The Minnesota Twins have been forced to thrust Ehire Adrianza into the starting shortstop role and he has been responding with a good month at the plate.
The Minnesota Twins have for most of the season been trotting out an entirely different left side of the infield than they had planned on coming into the season. Jorge Polanco‘s suspension and whatever is going on with Miguel Sano have led to that shake-up. The new starting shortstop due to that shakeup is having a pretty good month at the plate.
Ehire Adrianza came into the season expecting to be the Twins bench utility infielder, but with all the bodies missing he has served as the Twins starting shortstop for most of the season. There was never any concern about Adrianza’s ability to field in Polanco’s absence, but his bat is what was in question.
Adrianza’s season-long numbers are not that impressive as he his hitting .247/.303/.406 with a .709 OPS, four home runs, and 16 RBIs. Since May 22nd it seems as Adrianza has been paying attention to the Eduardo Escobar plan when it comes to hitting. In that stretch, he is hitting .286/.333/.548 and a .888 OPS.
In that stretch, Adrianza has also produced a bulk of his extra-base hits. Since May 22nd he has all four of his home runs, 8 of his 13 doubles, and his lone triple of the season. In watching games, it also seems that he is just hitting the ball differently. That was on display in two shots to centerfield in back-to-back at-bats while facing Bartolo Colon this past Sunday as both just narrowly missed being home runs.
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Whenever a batter goes on a stretch like this the question asked is always, “What’s different?”. Looking back to a June 14th article by Tyler Fenwick on MLB.com the answer for Adrianza is a conversation with his manager.
Of course, having a Hall of Fame hitter like Paul Molitor is hopefully a great resource for all of the Twins players. Reading through the quotes it wasn’t a specific technique that Adrianza really hints at as being the key to unlocking something with his approach at the plate. Instead, Molitor referred to the session as an opportunity “counsel” his shortstop and Adrianza says the conversation simply helped him regain his confidence.
Whatever button the two pushed in the conversation it has worked. Again Wednesday night Adrianza tried his best to carry the anemic Twins offense as he went 4-for-4 with three singles, a double, and an RBI. The Twins shortstop may be moved back to the bench soon with Polanco set to return. If Polanco would falter to adjust to the big leagues midseason, it will be a nice asset to have Adrianza sitting and waiting to jump off the bench to play again.