Blowers: The key to Mariners 2B Jorge Polanco’s turnaround

Apr 16, 2024, 5:07 PM | Updated: Apr 21, 2024, 5:18 pm

Seattle Mariners second baseman Jorge Polanco...

Jorge Polanco of the Seattle Mariners during a 2024 game. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

After a rough start to the season, second baseman Jorge Polanco is starting to look like the hitter the Seattle Mariners envisioned when they acquired him in a trade with the Minnesota Twins this past January.

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Over his first 13 games with the Mariners, the 30-year-old switch hitter batted just .167 with one home run, five walks and an alarming 19 strikeouts.

But over the past four games, Polanco has gone 4-for-11 with two homers, six walks and four strikeouts. He hit a two-run blast in Sunday’s loss to the Chicago Cubs and then added a three-run shot in Monday’s win over the Cincinnati Reds.

What’s been the difference for Polanco?

Mariners analyst Mike Blowers of ROOT Sports discussed some positive signs for the veteran slugger during his appearance Tuesday on Seattle Sports’ Wyman and Bob.

“Last night, he was making them throw it in the zone,” Blowers said. “He had a couple of passes at a changeup and a slider that I thought, ‘OK, he slowed things down. He’s not overswinging. He’s not trying to do too much. This is starting to really look like the guy that we expect him to be.'”

Over his first 13 games, Polanco’s strikeout rate ballooned to 35.2%. That was nearly double the 18.2% strikeout rate he had during his 10 seasons with the Twins.

Polanco has shown better plate discipline over the past four games, which bodes well for his overall success in the box.

The Mariners ultimately hope that Polanco can be their answer at second base, which has seen a revolving door of limited offensive production ever since they traded away Robinson Canó following the 2018 season. Polanco hit .269/.335/.446 with 112 homers in 832 games with Minnesota, including a career-high 33 homers in 2021.

“He’s been trending (up lately), but it’s just been inconsistent,” Blowers said. “He’ll have a good at-bat, and then he’ll fall into some bad habits. And then he’ll have another good at-bat the next day, but fall into some bad habits.

“But this (recent four-game stretch) has been something he’s started to work his way to. And I thought last night was his best night as far as pitch recognition and the way that he was attacking the ball outside of the heater.”

To hear the full segment from Tuesday’s Wyman and Bob, listen at this link or in the audio player near the top of this post.

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Blowers: The key to Mariners 2B Jorge Polanco’s turnaround