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Player Profile: Gregory Polanco, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates

Will Polanco look more like his 2016 or 2017 self this upcoming season?

MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at Arizona Diamondbacks Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Stats

Year Team PA AVG OBP HR SB BB% K% GB/FB Hard%
Year Team PA AVG OBP HR SB BB% K% GB/FB Hard%
2015 Pirates 652 0.256 0.320 9 27 8.4% 18.6% 1.30 30.3%
2016 Pirates 587 0.258 0.323 22 17 9.0% 20.3% 1.05 35.7%
2017 Pirates 411 0.251 0.305 11 8 6.6% 14.6% 1.13 25.9%

Polanco was a highly rated prospect coming up through the Pirates minor league system. He was seen as a potential breakout fantasy star after posting a 22 home runs and 17 stolen bases in 2016. Sadly, his 2017 was not so impressive. His home run rate dropped as he had averaged a home run every 26.7 plate appearances in 2016, but in 2017 he was only averaging a home run every 37.4 plate appearances. He was only making hard contact 25.9% of the time last season, which was nearly 10% less of what he was making in 2016. I would expect his hard contact rate to be in between these two numbers. Most likely somewhere around the 30-31% mark. Due to this I am not going to project 25 plus home runs, but 20 home runs seems very achievable for the pudding star.

Now Polanco’s 27.7 sprint is just above average so we should look at him more as a 10 stolen base threat rather than a 20 stolen base threat. He does have a good contact rate, so it wouldn’t be too much to expect a decent batting average. His plate discipline on the other hand was well below average in 2017. If he can work on his plate discipline and bring back some of that power we saw in 2016, he could be a fantasy stud in 2018.