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by Matt Sisk

Nick with a Stick: Jorge Polanco

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Is it really 2013 already? Yes. And don't try to change the subject. We are talking baseball here, and no one cares that you've squandered all of 2012 worrying about doomsday prophecies. All we have is "right now." So lets live in the present for a moment, and assess the future of the Twins utility infielder role.

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Every team's gotta have one. A guy that can play anywhere on the infield, and be placed in the outfield if need be. This is the guy you put behind the plate in a catcher emergency (like if Mauer, Doumit, and Butera all have to use the restroom, together). He is a bench guy, but would be a terrific regular if he is needed.

This club has had some dandy utility guys in years past. The first one that comes to mind is Denny Hocking. There have been many more, but none may have defined the job better than the recent Twin named Nick Punto.

"Nicky" could play outstanding defense anywhere, and come up with a big single late in the game. Then he'd steal second and later score. He was scrappy, and I really miss him. He could play 3B too: http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?co...61101&c_id=mlb

Most people I talk about baseball with hated Punto. Even my buddy who is a Giants fan bashed him constantly. In general, they hated his inability to hit. I tried to explain that his defensive ability is a highly valuable trait for a major league team to have. Evermore, they spewed hatred for his name (Punto is a nice name in my opinion).

But let's get back to "right now." Jamey Carroll is the guy most likely to fill the utility role this coming season. After 2013, its anybody's guess. So, the search for a new solution should begin now. Let me introduce my first choice to be a long-term solution for the club's utility role...my #9 prospect, Jorge Polanco.

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Check out Jorge in the Appy League: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wrgvU-gUVwo

I know. He is still at least three years away. But he played every position save for pitcher, catcher and first-base in 2011, including 10 error-free games in the outfield. His infield defense in 2012 was outstanding at 2B, and adequate at SS.

Unlike Punto, Polanco can hit! The Domincan switch-hitter out-slugged fellow Twins prospects Adam Walker and Travis Harrison (and most of the Appy League) in 2012. Not bad at all for a guy listed at 5'11 165 lbs. If he reproduces numbers like 2012 at the higher minor league levels, then we could be talking about an everyday guy in Minnesota.

In order to pertain to my title, I am going to predict that Polanco breaks in with the big-league club as a utility infielder in 2016. He will be playing behind Eddie Rosario at 2B and Daniel Santana at SS, but will find plenty of AB's by spelling any infielder that needs a breather. Imagine that Twins fans...a utility guy with a mind to do damage offensively!

Updated 01-18-2013 at 10:15 PM by mnfanforlife

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Comments

  1. Paul Pleiss's Avatar
    Dream big on this little guy, I like what I'm reading. I think the later half of this decade will see a lot of W's and a lot of great baseball in Minnesota.
  2. mnfanforlife's Avatar
    I couldn't agree more Paul. Our farm system is loaded with 18-22-yr-olds that hold mountains of promise. Looks like 2015 will be the first year we have all the pieces we need in Minnesota.
  3. Shane Wahl's Avatar
    This is a good article and good slant to Polanco's future. It could actually be Polanco starting and Santana in that role. Or Beresford. I do think that the Twins actually could find themselves with Rosario, Polanco, Santana, Michael, Beresford, and Plouffe for 3 infield spots and two bench spots in 2015-2016.
  4. beckmt's Avatar
    Twins could always move Rosario back to the outfield if Polanco can hit that well.
  5. lightfoot789's Avatar
    He has some of the softest hands for a second baseman and smooth release. He might be able to play SS as well, but he was born to be a 2B to me. He did get most of his doubles down the line at ETown, so I am curious to see if he spreads those hits out more this year. Great Upside
  6. mnfanforlife's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by lightfoot789
    He has some of the softest hands for a second baseman and smooth release. He might be able to play SS as well, but he was born to be a 2B to me. He did get most of his doubles down the line at ETown, so I am curious to see if he spreads those hits out more this year. Great Upside
    Are you able to watch most of the E-town games?
  7. mnfanforlife's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Shane Wahl
    This is a good article and good slant to Polanco's future. It could actually be Polanco starting and Santana in that role. Or Beresford. I do think that the Twins actually could find themselves with Rosario, Polanco, Santana, Michael, Beresford, and Plouffe for 3 infield spots and two bench spots in 2015-2016.
    Yes, we should be very deep by 2015. I see Niko Goodrum and Candido Pimentel being added to your list. Maybe the Twins draft O. Mercado or JP Crawford with the #4 pick? Our current struggles with MLB depth at SS/2B will soon be over!
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