Shifting focus to next season, Jorge Polanco appears to be the answer at shortstop for 2019. After a strong 2016, Polanco’s season-long numbers in 2017 dipped a bit, largely due to a poor month of July where he hit only .078, totaling just 4 hits in 17 games. Even with that poor month, he had a solid season and gave Minnesota Twins fans reasons to be excited to have him in the lineup for the next several seasons. His suspension for the first portion of 2018 was disappointing, but after serving his time, he played quite well throughout the second half.
Of course, many consider Twins top prospect Royce Lewis to be the ultimate heir to shortstop, and with good reason. After being selected by the Twins first overall in the 2017 MLB draft, Lewis has been stellar, posting a .311/.367/.438 line across 2 seasons ranging from rookie ball to Advanced A. If Lewis keeps up this pace, it is likely that he would take over at shortstop while Polanco moves over to 2nd base. However, Lewis is highly unlikely to debut in 2019, and may need a significant portion of 2020 to smooth things out in the minors as well. After all, he did just turn 19 in June!
Ehire Adrianza is the only real threat to stealing reps from Polanco at this point, but even he hasn’t made a strong push to do so. He’s had a decent tenure with the Minnesota Twins, don’t get me wrong, but his stats don’t warrant a starting role at this point. Adrianza will almost certainly be back in 2019 as a utility infielder, though, and he likely will get a good amount of playing time at a few different positions, even if he never becomes a starter.
The only other player worth mentioning here is prospect Nick Gordon. He’s played both 2B and SS in the minors and could likely handle either in the MLB. Gordon is likely to debut at some point in 2019, and nobody’s really sure what we’ll get from him. In the first half in both 2017 and 2018, he was great, hitting .308 through June in 2017 and .290 through June in 2018. Then, however, he completely collapsed. Through the rest of the 2017 season, he hit only .219. From July to the end of the season in 2018, he was even worse, managing an average of just .191. Gordon isn’t overly quick and won’t hit for much of any power, so any productive contributions to the Twins’ major league offense is going to come through a high batting average. Yet, with the awful 2nd halves he’s had each of the past two seasons, there’s no way to tell what Gordon may bring to the table. Either way, Gordon is likely going to get his first shot at the MLB at some point in 2019. It’s unlikely he challenges Polanco for time at shortstop, but stranger things have happened.