Under-the-Radar Target: Why Jorge Polanco Is Worthy Of Your Attention

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

While he doesn’t get much attention, the Twins’ Jorge Polanco posted a solid season in ’17 across the board.  Whether or not he can maintain it, or even expand on it, is the question as we look ahead towards 2018.  First, let’s look at the numbers:

488 At Bats
.256 Batting Average (125 Hits)
13 Home Runs
74 RBI
60 Runs
13 Stolen Bases
.313 On Base Percentage
.410 Slugging Percentage
.278 Batting Average on Balls in Play

While the average wasn’t strong, his approach at the plate was.  He made consistent contact (5.8% SwStr%) and didn’t stray outside the zone very often (26.9% O-Swing%).  You would think that would bring better results, though overall he simply didn’t hit the ball very hard (19.3% line drive rate).  Things changed as the season progressed, though, and it could give a glimpse of the future:

  • First Half – .224
  • Second Half – .293

He was hitting the ball harder after the All-Star Break (21.7%), though before we simply buy the improved number it was skewed.  He posted a 28.6% line drive rate in August, only to watch it sink back to 16.1% in September.  That is a bit of a concern, but even at his current rates we’d expect a .265-.275 average thanks to his strong approach and the anticipation of a better BABIP.

Polanco has never been thought of as a power prospect, though he did add 30 doubles last season.  He hit 10 HR in the second half, and a 12.5% HR/FB isn’t unreasonable.  Considering he’s still just 24-years old and maturing, seeing him hit 15-18 HR annually shouldn’t be a stretch.  It’s a step up from what had initially been expected, though Rich Wilson of Prospect 361 noted prior to the ’16 season that:

“He has plenty of bat speed and at a solid 5-foot-11 and 200 pounds, has enough physicality to hit 8 to 12 home runs.”

It’s not a huge leap, and with his approach and speed we are looking at a potential .270/15/15 shortstop who could develop into even more (specifically from the average).  Considering no one is paying attention, that makes him an ideal player to target late in your fantasy drafts.  He may not alone win you a league, but he’s the type of under-the-radar upside play that could drive you up the standings.

Sources – Fangraphs, Prospect 361

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Make sure to check out all of our 2018 Projections:

Player
Date Published
Cano, Robinson10/09/17
Castillo, Luis10/03/17
Gerrit Cole10/30/17
Didi Gregorius11/20/17
Wil Myers10/24/17
Quintana, Jose11/13/17
Sanchez, Aaron12/05/17
Schoop, Jonathan11/27/17
Stroman, Marcus10/16/17
Walker, Taijuan 11/06/17

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