Here's the Twins batting order and starting lineup for today's season opener against the Royals.
The lineup is pretty close to what many thought it would be, although Joe Mauer batting fourth against Royals lefty Danny Duffy might come as a surprise to some. There's a good chance Mauer bats fourth regularly against right-handed pitchers this season.
The back of the order has a lot of potential with Jorge Polanco, Max Kepler and Eddie Rosario.
Another new Opening Day shortstop
From 1985-2004 the Twins went through three regular shortstops: Greg Gagne, Pat Meares and Christian Guzman.
Consistency at the position has been missing for more than a decade now, and in today's Home Opener against the Kansas City Royals the Twins will trot Jorge Polanco out to shortstop, making him their 11th different Opening Day shortstop since 2005. (Hat tip to Phil Miller for the statistic)
- 2005: Jason Bartlett
- 2006: Juan Castro
- 2007: Jason Bartlett
- 2008: Adam Everett
- 2009: Nick Punto
- 2010: J.J. Hardy
- 2011: Alexi Casilla
- 2012: Jamey Carroll
- 2013: Pedro Florimon
- 2014: Pedro Florimon
- 2015: Danny Santana
- 2016: Eduardo Escobar
- 2017: Jorge Polanco
Shortstop has been a glaring hole for Minnesota during an era where shortstops have been really good, including six of the best in the game, all age 24 or younger.
- Indians: Francisco Lindor, 23
- Astros: Carlos Correa, 22
- Dodgers: Corey Seager, 22
- Red Sox: Xander Boegarts, 24
- Cubs: Addison Russell, 23
- Nationals: Trea Turner, 23
Polanco, 23, has a chance to make a name for himself as Minnesota's everyday shortstop. He hit .282 with 4 homers, 27 RBI, 4 triples and 15 doubles in 69 games with the Twins last season. More on his offensive skills from CBS Sports.
"Polanco made contact at an 84% clip last season, above league average (80%), and his contact percentages on both balls and strikes were well above league average as well. He limits his swings and misses (6.8 SwStr%), and while he won’t hit many home runs, he does have the pop to hit doubles and enough speed to leg out triples."
According to Twins Daily, Polanco's bat is less of a concern than his defense. He committed 11 errors playing shortstop in 47 games last season and the Pioneer Press notes that he skipped quite a few balls to first base this spring.