Minnesota Twins: Can Polanco’s return jumpstart the Twin’s offense?

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JULY 9: Jorge Polanco
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JULY 9: Jorge Polanco /
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Minnesota Twins
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – JULY 9: Jorge Polanco /

Minnesota Twins shortstop Jorge Polanco returns this week from his 80-game suspension. How have others performed right off similar suspensions?

Minnesota Twins shortstop Jorge Polanco is eligible to return from his 80 game suspension on July 2, two days before his 25th birthday. With just a few weeks before the non-waivers trading deadline and eight games behind Cleveland for their only shot at post-season, the Twins need to get on a hot streak.

If his 10-day rehab assignment in Fort Myers and Rochester goes well, Polanco could provide the spark needed to ignite a moribund offense that ranks in the back half of the league in every main category save doubles where they are third with 154. With that in mind, using 6 games as a baseline here is a look into Polanco´s first games as a starter in 2016 and 2017,  as well as how other position players came out of the gate following their PED suspensions.

The Twins went 10-2 in Polanco´s two initial 6 game periods as a regular

Polanco first came up with the Minnesota Twins in September of 2014 but was used sporadically until his recall in late July of 2016 following the trade of Eduardo Nunez to the Giants. Polanco went 9 for 23, with 3 doubles, a triple, 4 RBI’s, 4 Runs, 1 stolen base, and 1 error in his first 6 games primarily starting at third base. The Twins won 5 of those 6 games. From his call-up through August, he held a .322 average and .782 OPS before dropping to a .215 average and .716 OPS in September.

The Twins began the 2017 season with Polanco at shortstop. He went 7 for 22, 2 doubles, HR, 4 RBI’s, 3 runs, 1 error, as the team got off to a 5-1 start. Polanco had another big August, hitting for a .373 average and 1.099 OPS before falling back to a .260 average and .768 OPS for September. His season line was .256/.313/.410 with a .723 OPS. Over half of his career playing time has come in the months of August and September.

July has not been at all kind to Polanco, where he holds a .132 batting average and .376 OPS, and if you take out the two July games from his 2016 call-up, the line drops to an average of .102 and OPS of .312. But that´s after a mere 69  plate appearances. It shouldn’t be a concern.