Position-by-Position, the inside scoop

The Twins will need even more from their core players in order to contend in 2018. A look at the eight starting position players, after the suspension of SS Jorge Polanco:

1B Joe Mauer finished as the top defensive first baseman in 2017, according to FanGraphs’ Ultimate Zone Rating.

1. Mauer, Twins 7.1

2. Joey Votto, Cincinnati 6.6

3. Carlos Santana, Cleveland 4.8

4. Anthony Rizzo, Cubs 4.0

5. Mitch Moreland, Boston 4.0

6. Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona 3.7

7. Miguel Cabrera, Detroit 3.3

8. Justin Smoak, Toronto 1.7

9. Logan Morrison, Tampa Bay 1.2

10. Jose Abreu, White Sox 0.5

2B Brian Dozier hit the sixth-most home runs in baseball over the past two seasons.

1. Giancarlo Stanton, Miami 86

2. Khris Davis, Oakland 85

3. Nelson Cruz, Seattle 82

4. Edwin Encarnacion, two teams 80

5. Nolan Arenado, Colorado 78

6. Dozier, Twins 76

7. Mark Trumbo, Baltimore 70

T8. Josh Donaldson, Toronto 70

Manny Machado, Baltimore 70

 

SS Eduardo Escobar is a consummate utility man; here are his games played by position.

1. Shortstop 307

2. Third base 180

3. Second base 58

4. Designated hitter 36

5. Left field 32

6. Catcher 1

7. Center field 1

8. Pitcher 1

9. Right field 1

 

3B Miguel Sano was fourth in average exit velocity (in mph) on balls in play last year.

1. Aaron Judge, Yankees 95.0

T2. Nelson Cruz, Seattle 94.0

Joey Gallo, Texas 94.0

4. Sano, Twins 93.4

5. Matt Olson, Angels 93.1

6. Giancarlo Stanton, Miami 92.6

7. Khris Davis, Oakland 92.5

8. Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona 92.0

T9. Ryan Zimmerman, Washington 91.8

Manny Machado, Baltimore 91.8

LF Eddie Rosario finished seventh in slugging percentage among left fielders in 2017.

1. Cody Bellinger, Dodgers .581

2. Marcell Ozuna, Miami .548

3. Justin Upton, two teams .540

4. Marwin Gonzalez, Houston .530

5. Khris Davis, Oakland .528

6. Tommy Pham, St. Louis .520

7. Rosario, Twins .507

8. Chris Taylor, Dodgers .496

9. Corey Dickerson, Tampa Bay .490

10. Trey Mancini, Baltimore .488

 

CF Byron Buxton had the second-highest defensive WAR of all outfielders in 2017.

1. Mookie Betts, Boston 13.3

2. Buxton, Twins 11.8

3. Billy Hamilton, Cincinnati 9.6

4. Odubel Herrera, Philadelphia 8.8

5. Kevin Pillar, Toronto 8.3

6. Manuel Margot, San Diego 7.0

7. Jackie Bradley, Boston 6.2

8. Yasiel Puig, Dodgers 5.9

9. Alex Gordon, Kansas City 5.6

10. Ender Inciarte, Atlanta 4.6

RF Max Kepler finished fourth in fielding percentage among right fielders in 2017.

1. Nick Markakis, Atlanta .997

T2. Yasiel Puig, Dodgers .996

Hunter Pence, San Francisco .996

4. Kepler, Twins .993

5. Jason Heyward, Cubs .991

6. Bryce Harper, Washington .989

T7. Giancarlo Stanton, Miami .988

Kole Calhoun, Angels .988

9. Mookie Betts, Boston .987

 

C Jason Castro was a top-10 defensive catcher in 2017, according to FanGraphs.

1. Tucker Barnhart, Cincinnati 14.9

2. Martin Maldonado, Dodgers 12.8

3. Yadier Molina, St. Louis 12.7

4. Yasmani Grandal, Dodgers 12.6

5. J.T. Realmuto, Miami 12.4

6. Jonathan Lucroy, two teams 10.1

7. Mike Zunino, Seattle 9.5

8. Austin Hedges, San Diego 9.0

9. Matt Wieters, Washington 8.6

10. Castro, Twins 7.8