by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
There were high hopes for Gregory Polanco entering the season, but he’s simply failed to produce hitting .250 with 3 HR and 20 RBI over 191 PA entering play on Tuesday. It would be easy to give up on him, considering the numbers, but are we really prepared to given the potential?
It was just last season that he hit 22 HR with 17 SB, which led to us saying this in our 2017 Preseason Draft Guide:
“The power exploded with 22 HR (as well as 34 doubles and 4 triples), while also maintaining some speed (17 SB) to give him the potential to morph into a 20/20 candidate. The problem was his average, as he hit .258 but struggled to a .220 mark in the second half. Looking at his numbers it screams of him starting to swing for the fences, with his line drive rate falling (26.7% to 20.6%) and his fly ball rate rising (32.8% to 42.8%). He seemed to start figuring it out in September (25.7% line drive rate), which is promising. He proved he can hit the ball hard while also making consistent contact, so he could easily take the next step in ’17 and is an outfielder to target.”
His line drive rate has been down thus far (20.0%), but it’s an inflated groundball rate (45.5%) not fly ball rate (34.5%) that’s been the problem. That is until June, where he entered play with a 58.1% fly ball mark. It’s a bad sign, though it luckily hasn’t led to a spike in swinging strikes (7.5%) so maybe it’s just an aberration.
Regardless, his Hard% of 22.8% places him 287th out of 306 players with at least 100 PA this season. The problem isn’t against fourseam fastballs or sinkers, but against breaking balls and offspeed pitches:
- Changeup – .143
- Slider – .212
- Curveball – .182
That’s a similar issue that he had in ’16, and he’s also struggled against southpaws:
- LHP – .218/.283/.273
- RHP – .265/.338/.410
The fact that neither of these things are “new” problems just adds to the concerns. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t upside, and he should get hot at some point, though it does mean that he could ultimately fall short of the lofty expectations we had for him. Does that mean it’s time to cut bait and move on? We wouldn’t be that hasty, but it does mean he’s worth monitoring closely (and potentially shifting to your bench when there’s a slew of left-handed pitchers on the schedule).
Don’t push the panic button, especially after experiencing all this bad, but don’t get complacent either.
Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball
Make sure to check out all of our updated rankings:
|First Base||June 3|
|Second Base||June 5|