Gregory Polanco is a name you’ll be hearing a lot about within the next year or so. We wrote a bit about him last winter, looking at his five-tool talent in the minor leagues.
Hitting is one of his best assets, and it’s on display right now in the Dominican Winter League. As of last night, “The Walking Toolshed” was hitting .500 (10-for-20) with four doubles, three homers, eight RBI, 23 total bases, and a 1.175 OPS through five games.
Some are taking notice, including ESPN analyst/former big league manager Manny Acta:
and Baseball America writer Ben Badler, who’s praised Polanco in the past:
Check out these GIFs of his recent performance from @27imokemp…
As you can see, Polanco is a 6’4″ giant with a sweet swing. Just by watching those three GIFs, it’s hard not to get excited about his future as the Pirates’ right fielder.
He’s currently rated as the 13th best prospect by MLB.com. He cooled off at the plate near the end of the 2013 season between Altoona and Indianapolis, so there’s reason to believe he needs more polish at the minor league level. But if the Pirates can’t re-sign Marlon Byrd or add someone else, is it too early to campaign for Polanco to become the starting right fielder? At least by mid-2014, right? He’s only 22 so there’s no rush, but an outfield of Starling Marte, Andrew McCutchen, and Gregory Polanco from left to right is just scary.
You can follow him on Twitter at @El_Coffee.