Jorge Polanco won the starting shortstop job in spring training, but struggled in the first half, hitting just .224 with a .596 OPS. Without a high pedigree or an above-average glove, it looked like his shot at being a starter was over when he was moved to the bench on July 23. Miraculously, he turned his season around in August and reclaimed the starting job. He hit .316 with a .931 OPS and 10 home runs in 234 plate appearances after Aug. 1. Thanks to that strong finish, Polanco looks set to return as the starting shortstop. He makes good contact (14.3 percent strikeout rate) and appears to have been the victim of some bad luck last year (.278 BABIP). While not a burner, he figures to continue to chip in a handful of steals, and his gradually increasing isolated power rates suggest more power could be coming from the 24-year-old. Unfortunately, his glove may eventually force a move to second base. His -4.3 UZR ranked 34th out of 37 MLB shortstops with 500 or more innings played.
Polanco is not in the lineup for Friday's game against the Tigers, according to Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com. Polanco has started every game since Sept. 5 and played Thursday while several other Twins regulars rested, so manager Paul Molitor decided it was his turn for a day off Friday. Ehire Adrianza will get the start at shortstop in Polanco's place.
Polanco went 2-for-3 with a double, a walk and two RBI in Thursday's 4-2 win over the White Sox. Polanco's big hit was actually a bases-loaded single off closer Kelvin Herrera, which drove in two runs to break a 2-2 tie with two outs in the top of the ninth inning. His .262/.314/.418 line is nothing special compared to most other hitters in Minnesota's lineup, yet Polanco continues to bat in the heart of the order. Putting him there paid off for manager Paul Molitor in this one, so don't expect the shortstop to be moved down anytime soon.
Polanco went 2-for-3 with a pair of solo homers, a walk and a steal in Tuesday's 6-4 win over the White Sox. Polanco launched a solo shot off James Shields in the third inning to make it a 3-0 game and took Aaron Bummer deep in the seventh for his team's final run. The switch-hitting shortstop is slashing just .256/.304/.408 for the year, but a recent hot streak has elevated him to third in the batting order. Polanco's hit safely in 12 of 13 games since Aug. 17 while producing six long balls, 10 runs scored, 17 RBI and three steals over that stretch.
Polanco went 2-for-4 with a home run and two RBI in Wednesday's 4-3 loss to the White Sox. The switch hitter only has seven homers on the season, but incredibly four of them have come in the last four games. There's no telling how long Polanco will be locked in like this at the plate, but it's perhaps not a coincidence that his power surge came during a series against the woeful White Sox. Fortunately for any fantasy GMs with shares in the shortstop, he'll get to face the Pale Hose again next week after a three-game weekend set in a solid hitter's park in Toronto.
Polanco went 1-for-3 with a home run in Tuesday's win over the White Sox. It was his third straight game with a homer. Polanco has been hot since reclaiming the starting shortstop job as he's hitting .382 with three home runs since Aug. 2.