|Hip, hip, Jorge: Polanco makes a play|
in the sixth inning Monday night.
Molitor on Polanco: "Maybe one of the better games I’ve ever seen him play short. He was clean, finished, threw with confidence."#MNTwins— Mike Berardino (@MikeBerardino) August 9, 2016
OK, but how many games has Molitor seen Polanco play at short? Yeah, Molitor was a roving instructor in the organization for years, but he wasn't going to Rochester or Chattanooga or Fort Myers in 2015 or 2014, when Polanco was primarily playing shortstop. In 2013 he split time between short and second. This year Polanco has played zero shortstop in Rochester and three games at short with the Twins. Now, Molitor has likely seen video, and he's seen quite a bit of Polanco in spring training.
The rap on Polanco as a shortstop has been arm strength. Errors are, as I've said about other players (Miguel Sano), are a blunt tool for measuring defense, but Polanco had 30 of them last year playing short at three levels (Double A Chattanooga, Triple A Rochester and the Twins) and 35 in 2014. Those numbers wouldn't have raised eyebrows a half century ago, but they won't work for a shortstop today.
Polanco on Monday made strong throws on balls hit to his glove side and on balls he had to charge. He did not have to make a play going to his right, the hole between third and short. That's the test for a shortstop's arm, the long throw after fielding a ball going away from the target.
I've not had any concerns about Polanco as a hitter. Monday's game, strong as it was, does not convince me that he's a major league quality shortstop.