! If that's the case, I might as well head to the local park to watch slow pitch! :(

SUMMARY
2018
Career
WAR
5.7
33.8
AB
632
3720
R
84
522
H
188
1050
BA
.297
.282
HR
37
175
RBI
107
513
SB
14
53
OBP
.367
.335
SLG
.538
.487
OPS
.905
.822
OPS+
146
121
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#47 RatherBeGolfing

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Posted 12 October 2018 - 06:45 AM

If they miss out on a SS this offseason, then yeah you could go back to Polanco being there next year but there is absolutely no reason they shouldn't be pursuing and looking into other options there.

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#48 birdwatcher

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Posted 12 October 2018 - 07:23 AM

 

Sign Escobar for 2-3 years and pencil him in as the starting second baseman and take it from there.If and when one of the prospects is ready, Escobar returns to his super utility role.

 

I'm all for meeting Escobar's agent's demands and convincing him to return, but I've been thinking of him as a back-up plan for Sano as a first priority and as a guy who plays more often than not by spelling Iglesias or whomever at SS. Polanco at 2B, and Sano on his DH days or when he (oops, IF) he gets hurt. 

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#49 RichReese

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Posted 12 October 2018 - 07:36 AM

It only works if there is a guy on the other end that catches balls in the dirt routinely. Hrbek, Mauer and mr. alphabet have been the only Twins that have done that.

 

 

Hey.

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#50 nicksaviking

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Posted 12 October 2018 - 07:56 AM

I don't want a no-bat SS tied up for four years or so. I'm OK improving the infield defense if it's a guy that will be gone or moved once a better option emerges though. Iglesias and Galvis probably have enough bat to be a stop-gap regular but if it's more than two years I'd pass. Otherwise maybe I go for a Hecheverria, Jordy Mercer or Alcides Escobar and stick them at SS regularly when groundball pitchers like Gibson or Stewart start but if a flyball pitcher is on the mound like Berrios I go with the defensive downgrade to get the better bat in the lineup.

 

I'd also be interested in a trade. If the Yankees do chase Machado they're going to have too many infielders. Do they move Gregorious? 

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#51 Dantes929

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Posted 12 October 2018 - 08:04 AM

 

It only works if there is a guy on the other end that catches balls in the dirt routinely. Hrbek, Mauer and mr. alphabet have been the only Twins that have done that.

 

 

Hey.

Hah! No disrespect. Before my time.Not even saying others are bad but when a shortstop or 3lb threw one in the dirt to Sano or Vargas I was hoping he would scoop it. With Mauer I expected it.The error goes to the guy throwing it. If I am Polanco, I am hoping Mauer doesn't retire.

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#52 JLease

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Posted 12 October 2018 - 08:41 AM

 

Just not buying it mainly by the eye ball test.Last year when Ortiz and Sano were playing in place of Mauer when I watched there would be at least one play that they messed up that I mentally said Mauer gets that one.Not all scoops are created equal and Mauer would make some while I watched that I thought "Most Sano, or Ortiz or Austen miss that most of the time"The stats say Mauer scoops one every 4 games.Hard to believe but I accept your facts.Of course once in every 4 games sounds like more than 20 time in 753 innings.Yes, other 1st basemen have scoops but do the stats track the ones that aren't caught?It is said one hit every two weeks is what separates an average hitter from an all star and my eyes still tell me Mauer caught one ball every two weeks that Sano would not.Every one has played ball since young age and hitters have unique athletic ability but Rod Carew was a great hitter and mediocre fielder and I could probably cite hundreds of examples of athletic skills not translating.I'm sure Sano was fielding fly balls since a young age also but it didn't make him an outfielder. Doesn't mean he can't get better though.Morneau was good but not great.Still did that hockey thing where he made the big wave at the ball on scoops. Looks flashy as heck and he was good at it but balls still got by him every once in a while.Good but not great.If Mauer is gone next year I think you will notice the difference. Might be only once in 10 or twenty games but games hinge on that kind of thing.

 

I think what you see from the statistical analysis is that 1B scoops are an activity that's memorable, not frequent. They're valuable, because they erase a baserunner and frequently save at least 1 base (and can often save more than that), but because of the frequency of the occurrence, it's not as impactful a skill over the course of a season.

 

It sticks out in people's minds because it's a cool play, because it looks impressive (and is!), and it often results in spinning what could be a disaster error into an out, so we remember it. But is it worth trading 5-10 scoops for 15 hrs? It is. There's a reason modern defensive metric have the position adjustments they doing when calculating things like WAR: certain positions just aren't as impactful as others.

 

I love having a 1B who can clean up the poor throws. And there might be a secondary effect that we're not able to quantify (yet) when players who have less reliable arms are throwing to a guy who they know is skilled and handling anything that comes at him...but it's hard to say it's significant.

 

Bottom line: I think we can live defensively with Polanco at SS. Which means we have flexibility in filling in the hole in the middle INF. Get the best player we can at either SS or 2B and feel ok with Polanco manning the other spot. I'm betting it'll be easier to fill 2B with a more impactful player, so I'm ok with keeping Polanco at SS.

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#53 Doomtints

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Posted 12 October 2018 - 09:15 AM

In the past 1.5 seasons Polanco has 31 errors at SS. He had 35 errors in one year in the minors, 28 errors in another. Before this year I thought he could get better at SS. He can't. You just don't want him out there late in a close game, and that sucks because you also need his bat.

 

His error rate at 2B in the minors is just as bad. We keep throwing 2B out there as an option (probably because a few scouts have thrown it out there as an option), but it's not a solution. He sucks at throwing the ball, period.

 

At SS, he's next to Sano who also has a high error rate. That's a big hole.

 

At 2B, he creates a hole where you definitely don't want a hole.

 

If we are concerned about keeping Polanco's bat in the lineup -- which seems to be the concern in this article -- trade Kepler and move Polanco to the outfield. The problem there is you are trading Kepler's power for an overall better bat but with less power. That's fine, the Twins are sure to have some power over the next few years.

 

Let's face it, Polanco profiles closer to Denard Span than he does Derek Jeter.

Edited by Doomtints, 12 October 2018 - 09:25 AM.

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#54 Mike Sixel

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Posted 12 October 2018 - 09:34 AM

 

In the past 1.5 seasons Polanco has 31 errors at SS. He had 35 errors in one year in the minors, 28 errors in another. Before this year I thought he could get better at SS. He can't. You just don't want him out there late in a close game, and that sucks because you also need his bat.

 

His error rate at 2B in the minors is just as bad. We keep throwing 2B out there as an option (probably because a few scouts have thrown it out there as an option), but it's not a solution. He sucks at throwing the ball, period.

 

At SS, he's next to Sano who also has a high error rate. That's a big hole.

 

At 2B, he creates a hole where you definitely don't want a hole.

 

If we are concerned about keeping Polanco's bat in the lineup -- which seems to be the concern in this article -- trade Kepler and move Polanco to the outfield. The problem there is you are trading Kepler's power for an overall better bat but with less power. That's fine, the Twins are sure to have some power over the next few years.

 

Let's face it, Polanco profiles closer to Denard Span than he does Derek Jeter.

 

I too was wondering about this idea. I actually have more confidence in Polanco to hit than Rosario.....maybe some team LOVES Eddie more than Max?

There's always next year, or the next, or maybe by the time I'm Chief's age, I guess....


#55 TheLeviathan

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Posted 12 October 2018 - 10:01 AM

Moving Polanco's bat to the corner OF reduces a lot of my interest in keeping him.I don't see how the Twins get better in that scenario.

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#56 bobs

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Posted 12 October 2018 - 10:15 AM

People have been saying for a few years he may be better suited for 2B.What are we waiting for??I'd rather see them bring in an Iglesias to play SS and move Polanco to 2B than leave him at SS and have a Forsythe-type playing 2B.


#57 Mike Sixel

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Posted 12 October 2018 - 10:23 AM

 

Moving Polanco's bat to the corner OF reduces a lot of my interest in keeping him.I don't see how the Twins get better in that scenario.

 

Other than being a better hitter than Kepler, and maybe Rosario......you don't see how they might be better that way? 

There's always next year, or the next, or maybe by the time I'm Chief's age, I guess....


#58 TheLeviathan

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Posted 12 October 2018 - 10:28 AM

 

Other than being a better hitter than Kepler, and maybe Rosario......you don't see how they might be better that way? 

 

I'm not sure he'll be an equal defensively and he's not a better hitter than Rosario.Plus...now you have two infield spots open.

 

And those are harder to fill.

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#59 USAFChief

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Posted 12 October 2018 - 10:29 AM

 

Other than being a better hitter than Kepler, and maybe Rosario......you don't see how they might be better that way? 

Polanco's bat plays in the middle infield. I have zero interest in moving it to a corner OF slot.

 

If they're going to replace Kepler, find the .900+ OPS bat they need, not a .750 guy learning the position.

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#60 Carole Keller

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Posted 12 October 2018 - 10:58 AM

 

I'm all for meeting Escobar's agent's demands and convincing him to return, but I've been thinking of him as a back-up plan for Sano as a first priority and as a guy who plays more often than not by spelling Iglesias or whomever at SS. Polanco at 2B, and Sano on his DH days or when he (oops, IF) he gets hurt. 

Exactly. Esco back on the team would be great in that role and he'd get a good amount of playing time all over the IF, probably more than a traditional back-up/utility.

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