7. SS Jorge Polanco
At the mid-season point in 2017, no one would have thought Jorge Polanco makes a list of top 10 Twins. Nevertheless, he’s done just that by breaking out in a large way in the second half. After hitting .224 prior to the All-Star break, he hit .293 along with 10 home runs and 43 RBIs following the annual event. In turn, he showed that he could be a fixture in the middle infield for the foreseeable future.
Of course, Polanco is going to have to prove that the second half results were no fluke. Just like Byron Buxton, he needs to put together a full season with the club. While I’m unsure he’ll sustain the level of second-half success he had in 2017, I think he’s capable of hitting .270 with a .320 on-base percentage and 10-plus home runs on a yearly basis. If so, those hitting numbers are definitely an asset from a shortstop, a position that’s seemingly gotten weaker across the league.
Over time, it’s hard to say whether Polanco is a long-term fit with the Twins though. Yes, he’s proven he can be, but the organization is deep with middle infielders. Rising through the farm system are the likes of Nick Gordon, Wander Javier, and Royce Lewis, so eventually, Polanco may see his role at shortstop taken away. The real question is whether the Twins give Brian Dozier an extension to remain at second base for a few more seasons because Polanco could easily fill in at second if Minnesota decided to let Dozier walk after the 2018 season.
In the meantime, the Twins will worry about that another day and simply embrace the fact they have one of the best middle infields in the league.