No. 4 – The 2017 Middle Infield
Brian Dozier and Jorge Polanco
Just like the whole 2017 season did, putting in this middle infield at number five on this list almost feels like a dream. At the same time, when sitting back and thinking about it and the clouds seem to fade, it makes some real sense.
The high-ranking of this duo finds a solid base with second baseman Brian Dozier. The former All-Star could have very well pushed for that honor once again if it wasn’t for the incredible depth at that position currently in the American League. Dozier slashed .271/.359/.498 and added 34 home runs as the catalyst at the top of the Twins lineup. He was showcased as said catalyst in his first at-bat of the Twins Wild-Card game against the New York Yankees.
While the Twins expected production out of Dozier in 2017, the level of production from Jorge Polanco was quite the pleasant surprise. Polanco was able to hit .256/.313/.410 with 13 home runs and 30 doubles. While not the best of fielding shortstops in the league, Polanco was much better than many anticipated with a defensive WAR of 0.6.
At the end of the season, Dozier was able to earn his first career Gold Glove and even received some MVP consideration and finished 11th in that process. Polanco turned in the best season according to WAR by any Twins shortstop at a 2.1 WAR since Nick Punto’s 2.4 in 2008. Polanco’s 2.1 WAR combined with Dozier’s 4.4 WAR put the duo at a total 6.5 WAR helping them to be placed at the fourth spot in our all-time middle infield rankings.