Friday, February 13, 2015

Jorge Polanco's winter

Jorge Polanco had a
pair of brief callups
last summer but figures
to open 2015 at
Double-A Chattanooga.
Baseball America's Matt Eddy had this item Thursday on potentially significant winter ball seasons. While he didn't mention Oswaldo Arcia, he did have Kenny Vargas at No. 4.

And another Minnesota prospect whose winter has flown under the radar at No. 3: Infielder Jorge Polanco.

Unlike Vargas and Arcia, Polanco's winter hasn't featured signs of a breakthrough in a problem area. But unlike Vargas and Arcia, Polanco's never exhibited difficulty commanding his strike zone. His numbers in the Dominican League looks like his numbers in the minors to date.

But, as Eddy notes, the interesting thing is that Polanco's been playing second base this winter. Last summer he was at shortstop; the previous two summers, mostly at second.

I'm not inclined to read anything of significance into that. Not yet. The Twins have a little say in how their players are deployed in winter ball, but the Caribbean teams do have their own interests (winning) first, and Escogido had Pedro Florimon playing shortstop. Even if the Twins did have veto power over where Polanco played, they might well have decided that it's advantageous to keep him sharp at the keystone.

I really like Polanco's game. I think he has a better chance of being a consistently productive hitter than Danny Santana has, because he has consistently displayed better walk-strikeout ratios. (Look at the numbers in Eddy's chart: 12 BB, 15 Ks.) What I don't know if if he's going to be a second baseman or a shortstop. Part of that decision depends on whether his athletic ability (agility, throwing arm) is pitched high enough for shortstop. Part of it will depend on where an opening is (or can be created).

Right now, Brian Dozier is at second and the Twins have a mystery at shortstop. But either can change.

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