In 2009, the Miguel Sano signing got most of the headlines, but earlier that summer the Twins signed shortstop Jorge Polanco from the Dominican Republic for $750,000. At the time, he was 5-10 and maybe 150 pounds. Maybe. He was known primarily for his terrific middle infield defense. The last couple of seasons, he has figured things out with the bat. He became the youngest player promoted to the Twins since Joe Mauer in 2004 when he was called up in June, directly from Ft. Myers.
Age: 21 (DOB: 7/5/93)
2014 Stats (Ft. Myers/New Britain): .288/.353/.395 (.748) with 23-2B, 6-3B, 7-HR
ETA: early 2016
2014 Ranking: #8
What’s To Like
Patience was a necessity as he grew and developed. It took him two years of struggles in the Gulf Coast League before advancing to the Appalachian League. He hit .318/.388/.514 (.903) with 22 extra base hits in 51 games at Elizabethton. In the talent-laden 2013 lineup, Polanco batted third and hit .308/.362/.452 with 47 extra base hits in 115 games. Who would have guessed that Polanco would be the first player from that Cedar Rapids roster to get to the big leagues?
The reason that the Twins called him up for two short stints in 2014 was primarily because of 40-man roster issues. However, the Twins brass would not put a guy in a situation that they don’t believe he could handle. People frequently talk about his intelligence, maturity and poise.
What’s Left To Work On
Though he was originally signed as defensive-minded shortstop, he had spent most of his career starts at second base. However, in 2014, he made the move to over to shortstop. He struggled early in the year and ended with 35 errors in 119 games at the position. He’ll need to clean that up some, but he has the tools to be a quality shortstop, though many feel his best position may be second base.
After hitting .291/.364/.415 (.780) with 29 extra base hits in 94 games with the Miracle, Polanco hit .281/.323/.342 (.665) with seven extra base hits in 37 games with the Rock Cats. He will have to show some more plate discipline in Chattanooga in 2015. He has never been one to walk a lot, but to be successful, I believe he will need his IsoD (Isolated Discipline = On Base Percentage minus Batting Average) to be at least 0.060, particularly if he is going to hit near the top of the order.
Polanco has the tools. He can play defense and has a good arm. He can hit, takes quality at-bats and runs well. He will never be a 20+ home run hitter, but he can hit a lot of doubles. He has the tools, though none of them are in the elite category. He has a pretty high floor meaning that he should be an everyday player somewhere in the middle infield. He has the chance to be a long-time major league starter.
He should spend the majority of the 2015 season at Chattanooga where he will most likely again play primarily at shortstop. He should continue to get time at second base. And, should the Twins need a middle infielder, he will again be just a phone call away.
TD Top Prospect #10: Nick Burdi
TD Top Prospect #9: Trevor May
TD Top Prospect #8: Eddie Rosario
TD Top Prospect #7: Jorge Polanco
Spring Training starts in less than two weeks. The Vikings offseason is getting busy with the NFL Combine, free agency and more. The Wild have been on fire of late. Be sure to check out Twins Daily, Vikings Journal and Wild Xtra today.