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Is Jorge Polanco Breaking Out?

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#1 John Bonnes

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Posted 11 April 2019 - 11:10 AM

As a 23-year-old, Jorge Polanco finished 2017 with a 723 OPS (.256/.313/.410), but that includes a MONSTER August (1099 OPS) and very good September (768 OPS). It looked like he was ready for the next step....

 

... but then came the half-year suspension. He still posted a very good (for a SS) 773 OPS (.288/.345/.427) over the last 80 games. But that suspension also made us wonder just how much of that August 2017 power was legit.

 

It looks legit today. So far this year, in 44 plate appearances, he's hitting .375, with a .432 OBP and a ... .750(!) SLG. That's a 1182 OPS. Obviously, that's not sustainable, but how high can we hope for? 

 

A - .270/.330/.420 (750 OPS)

B - .290/.350/.440 (790 OPS)

C - .310/.370/.460 (830 OPS)

D - .310/.370/.490 (860 OPS)

 

He is still just 25, which is when power often develops. His defense (particularly throwing) seems to be better since he started throwing sidearm, and that might be helping him at the plate, too. Just how much offense can we hope for?

 

Polanco's Baseball Reference Page

 

 

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#2 Dman

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Posted 11 April 2019 - 11:22 AM

His BABIP is .410 right now I believe so he going to regress to the mean there.His K rate has been around 15% for his career and never really wavered much so I don't see him being worse than option A and I think Option B is close to where he ends up.With some nice BABIP luck he could hit your option C number.

Edited by Dman, 11 April 2019 - 11:22 AM.

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#3 DocBauer

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Posted 11 April 2019 - 04:01 PM

Keeping it simple, hes at least a "B" and "C", or somewhere between the 2 is easily obtainable.

I'm still not convinced he will ever develop in to a legitimate 20HR threat, but mid teens should be there, IMO. Toss in 30+ doubles and some triples with being a quality hitter and OB guy, I think he is legitimate.

One thing you can't teach is clutch. He seems to be one of those guys who thrives in big moments.

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#4 Mike Sixel

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Posted 11 April 2019 - 04:09 PM

Only 32 players hit .290 or above last year.....something to consider when looking at BA......so, I'm going A.

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It's IL now, btw, not DL.....


#5 LA VIkes Fan

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Posted 11 April 2019 - 04:10 PM

I would go with B, or between A and B with the B slugging % - .280/.340/.440(.780). Can also see him sustaining that production year to year. C and D look like a stretch but possibilities. I agree with DocBauer. I know you can't quantify "clutchness", but it sure seems like he has it. 

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#6 strumdatjaguar

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Posted 11 April 2019 - 04:15 PM

The only question is whether Polanco will land eventually at 2B when Javier or Lewis comes up. Or maybe traded (bad idea). Don't forget that Schoop is still young and Nick Gordon might actually play and improve over the next year.The Twins have a bevy of middle infield talent and it will be interesting to see it pan out over the next two years.

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#7 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 11 April 2019 - 04:17 PM

 

His BABIP is .410 right now I believe so he going to regress to the mean there.His K rate has been around 15% for his career and never really wavered much so I don't see him being worse than option A and I think Option B is close to where he ends up.With some nice BABIP luck he could hit your option C number.

 

Regressing to the mean would put the BA/OBP around .270/.330 (which is point A that John suggested)… The question to me is whether the power surge is legit. He's certainly teased us before, and a cycle might be inflating those numbers a bit given the shortage of at bats, but I wouldn't be surprised if he could keep his SLG over .500... which would be a breakout.

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#8 gman

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Posted 11 April 2019 - 04:26 PM

I'll go with option C. I think he'll benefit greatly this year hitting mostly in the 2 hole in front of Cruz. Sometimesa great year is determined by who is around you.

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#9 yarnivek1972

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Posted 11 April 2019 - 07:08 PM

I'll go with option C. I think he'll benefit greatly this year hitting mostly in the 2 hole in front of Cruz. Sometimes a great year is determined by who is around you.


I think back to Rich Becker hitting in between Knoblauch at his peak and Molitor at his second wind height.

#10 Dman

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Posted 11 April 2019 - 09:09 PM

Regressing to the mean would put the BA/OBP around .270/.330 (which is point A that John suggested)… The question to me is whether the power surge is legit. He's certainly teased us before, and a cycle might be inflating those numbers a bit given the shortage of at bats, but I wouldn't be surprised if he could keep his SLG over .500... which would be a breakout.


I think he will do slightly better than average BABIP so I think option His in play for him this year. It is a long season and an injury could impact his numbers but he is such a good hitter I can see him beating the average. Option A is the low bar he might do something in between A and B. I guess we will find out at the end of the year but he is off to a good start and that helps.
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#11 DocBauer

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Posted 11 April 2019 - 10:51 PM

The only question is whether Polanco will land eventually at 2B when Javier or Lewis comes up. Or maybe traded (bad idea). Don't forget that Schoop is still young and Nick Gordon might actually play and improve over the next year.The Twins have a bevy of middle infield talent and it will be interesting to see it pan out over the next two years.


Just being realistic, no matter how talented and no matter potential, Lewis should be projected to 2020 or 2021 for full time duty. In this day and age, we become obsessed for the next Griffey, Rodriguez, Trout, Harper, etc. When reality sets in, we realize how good a player may be as a teenager or 20yo vs projecting them to All Star or HOF status. Kind of ridiculous really.

How the lineup makes sense a year or two from now doesn't matter at this point. Polanco will probably move to 2B for Lewis. Javier could move to 3B, or move Lewis there. Schoop could be re-signed for the next few years and I'd have no problem with that.

But this is about Polanco. No question this kid has had to deal with a lot of crap. He was bounced between positions. He lost valuable options that may have helped the the Twins and his own progress, offensively and defensively. Then he lost his grandfather. Then he had his suspension the first half of 2018.

I have followed this kid from the day he was signed. I have seen him bumped to the 3 hole in the minors because he was the best clutch bat on his team. I have seen Molitor recognize what he could do and also place him in that same spot. Again, I don't knkw how much power potential is there, but I feel he could fit in almost anywhere in the lineup you need him, other than cleanup.

Is he truly "breaking through"? That's semantics. We have already seen what he can do in the latter part of 2017 and 2018. This is him maturing, of course, but showing what he can do with a full season ahead of him.
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#12 LA VIkes Fan

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Posted 12 April 2019 - 08:19 AM

I'm becoming a big fan of Polanco. I think signing him long term actually helps too because he can now just relax and play (same for Kepler). There was a very interesting article in last Sunday's LA Times about young players signing what seem to be below market long term extensions and how some of those playersthat has helped them develop into the stars they became by taking a divisive issue out of their mind and allowing them to only concentrate on playing. The guy they quoted was Evan Longoria who talked about how he believed that his long term contract as a young player was a great benefit because he felt more secure, relaxed and it made it easier to concentrate. He said he would definitely do the same thing again even though the contract turned out to be way below the market price of his production during the contract. They then quoted Scott Boras about how he felt teams were squeezing young players. I don't want to get into that debate here, but it was very interesting.  

 

My point is that these long term contracts may be one reason why Polanco and Kepler are playing better. They have peace of mind and concentrate only on baseball. Food for thought. 

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#13 killertwinfan

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Posted 12 April 2019 - 08:33 AM

We are seeing a breakout and I think he can sustain the "C" level of performance. Some might say that maturity means that that wisdom takes over for youthful passion. For MLB players maturity means understanding how long PED's stay in your system, what role diuretics can play so when the drug tests are administered you are clean.Yes, I am jaded.


#14 Doomtints

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Posted 12 April 2019 - 11:39 AM

No one who seriously follows baseball ever thought that Polanco's peak years would not be pretty darn good. The question was how many peak years would he have. It could be one, it could be six. This is why Polanco has been hard to figure out.

 

Yes Polanco can have a .900+ ops in his peak year(s). I expect nothing less.

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#15 Brandon

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Posted 12 April 2019 - 12:05 PM

I'm gonna go B on Average

between B and C in on base percentage and 

between C and D in power.

 

I see Polanco developing into a .280-.300 hitter with 30-40 2Bs, 5-10 3Bs, and around 15-20 HRs and 10-15 Stolen Bases.  

 

That 2009 international signing period really has impacted this team.Sano, Polanco, and Kepler.  

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#16 Riverbrian

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Posted 12 April 2019 - 01:42 PM

I think Polanco started breaking out last year and so far it's continuing. So... I think he has broken out and arrived to stay. 

 

I'll go with C to control my enthusiasm

 

I believe he will be an early round fantasy baseball draft pick for all leagues starting next year. 

 

I'm sold. 

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#17 ashbury

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Posted 12 April 2019 - 01:52 PM

No one who seriously follows baseball ever thought that Polanco's peak years would not be pretty darn good.

That is a really broad statement. I can think of people whose opinions I respect who had real doubts about Polanco being good in the majors.

 

The question was how many peak years would he have. It could be one, it could be six. This is why Polanco has been hard to figure out.
 
Yes Polanco can have a .900+ ops in his peak year(s). I expect nothing less.

.900 is a high bar. Your remark made me double check - no Twin with enough PA to qualify for a batting title has done it since 2009. Oof, we lament our pitching but what an uninspiring stretch we've been through with the bats too. I hope Polanco leads the way toward being an interesting team.

 

Oh, and I'll go with D in the poll. I've always liked his potential.

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#18 Mr. Brooks

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Posted 12 April 2019 - 02:37 PM

Polanco would have been the #1 prospect in all of baseball if nothing less than a .900 OPS, even once in his prime, was expected.
How many SS's do that?

EDIT: Derek Jeter did it twice in 20 years, in a more offensive era, playing half his games in Yankee Stadium. And one of those two was exactly .900.

Edited by Mr. Brooks, 12 April 2019 - 02:39 PM.

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#19 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 12 April 2019 - 06:47 PM

Polanco would have been the #1 prospect in all of baseball if nothing less than a .900 OPS, even once in his prime, was expected.
How many SS's do that?

EDIT: Derek Jeter did it twice in 20 years, in a more offensive era, playing half his games in Yankee Stadium. And one of those two was exactly .900.

Correa did it once in an abbreviated season. Lindor has done it zero times.

So, yeah.

#20 DocBauer

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Posted 12 April 2019 - 09:52 PM

Final statement...probably.

This kid is talented, athletic, and real. He's not a bad SS, but will probably be even better at 2B. Gold Glove? Not going to go there. Do you all realize he's still only 25 until July? Seems he's been around forever, but he hasn't.

We could include Kepler when we talk about "thank you" extensions. Unless you haven't paid attentions, this kid is for real. I'm not saying .900 OPS, that's actually crazy. But consistent high .700 and .800-ish? Absolutely!

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