Minnesota Twins: 2020 Preview for Shortstop Jorge Polanco
By Otto Johnson
With baseball possibly nearing a return, we take a look at the upcoming season for the Minnesota Twins players, continuing with Jorge Polanco.
Several Minnesota Twins players had career seasons in 2019, so we wanted to take a look ahead for what those player’s seasons might look like in 2020. We started off the series with Nelson Cruz and Byron Buxton, and we’re continuing with the Twins’ starting shortstop: Jorge Polanco.
Polanco had an excellent season in 2020, being nominated as the starting shortstop for the American League All-Star team. He had the greatest season of his career, and the first season where he played over 135 games. Here was the shortstop’s stat line:
- 153 G, .295 BA/.356 OBP/.841 OPS, 40 Doubles, 22 HR, 79 RBI, All-Star
He set career highs in every single stat that matters and led the Twins in WAR with 4.8. After a dominant season that ended slowly, we ask the same question we did for Cruz and Buxton: Can Polanco repeat his 2019 breakout?
In short answer: yes, he can. Jorge Polanco has improved his batting average, on-base percentage, and OPS in each of the past three seasons. He would have improved his homer and RBI numbers last year too, but a suspension for a banned substance wiped out his 2018.
It won’t be easy though. In the second half, Polanco hit .273 with 9 homers and 37 RBI in the second half. Those are solid numbers, but they are nowhere near as good as his first half stat line of .312 average, 13 homers, and 42 RBI. There is a very real worry that Polanco may continue to play at this lower level.
However, there is also optimism. In addition to continued improvement, Polanco is a very good average hitter and has decent power for a shortstop. He doesn’t have top notch defensive skills, but he is a strong player and a key part of the Twins organization. Expect him to be a key part of the middle of the Twins lineup for next season.