BLUF: All-Star and five-tool potential but still very raw and in need of significant development.
The Player: Gregory Polanco (OF, Pittsburgh Pirates) – Debuted with the DSL Pirates in 2009 with a .267/.370/.357 line in 63 games. Came Stateside in 2010 and struggled with a .202/.245/.287 line and only nine extra-base hits in 200 plate appearances. Returned to the GCL in 2011 and hit .237 with four doubles, four triples, four home runs and 18 steals. Made a three-game cameo in the NYPL late in the 2011 season. Broke out at Low-A in 2012 with a .325/.389/.516 line that includes 25 doubles and 15 home runs through 110 games.
Basis of Report: Compilation – Personal Observation (NYPL 2011), Industry Contacts
Body (6-4, 180): Long, lean and athletic. Big time projection. Good body. Still has some maturing to do physically. Could be a beast with plus athleticism. Plus-plus frame.
Hit: Inconsistent trigger with hands and can be late starting his swing at times. Lunges at the ball on occasion, striding too far out and forcing his head to move up and down. Good hands with plus bat speed in the zone. Gets a little long and needs to stay short to and through the ball. Makes easy contact and doesn’t have a ton of swing and miss. Solid approach for age with good pitch recognition and knowledge of the strike zone. Potential to be a plus hitter that pushes a .290 average. Would be exposed against better pitching right now but is making rapid strides. Grade – 30/60
Power: Good bat speed. Ball jumps off his bat to all fields. Trusts hands and doesn’t sell out for power. Plenty of gap power now and should have more over-the-fence power with added physical maturation. Good strength and some present loft in swing. Potential for 30 doubles and 20 home runs if everything comes together. Grade (raw power) – 50/60
Arm: Doesn’t stand out but has enough strength to make throws from anywhere. Good release and good accuracy on his throws. Solid-average arm that could improve slightly with more strength. Grade – 50/50
Fielding: Very raw. Rawest part of his game. Has speed to cover both gaps. Must improve reads and routes to the ball. Often late breaking and doesn’t work directly to the ball. Has raw potential to be above-average defender but is well-below average right now. Making slow strides and will have to adjust to larger parks as he moves up. Could take a while for defensive potential to manifest. Grade – 30/50
Speed: Plus raw speed but doesn’t always know how to use it. Has potential to steal 15-20 bases with improved instincts and reads on the bases. Speed is an asset but not fully utilized because of crude instincts. Has improved but still has a ways to go. Athletic enough to maintain speed. Grade – 60/60
Summation: Even with improvement, still a huge gap between present and potential. Potential for three plus tools (hit, power, speed) and a well-rounded skill set that includes a good hitting approach. Tools all have potential to manifest in game action. Instincts are rough and need to catch up to raw tools, allowing them to translate to in-game skills. Can dream on the body. Raw potential for .290, 20 HR, 15 steal ceiling with good defense up the middle. Really intriguing player with All-Star ceiling but a long way from it.
Relative Risk: High. So much can still go wrong in his development. Boom or bust type prospect.
Future: Made huge strides and should be in line for a promotion to High-A Bradenton in 2013. Still raw enough that he won’t be on the big league radar until late 2014 at the absolute earliest. Could provide another highly-athletic, highly-talented outfielder in Pittsburgh by 2015.