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June 10, 2014

The Call-Up

Gregory Polanco

by Ethan Purser and Paul Sporer


The Situation: Through Sunday, Pittsburgh’s right field triumvirate was collectively slashing .259/.313/.349, a relatively paltry line relative to the league average of .268/.337/.428. Meanwhile, in Indianapolis, Polanco has been assaulting International League pitching all season to the tune of a .945 OPS. As a member of the 40-man roster, Polanco has been the most logical answer for the team’s offensive woes in right field, but Pirates officials have cited developmental reasons for his continued stay in Triple-A. Accusations of service-time manipulation have been bandied about in light of the team’s less-than-stellar start to the season, and given the timeframe of the call up, more allegations are likely forthcoming.

Background: Polanco was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2009 for $150,000 and made his first appearance in a stateside league the following season, posting underwhelming numbers as an 18-year-old in the Gulf Coast League. He improved slightly in a repeat appearance in 2011 but had his true coming-out party in the prospect-heavy spotlight of the South Atlantic League, as the 20-year-old delivered on the promise of his immense physical tools en route to a .325/.388/.522 line. Baseball Prospectus ranked him as the no. 44 prospect in the game following that performance, setting a high bar for his continued development in 2013.

His play across three levels did not disappoint, as he posted a .285/.356/.434 line while facing much older competition in the Eastern League for the latter half of the season. He was ranked 24th in the game by the Prospect Staff and second overall in Pittsburgh’s system this past offseason, with Jason Parks noting some rawness in his overall game but a deep physical tools package that could one day mature into an all-star-type player in the majors. Despite some concerns about the overall polish in his game, Polanco made a mockery of the International League, posting a .347/.405/.540 line with 17 doubles, five triples, seven bombs and a 24:44 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 274 plate appearances.

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4 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

ForceX

Welcome to The Show, Mr. Polanco.

Jun 10, 2014 13:35 PM
rating: 0
 
sbnirish77

"There’s nothing in Polanco’s game that suggest he won’t succeed, but immediate production is never guaranteed with youngsters."

See Travis Snider.

Pretty sure his bio at an even younger age would read better than Mr. Polanco's today.

Jun 10, 2014 17:04 PM
rating: 0
 
MPC203

The debut is looking like advertised: strong contact on the opposite field single, good approach at the plate, nice speed down the line, good range in right but an awkward looking misplay on the Rizzo double.

The Cubs have started him with called strikes on low and away fastballs just about every time so far. I wonder what the scouting report is on Polanco both on first pitches and low/away heaters. Looked like they knew he would lay off.

Jun 10, 2014 19:14 PM
rating: 0
 
Brad Clark

Saw this guy a bunch in AA. He has a huge butt. That's really all you need to know.

Jun 12, 2014 10:15 AM
rating: 0
 
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<< Previous Article
Moonshot: Learning fro... (06/10)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article The Call-Up: Eddie But... (06/05)
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Premium Article The Call-Up: Andrew He... (06/17)
Next Article >>
The 2013 Redraft (06/10)

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