7. SS Jorge Polanco
Like Byron Buxton, Jorge Polanco deeply struggled during the first half of last year. In fact, he hit .224 with only 3 home runs and 31 RBIs in 263 at-bats. After the break though, the 24-year-old shortstop worked his way up to the top half of the lineup, hitting .293 with 10 home runs and 43 RBIs in 225 at-bats.
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Placing him seventh in the order was tough, but also a testament to how deep this lineup looks heading into next season. Even so, I could definitely see Polanco higher in the order given the phenomenal production he put on at the end of the 2017 season. Clearly, he was one of the main reasons for the Twins’ resurgence after the July 31 trade deadline that got Minnesota into the playoffs.
Nevertheless, it’ll be interesting to follow how Polanco does in spring training and the early goings of the 2017 campaign. Personally, I’m not sure what to think of him quite yet given he was essentially as cold as someone could get in the first half and as hot as someone could get in the second half. Sure, you could say the same for Buxton, but everyone knew and heard
Of course, if he continues where he left off last season, he’s on his way to being a consistent contributor at the top of the lineup. Ideally, in the two spot, especially once Mauer’s tenure is done.