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  • 2017 Twins Player Predictions: Jorge Polanco


    Seth Stohs

    When people talked about the Minnesota Twins top prospects in recent years, the names Miguel Sano, Byron Buxton, Max Kepler and Jose Berrios. All the while, Jorge Polanco continued to rise and succeed (and often found his name in the bottom quarter of national Top 100 prospect rankings). In fact, he was the first of the group to get to the big leagues when he was promoted to the big leagues from Ft. Myers in 2014.

    That was a cup of coffee, and the same thing happened in 2015. It wasn’t until Eduardo Nunez was traded in July that Polanco came up and was handed the keys to a starting job. After coming through the system playing both shortstop and second base, his struggles at shortstop caused the team to move him to second base last year in spring training. However, his opportunity with the Twins came at shortstop. He struggled, so that will be a big story for Polanco and the Twins in 2017.

    Image courtesy of Seth Stohs, Twins Daily

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    Offensively, Polanco has been very consistent as he’s moved up the organizational ladder. In 132 games in AA, he hit .287/.340/.380 (.719). In 97 AAA games, he hit .278/.329/.433 (.762). So far in 78 big league games, he has hit .284/.340/.429 (.769).

    Polanco is now out of options. The shortstop job is his. Will he run with it? Can he take the next step and put it all together offensively and defensively?

    Below you will find my predictions (or guesses, if you prefer) for Jorge Polanco’s 2017 season. Consider posting your thoughts and your predictions into the comments below. It’s always fun to take a look at the end of the season and see how our predictions look.

    KEY NUMBERS

    (-9.3) - That is Jorge Polanco’s defensive WAR according to FanGraphs. And that was in just 69 total games. His UZR/150 came in at (-32.3). Those are the numbers that Polanco will need to overcome defensively. To expect him to be a plus defender probably isn’t fair. To hope that he can be an adequate, or even average, defender is fair.

    0.857 - That is Polanco’s OPS against left-handed pitchers. Against right-handers, he posted a .718 OPS. He is a natural right-hander, but he’s had many more at bats left-handed in his career. There is more power right-handed.

    PREDICTIONS

    Jorge Polanco: 456 at-bats, .287/.333/.436 (.769), 23 doubles, 6 triples, 11 home runs.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Of the starters shown so far, I have Polanco at the fewest games played. First, I think the defense will cause Molitor to want to give him more time off and allow Eduardo Escobar to get into the lineup. I have him playing 135 games.

    When Polanco was signed, he was a skinny kid. He has grown a lot, topping 200 pounds within the last couple of years. He has developed some power. That’s not to say he’s a 20 homer hitter, but he can certainly hit the teens in homers with more at bats. He’s got good speed to turn singles into doubles and doubles into triples.

    In the second half last season, Polanco hit all over the lineup. Most of his at bats came in the #2 spot in the lineup. That is a good spot for him. However, I would guess we’ll see him all over the lineup, near the top or the bottom from day-to-day.

    YOUR TURN

    Your turn. Share your thoughts on and predictions on Jorge Polanco in 2017. We can take a look back at the end of the season and see how we did.

    PREVIOUS PREDICTIONS

    Jason Castro

    Joe Mauer

    Brian Dozier

    Miguel Sano

    Jorge Polanco

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    I honestly don't see how the Twins could sit a shortstop who's batting .280.  With the atrocious pitching, they'll need their best bats in the lineup as often as possible.  I see Polanco playing 150 games, regardless of his defense.  Along with Buxton and Sano, he's one of the players I'm most excited about watching this year.  While there's always a chance of the Danny Santana-style "sophomore slump", I have high hopes for this kid.  I'd like to see him steal more bases. 

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    I wouldn't mind seeing him DH a little bit. With Park being sent down and Vargas hurt he could get some at bats there and let Escobar play short. This would help on days when Gibson is pitching.

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    I wouldn't mind seeing him DH a little bit. With Park being sent down and Vargas hurt he could get some at bats there and let Escobar play short. This would help on days when Gibson is pitching.

    I might prefer Sano having the occasional DH day with Escobar filling in at 3B.
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    .275/.320/.435 (.755), 15 doubles, 2 triples, 10 HRs. Improves to average defensively and starts the entire year at SS. Why the entire year? Because, let's face it, we got nobody else.

    If he improves to average defensively at SS then we don't need anyone else.

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    I honestly don't see how the Twins could sit a shortstop who's batting .280.  With the atrocious pitching, they'll need their best bats in the lineup as often as possible.  I see Polanco playing 150 games, regardless of his defense.  Along with Buxton and Sano, he's one of the players I'm most excited about watching this year.  While there's always a chance of the Danny Santana-style "sophomore slump", I have high hopes for this kid.  I'd like to see him steal more bases. 

     

    that is the whole point.... The pitching NEEDS good defense behind it to be good pitching.

     

     If he can be league average I would be happy.... and stunned.

     

    He did work with David Eckstein who was a weenie armed guy that was able to make it work so hopefully he  will  be able to get it done.  

     

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