Polanco is a poor man’s Fernando Tatis Jr.

Baseball Fantasy Sports MLB Twins

Who’s been suspended for PED’s and is currently leading our Minnesota Twins on a hot streak in the month of August? Nope, not Nelson Cruz. Not Michael Pineda. That’s right, JORGE POLANCO!

Jorge Polanco being an absolute beauty while warming up in the on deck circle

** Disclaimer: I’m kidding when I say the Twins are on a hot steak, but when we’ve won as much as we have this season, anything can be considered a hot streak. **

In his last 23 games, Polanco is hitting .305 with 9 home runs and 25 runs batted in. He was solely responsibly for three wins just the other week. It’s a fucking shame he couldn’t figure it out sooner this year. Maybe we could have shipped him out for a prospect as well. His strikeout numbers are still relatively high but despite that he is still mashing.

A Star Amongst Shit

Jorge Polanco seen on a shooting star, soaring above the Minnesota Twins.
Jorge Polanco is a shooting star!

Polanco has been one of the most consistent hitters on the club since 2018 not named Nelson Cruz. His offensive skills can lead the shittiest of teams on a streaks, like another shortstop out on the West Coast. It’s all a matter of when he finally decides to get it going and for how long will he play at that level.

Sure, Polanco is not Fernando Tatis Jr. That’s not what I’m saying at all. But Polanco does have the same value to the Twins as Tatis Jr does to the Padres. He’s a poor man’s (or teams) Tatis Jr.

Prior to Polanco’s hot streak, the team leader in Wins Above Replacement (WAR) was Bryron Buxton.. Buxton only played a few games in July before going back on the IL. That’s fucking pathetic! Now, Polanco is currently first in WAR with 4.3 and is on pace to break his career high of 4.7 set back in 2019.

The Twins don’t deserve Polanco, especially with what they are paying him! This season, Polanco is set to make $4.3 million.

Well, after doing some research, Polanco has actually been worth more than the $4.3 million. In fact, he’s worth roughly $27 million. He’s been an every day player since he got a full time role in 2017, playing in at least 80% of games since then (minus his suspension for PEDS in 2018). The Twins have gotten away with robbery so far. The more he plays, the more he produces as every valuable player should. We paid him to be a .260ish hitter that’ll have some pop and drive in runs at shortstop. Not hit .280 with 30 home runs and 90 RBI. Shortstops aren’t supposed to do that, unless your name is Fernando Tatis Jr.

But in all honesty, we can thank Polanco for the month of August and all this team has done during this stretch. He is easily the Most Valuable Player for the Twins. He’ll finish top 10 in MVP voting if he keeps this up.

Polanco and Tatis Jr are more similar than you think

Tatis Jr has been hurt for small periods of time this season. When he’s not playing, the Padres offense goes cold. Much like when Polanco was non-existent for the Twins at times this season. These two have a massive impact on how their respective teams perform. Sure, Miguel Sano seems to be hitting the ball around lately but not at the level of Polanco. **Also, S/O to Lancman for getting Sano going. He must’ve had someone read him the article**

When Tatis Jr. came back from his most recent injury, he seemed to catch fire for a bit. However, he’s now been very cold and is batting .100 over the last 7 days and the Padres are falling behind in the race for a Wild Card spot in the National League. When Polanco was struggling to get his shit together for most of the year, the Twins seemed to follow suit. Even with Nelson Cruz and Byron Buxton (when he was healthy) in the lineup. But once August hit, Polanco seemed to light that spark under this teams miserable ass. Because of that, they are now on pace to win more games this month than their previous high of 13 set back in May. Obviously that’s nothing special with us being 15 games under .500, but it’s better than nothing.

Baseball nerd talk

Per baseball reference, Polanco has a higher Wins Probability Added (WPA) than Tatis Jr does (4.0 to 3.7). That equation shows how many wins this player would add to an otherwise average team. Not bad, right? Very similar stats for two seemingly different players.

Another thing these two have in common is that they are absolutely terrible when it comes to fielding. Tatis Jr is currently tied for the lead in errors with 20, while Polanco has 11. Though Polanco actually has a positive dWAR (defensive Wins Above Replacement) at .07 while Tatis Jr. is hovering around -.04. Hopefully the transition to outfield will be good for Tatis Jr. for more than just his health.

Obviously Tatis Jr is a better player than Polanco. But the value Polanco provides to this sorry sack of shit Twins team is undoubtably similar to the value Tatis Jr provides to the Padres. Each team sinks or swims with each players performance.

Most Important Player and Most Important Player

The way the MVP award works is a bit different than a lot of people think. It’s not always the player with the best stats. Yes, that is a tremendous way to measure a player, but it typically means what player is most valuable to their team. That’s why Mike Trout hasn’t won 1,000 MVP’s yet. He puts up big numbers year after year but his team fucking sucks with or without him. Tatis Jr has a strong case for MVP this year because of that. Not only is he putting up big numbers, but his team is infinitely better with him playing. They NEED him if they are to get going again.

To reiterate, Polanco is just as valuable to the Twins as Tatis Jr is to the Padres. That is why I’m proclaiming Polanco as the Most Important Player in the AL. He has proven he can carry a team for stretches and win. But because the Twins don’t have pitching and because there’s some cool two-way player on the Angels named Shohei Ohtani, he won’t stand a chance for getting 1st place votes.

We’ll see how the next 5-6 weeks play out, but watch for Polanco to continue his hot stretch. He could finish with over 30 home runs and around 90 runs batted in all while helping this team finish with a 72-90 record. Without him, they could have easily been around 80 losses already, like the Orioles… maybe not as bad as them though.

I hope to see Polanco continue to improve throughout the course of his contract here in Minnesota. Polanco, don’t fail me now!