Jorge Polanco got a long-term contract extension from the Twins in February and opposing pitchers haven’t gotten him out since.
Okay, that might be hyperbole, but Polanco has had a white-hot start to the season and it continued Monday in the Twins’ 9-5 victory over the Astros. The shortstop went 4-for-5 with his fourth home run of the season, tying his career high with four RBI.
It’s the second time this month that Polanco has had four hits in a game, as he went 5-for-5 while hitting for the cycle back on April 5 in Philadelphia. Among shortstops, he’s the first to have multiple games of 4+ hits and 2+ extra-base hits in his team’s first 20 games since Jose Reyes accomplished the feat with the Mets back in 2007.
The big night at the dish pushed Polanco’s season line to a blistering .392/.452/.716. Among American Leaguers, only Mike Trout has a higher OPS than Polanco’s 1.168 mark.
With a high contact rate (14.3 percent strikeout rate), improving hard-hit rate (it was at a career-high 39.7 percent going into Monday’s game) and good speed, Polanco is built like a .300 hitter. He also had a career-high 55.4 percent flyball rate going into Monday, so we could see a power breakout, too, if he can have a little more luck in the HR/FB department.
The only complaint you can have about Polanco to this point is he’s 0-for-1 in stolen base attempts. However, while he’s never been an efficient base stealer, he would still seem like a good bet for double digits. It’s a potentially nice five-category package to get from a guy who was taken outside the top-250 in Yahoo drafts.
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Jacob Just Fine
Jacob deGrom. Sore elbow. MRI.
Those words last Friday rightfully sent chills down the spines of Mets fans and deGrom’s fantasy owners. As it turns out, though, the reigning National League Cy Young winner appears to be fine.
DeGrom did finally wind up undergoing an MRI on Monday, and it came back “good, clean, no problems whatsoever,” according to general manger Brodie Van Wagenen. The exam was so encouraging that deGrom was allowed to throw a bullpen session Monday and that, also, went off without a hitch.
The right-hander was placed on the injured list last Friday, but he’s eligible to rejoin the rotation this Friday and it sounds like that will happen, barring a setback. Exhale, Mets fans.
Even though deGrom appears to be okay, it sounds like the Mets could still be on the lookout for some rotation insurance.
The interest makes sense, as fifth starter Jason Vargas has been terrible, posting a 9.58 ERA and 6/7 K/BB ratio over 10 1/3 innings. He also held a 5.77 ERA across 20 starts for the Mets last season after being given a two-year, $16 million contract. The team’s rotation depth behind Vargas is also lacking.
Gonzalez isn’t a safe bet, of course, as he’s now 33 and posted a 4.21 ERA and 1.44 WHIP over 32 starts last season. His strikeout rate was also a career-low 19.8 percent and walk rate an eight-year high at 10.7 percent. Gonzalez had a 19/6 K/BB ratio over 15 innings in three starts for the Yankees’ Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre affiliate but also held a 6.00 ERA.
Still, kicking the tires on Gonzalez is a no-brainer for the Mets, especially since he surely can be had on the cheap. The Brewers also reportedly have interest.
Fowler Finding Groove
Expectations for Dexter Fowler were minimal coming into this season after last year’s disaster. He’s done his best lately to try to prove his doubters wrong.
Fowler had a big night at the plate Monday in the Cardinals’ 13-5 blowout win over the Brewers, going 4-for-5 with his first home run of the season. It was his first four-hit game as a Cardinal and he drove in four runs and scored three times.
Over his last eight games, Fowler has seen his OPS rise from .546 to .835 thanks to a blistering 14-for-30 stretch. He has recorded multiple hits in five of those eight contests.
With just the one home run and also only one stolen base in his first 21 games, Fowler still has a ways to go to really pique fantasy owners’ interests. He can still draw a walk (11.7 percent walk rate), though, and he’s started to hit for more extra-base pop of late. Perhaps the 33-year-old still has something left in the tank.
National League Quick Hits: Nolan Arenado went 3-for-4 with a homer – his 1,000th career hit -- two RBI and three runs scored on Monday in a victory over the Nationals. … Paul Goldschmidt went 3-for-4 with a homer and three RBI in a rout of the Brewers on Monday … Daniel Murphy (finger) could rejoin the Rockies on Tuesday. … Jean Segura (hamstring) is expected to be activated from the disabled list on Saturday. … Gregory Polanco went 2-for-4 with a double, a walk and two runs scored in his season debut Monday against Arizona … Anthony Rendon (elbow) remained out of the Nationals' lineup Monday. … Eduardo Escobar went 3-for-5 with a homer, three RBI and a walk as the Diamondbacks routed the Pirates on Monday. … Kyle Freeland (blister) landed on the IL Monday but expects to miss just one start. … Michael Wacha (knee) was placed on the IL Monday but is expected to miss only one outing. … Max Scherzer (intercostal) is on his normal between-starts routine and on track to make his scheduled start Friday against the Padres. … Jack Flaherty allowed four runs but whiffed 10 in a win over the Brewers. … Steven Matz struck out six over six innings of one-run ball in Monday’s win over the Phillies … Jeff McNeil went 2-for-3 and hit his first homer of the year against the Phillies on Monday. … Ryan Braun went 2-for-4 with a homer in a loss to the Cardinals on Monday. … Mike Moustakas (finger) remained out of the Brewers' lineup Monday but took some swings pre-game. … David Robertson (elbow) could be cleared to resume throwing when the Phillies return home later this week.
American League Quick Hits: Nathan Eovaldi will undergo surgery to remove a loose body from his right elbow and is expected to be sidelined for 4-6 weeks. … Blake Snell (toe) threw another bullpen session Monday but will not be activated from the injured list when first eligible on Wednesday. … Jose Abreu went 3-for-6 with a homer and five RBI as the White Sox crushed the Orioles on Monday. … Austin Meadows’ right thumb sprain won’t require surgery and he hopes to miss just a few weeks. … The Rangers are hoping Rougned Odor (knee) will be ready for activation as soon as this weekend. … Hunter Dozier homered again Monday before exiting with back spasms. … Danny Duffy (shoulder) will rejoin the Royals' rotation on Friday versus the Angels. … Stephen Piscotty went 2-for-3 with a homer and three RBI in a win over the Rangers on Monday. … Jorge Soler went 2-for-4 and homered against the Rays in Monday's loss. … The White Sox placed Eloy Jimenez on the bereavement list. … Chris Bassitt didn’t allow a run over five innings while allowing just two hits and fanning seven against the Rangers on Monday. … James McCann went 3-for-5 with a homer and four RBI against the Orioles on Monday … Ronald Guzman (hamstring) is on track to be activated from the injured list on April 30. … The Yankees signed Brad Miller to a minor league contract.