Minnesota Twins: Top 5 Switch-Hitters in Twins History
By Otto Johnson
Greatest Minnesota Twins Switch-Hitter No. 1: Jorge Polanco (1976-1982, 1985-1987)
Stats: 633 G, .278/.335/.452 (.787 OPS), 244 XBH (71 HR), 333 RBI, 43 SB, 201-441 BB-K, One-Time All-Star
Jorge Polanco over Roy Smalley? Absolutely. In 633 games, which roughly comes out to just under four full seasons, Polanco is on pace to smash every single one of Smalley’s switch-hitting records, and he’ll likely do it within the next two seasons.
Let’s start with Polanco’s slash line. His .278 batting average is the highest by 12 points when compared to everyone else (with 300 games). On top of that, if he gets 373 hits by the end of 2023 (very likely), he’ll pass Smalley for the most hits by a switch-hitter.
His .335 on-base percentage is fourth among switch-hitters, but his .452 slugging percentage is first by a whopping 31 points, helping him to the best OPS in the switch-hitter category (17 points better than Robbie Grossman, 27 points better than Smalley).
He should soon pass Smalley in extra base hits (he needs 71) and home runs (he needs 40) as well. I doubt that he makes either of those marks by the end of 2021, but if he stays healthy, he’s a lock to do it by the end of 2023.
He needs 152 RBI, which is very doable over two years for a guy who has racked up 88 and 79 over his last two non-COVID shortened years. The best part of all this? 2021 isn’t even over yet, meaning he’s definitely not done adding to his totals.
If Polanco were to play in every game from now until the end of the 2023 regular season (spoiler alert, he won’t), he would be sitting at 973 games. That’s still 175 less than Smalley, while still surpassing all of his numbers. With his contract ensuring he’s here until at least 2023 (possibly 2024 and 2025 as well), he could go way further.
Polanco still has a very long way to go towards becoming one of the greatest players in Twins history, but as far as the greatest switch-hitters in franchise history go, he’s already there.