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  • Twins Future Position Analysis: Second Base


    Cody Christie

    Luis Arraez was supposed to hit .400 last season and run away with the American League batting title. Sure, expectations were high after his tremendous rookie campaign, but expectations were bound to outlast the reality of the situation. Arraez struggled through knee issues in his sophomore campaign, and one must wonder if that changes the future of second base for the Minnesota Twins.

    Image courtesy of © Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports (Arraez), Seth Stohs- Twins Daily (Blankenhorn, Severino)

    Current Second Baseman: Luis Arraez

    Arraez burst onto the scene in 2019 with a rookie campaign unseen in Minnesota for quite some time. He hit .334/.399/.439 with a 29 to 36 strikeout to walk ratio. In the batter’s box, he seemed to be able to know what the pitcher was throwing and spit on pitches on the edges. Arraez was never seen as a top-tier prospect, but the 2019 season might have changed that perspective.

    To be clear, the 2020 season saw Arraez play through a knee injury that plagued him during spring training and the team’s summer camp session. With that being said, he still hit .321/.364/.402 with an 11 to 8 strikeout to walk ratio in 32 games. The shortened season certainly impacted his injury and it also impacted the numbers he was able to produce at the big-league level. Arraez should be the Twins present and future, but it’s hard to predict how his knee will react.

    40-Man Options

    Besides Arraez, the Twins have other 40-man roster options to play second base. Travis Blankenhorn is a legitimate option that could surprise some fans in 2021. If the Twins are able to sign another shortstop, Jorge Polanco could move to a utility role to put less pressure on Donaldson and Arraez. Blankenhorn has accumulated over 1900 defensive innings at second base during his professional career which is more than any other defensive position.

    On the Farm Options

    Outside of the options mentioned above, there are other second base options in the minor leagues including some strong prospects.

    ccs-25-0-23540700-1608153742_thumb.jpg

    Lin was an intriguing signing this winter and Severino has all the skills to be an impact option at the big-league level. Lin will likely get multiple opportunities to fill-in for full-time players. Also, Severino has been in the Twins system long enough to build up equity with the coaching staff. Arraez might be the current second baseman

    Prato joined the Twins organization as a 7th round pick in the 2019 MLB Draft. He split his professional debut between Elizabethton and Cedar Rapids while hitting .268/.373/.730 with 10 extra-base hits in 4 games. Santana played three full seasons in the Dominican Summer League before making his stateside debut. In E-Town, he hit .276/.371/.372 with 10 extra-base hits in 40 games. He should have the chance to debut with Fort Myers in 2021.

    Julien is another intriguing option because of his college experience. Minnesota drafted him out of Auburn in 2019 and he has yet to make his professional debut. The Canadian native could make a big impact on the organization if he is able to move quickly in the years ahead.

    What do you think about the future of second base in Minnesota? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

    OTHER POSTS IN THE SERIES

    -First Base

    -Shortstop

    -Third Base

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    Here is what sucks, Donaldson, Polanco and Arraez, HEALTHY, provide the Twins with a VERY GOOD infield! Period! There are, unfortunately, questions. All the more reason why the 10th and 11th man additions are so important. Blankenship and Gordon are prospects that could have a real role going forward, but you can't bank on them at this point. Hence FA options which abound!

     

    Arraez will never be a speed demon. He may never be a Gold Glove defender. He will never be, probably, a real power threat. But he is a natural hitter with a great eye and is a BALLPLAYER.

     

    Despite playing through a knee issue that we all hope was minor, he still hit and was productive. He's talented enough, smart enough, that he was OK playing around the field his rookie season in 2019 to think HE could be a 10th man vs Polanco. Not saying it should happen, just saying it could happen.

     

    Healthy, this infield has TREMENDOUS possibilities. And yes, like SS, there is some interesting depth within the system. But Arraez is the 2B for now. And he should be. In fact, a healthy Arraez should be the #1 batter in 2021 and allow Kepler to adjust and thrive lower in the order.

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    Cody, I'm enjoying your series. For now I think Arraez & Polanco should platoon at 2B, until both are 100%. In the near future Polanco is our best option at           full time 2B because that's his natural position & will flourish there. We need Arraez bat so we need to be creative to find a spot for him at utility, DH & PH. In the distant future, because 2B isn't a crucial position, we can plug anyone in there that can hit.

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    Twins are a bit top-heavy at 2B right now; all of their best options there are either already in MLB or sitting at AAA. So in the short term there's no real worries here. When you drop down into A ball there really isn't anyone coming along at the position that you get all that excited about...but 2B is also another one of those positions where you see a lot of guys get drafted at SS and then drop down on the defensive spectrum to 2B if they're not showing it at SS, so...who knows?

     

    I think you'll see the Twins continuing to draft guys at SS with what they see as a strong hit tool and react from there. I'm ok with that strategy.

     

    I feel bad for Nick Gordon. He's a good player, he was coming into the season ready for a shot in MLB, and then COVID wiped out his year. He's just snake-bit. Frankly, we could have used him last year to take some pressure off Arraez when he got dinged up and might have been able to do the same for Polanco. He may have missed his window in MN and his stock is low because of not playing much. I still think he's a good MLB player who will hit for average as either a utility guy or starting 2B.

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    If I was running the ballclub, Arraez would be my second baseman as long as he can get his body on the field. With all the questions Doc and others mention, the Twins need a solid utility infielder along the lines of Adrianza. Hopefully, someone a bit better. A player who will play four or five games a week at various positions, much like Gonzalez. Maybe Lewis will become that player later in the year. But can you ink him onto the roster opening day? I don't think so.

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    Ken Rosenthal had interesting column today in The Athletic on possibilities of Twins trading Arraez.  While he said chances are not high this will happen, he indicated there was significant demand for him.  Rationale is that Twins could move Polanco to 2B, his natural position, and go after either Story or even Lindor, on a short term deal until Lewis is ready.  Or alternatively sign someone like Semien to take over SS.

     

    If the Twins could use someone like Arraez to land a top starter like Snell, Darvish or  Sonny Gray, this could greatly improve chances for success in playoffs.  Arraez is a valuable player to date, but nothing wrong with trading him at a high point, where Rosenthal thinks he is now.

     

    This would be a bold move which makes it unlikely the FO would do it, but it sure would be a decisive series of transactions that could jump start our offseason.  It makes a lot of sense if the Twins pulled the trigger on this!

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    Arraez hits, gets on base and competes hard. Those are A+ assets that demand you find a way to keep him in the line up consistently.

     

    Arraez will never be a speed demon. He may never be a Gold Glove defender. He will never be, probably, a real power threat. But he is a natural hitter with a great eye and is a BALLPLAYER.
     

     

    These quotes echo my thoughts on Arraez.  His defense has actually been good.  Arraez's defensive stats at both the minor league level and MLB are considerably better than Polanco's at 2B...and SS for that matter.  I'd say Polanco has better range, but Arraez can twitter to those gaps rather quick as well.

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    The more I look at the IF situation, the more I believe getting one of the 3 SS on the market is a crucial move. Polanco, Arraez, and Donaldson, all have concerning injury histories. 

    Signing a SS and moving Polanco to UI gives everyone in that group a chance to start at least 120 games each. That's if everyone stays healthy, which would be amazing, but unlikely. In that scenario, if Polanco stays healthy (which is already in question to start the season), he could easily end up getting 150 starts or so on the season. 

    If we don't sign a SS, we likely end up giving 100 or so starts to a mix of  players like Adrianza, Blankenhorn, Gordon, etc. That sounds horrible.

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    The more I look at the IF situation, the more I believe getting one of the 3 SS on the market is a crucial move. Polanco, Arraez, and Donaldson, all have concerning injury histories. 

    Signing a SS and moving Polanco to UI gives everyone in that group a chance to start at least 120 games each. That's if everyone stays healthy, which would be amazing, but unlikely. In that scenario, if Polanco stays healthy (which is already in question to start the season), he could easily end up getting 150 starts or so on the season. 

    If we don't sign a SS, we likely end up giving 100 or so starts to a mix of  players like Adrianza, Blankenhorn, Gordon, etc. That sounds horrible.

    The more I read about comments like yours, Minny, the more I like the idea of signing a top defensive shortstop and moving Polanco to Gonzalez role from last year. He could play a lot of second, short and third while being the DH when not in the field to keep his bat in the lineup for 150+ games a year...assuming we play a full season, which is looking unlikely. 

     

    Can't make this decision, however, until they know if Cruz will be back. Probably let it go for another two weeks until after the Holiday's, then give Nelson an ultimatum. Sign something reasonable for both sides, or we are moving on.

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    Arreaz has everything you want as a second baseman. I would simply plug him in until the cows come home ... 330 hitters with great command of the strike zone are hard to come buy. He lacks homerun power but if there is one position on the field that does ot provide a lot of power it's second base. We shouldn't over think this just because we have fielding issues a SS and an injury prone third baseman. Those issues have nothing to do with Arreaz

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    Ken Rosenthal had interesting column today in The Athletic on possibilities of Twins trading Arraez.  While he said chances are not high this will happen, he indicated there was significant demand for him.  Rationale is that Twins could move Polanco to 2B, his natural position, and go after either Story or even Lindor, on a short term deal until Lewis is ready.  Or alternatively sign someone like Semien to take over SS.

     

    If the Twins could use someone like Arraez to land a top starter like Snell, Darvish or  Sonny Gray, this could greatly improve chances for success in playoffs.  Arraez is a valuable player to date, but nothing wrong with trading him at a high point, where Rosenthal thinks he is now.

     

    This would be a bold move which makes it unlikely the FO would do it, but it sure would be a decisive series of transactions that could jump start our offseason.  It makes a lot of sense if the Twins pulled the trigger on this!

    I hear many fans cry, trade Sano, Garver, Kepler, Buxton & Polanco. These players value is basically the lowest they have been (I'm sure all their values will rise). To trade any of them at this point would be very irresponsible. MLB teams trade players only at their high point, only Twins players at their highest value is Arraez & Maeda. I'm not in favor of trading either of them but if you are serious about trading players they are ones besides any prospects.

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    Polanco fits the profile of super utility guy.  Polanco is very athletic with very good instincts and adjusts well.  Why is this thing called a "super utility" man so hard to find?  When it's your profession and you have ample amounts of time to train to be that player, how could you not be sufficient at the very least?  Being a "super" utility man shouldn't be this position where only a select few men excel at it.  There should be multiple in every organization.  Guys in the minors play multiple positions every week.  I know they're honing skills and covering holes, but many are truly gifted at it.

     

    Bottom line, I haven't had a conversation yet that leaves me satisfied that being able to play multiple positions in The Show should be as hard as people make it out to be.  The players also now have cheat cards in their back pockets to help with shading and jumps.

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    In another thread there was speculation that trading for someone like Trevor Story or signing Semian could be something the Twins are planning.

    I do believe the FO would like to see better "D" at Short. 

    Story and Semian provide that.  

    That kind of move would entail hashing out what to do with Polanco and Arraez.  

    BOTH are above average bats that can play middle infield.  Arraez can also play some 3B and some LF.

    Polanco can play SS & 2B.  Can he play 3B?  LF?

    The Dodgers don't have just ONE guy that can play multiple positions they have SEVERAL.

    Kiki Hernandez is a FA.  Chris Taylor is still a Dodger. 

    My point is, L.A. has all sorts of Swiss Army Knife types.  Why can't we ? 

    I've been pining for us to acquire Ketel Marte because in addition to being a really good hitter, he's also able to play 2B, CF & SS.  

    But if the Twins acquired Story they could employ Polanco and Arraez however Rocco wants.

    There are a LOT of options for the twins FO.  Teams that are willing to spend a little,

    could improve their team a LOT.

    One final thought:  I want the Twins to sign Nellie Cruz.  Badly.  

    But if they swung a deal to get Story there is juice in that lineup that could mitigate the loss of Cruz.

    But if you somehow had Story, Cruz AND Donaldson in that lineup ??

    You would never miss Rosario, Sano or Garver who would have to go to make this scenario happen.

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    I think some people have a false idea of what a super utility player is. It isn`t a player that can play all OF positions below average & that can hit or play any INF position below average & can hit. IMO a super utility player               is             someone    who is             very athletic, that can play the most crucial positions SS & CF (if they can play theses 2 position they can play almost anywhere) very well & can hit at least average.

    To me       a super utility player is very valuable, very rare & the Twins been needing for a long time. Like Top Gunn noted LAD constantly develop them

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    I think some people have a false idea of what a super utility player is. It isn`t a player that can play all OF positions below average & that can hit or play any INF position below average & can hit. IMO a super utility player               is             someone    who is             very athletic, that can play the most crucial positions SS & CF (if they can play theses 2 position they can play almost anywhere) very well & can hit at least average.

    To me       a super utility player is very valuable, very rare & the Twins been needing for a long time. Like Top Gunn noted LAD constantly develop them

     

    I think Marwin was considered a super utility guy. He never played CF or SS for the Twins, did he? I've never believed in having super utility guys as being that important. If you've got a backup outfielder that can play CF then he's more than qualified to play LF and RF. If you've got a backup SS he should be able to play 2B. If you've got a backup 3B they can usually play 1B. If you've got those 3 backup bench players you've got the super utility guy covered. Throw in a backup catcher and what more do you need on the bench? It is so easy to shuffle guys from AAA to the majors anymore I don't see the need for a super utility guy.

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    Ken Rosenthal had interesting column today in The Athletic on possibilities of Twins trading Arraez.  While he said chances are not high this will happen, he indicated there was significant demand for him.  Rationale is that Twins could move Polanco to 2B, his natural position, and go after either Story or even Lindor, on a short term deal until Lewis is ready.  Or alternatively sign someone like Semien to take over SS.

     

    If the Twins could use someone like Arraez to land a top starter like Snell, Darvish or  Sonny Gray, this could greatly improve chances for success in playoffs.  Arraez is a valuable player to date, but nothing wrong with trading him at a high point, where Rosenthal thinks he is now.

     

    This would be a bold move which makes it unlikely the FO would do it, but it sure would be a decisive series of transactions that could jump start our offseason.  It makes a lot of sense if the Twins pulled the trigger on this!

     

     

    Ken Rosenthal had interesting column today in The Athletic on possibilities of Twins trading Arraez.  While he said chances are not high this will happen, he indicated there was significant demand for him.  Rationale is that Twins could move Polanco to 2B, his natural position, and go after either Story or even Lindor, on a short term deal until Lewis is ready.  Or alternatively sign someone like Semien to take over SS.

     

    If the Twins could use someone like Arraez to land a top starter like Snell, Darvish or  Sonny Gray, this could greatly improve chances for success in playoffs.  Arraez is a valuable player to date, but nothing wrong with trading him at a high point, where Rosenthal thinks he is now.

     

    This would be a bold move which makes it unlikely the FO would do it, but it sure would be a decisive series of transactions that could jump start our offseason.  It makes a lot of sense if the Twins pulled the trigger on this!

    Teams don't trade top starters for for 2nd basemen.

     

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