Two Young Bats find their groove
There is no doubt that a lot of the Twins success down the stretch can be credited to how Byron Buxton and Jorge Polanco began to find success at the plate. After struggling through July with only 4 hits, a .078 batting average, Polanco flipped a switch when the calendar turned over to August. In the month of August Polanco hit .373/.413/.686 with 6 home runs and 23 RBIs. For the rest of the season, Polanco then found himself batting in the middle of the Twins lineup often.
Buxton has always provided value defensively, and that is likely what kept him in the majors after a rough start to the season. Buxton opened the season in April and March by hitting .147 and had a contingent of Twins followers wondering if Zach Granite should be taking over his center field duties. The Twins stuck with Buxton and he slowly improved at the plate and in July he hit his stride slashing .387/.457/.516. Buxton continued to hit the rest of the season and hit .300/.347/.546 and 11 home runs over the whole second half of 2017. Buxton, like Polanco, found himself in the middle of the lineup often with Sano injured down the stretch of the season.
A full offensive season from Buxton and Polanco should also help the Twins improve over their 2017 season. What great value for a team to get good offensive production from two of the most difficult defensive positions on the diamond.