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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Gregory Polanco Scouting Report (2014)

Polanco is up.

Edit: Link fixed. Sorry.

Jim Furtado Posted: June 10, 2014 at 06:04 AM | 25 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: pirates

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   1. Russ Posted: June 10, 2014 at 06:34 AM (#4722337)
Fixed link.

Polanco = Pirate playoff hopes defibrillator

Probably the most fun thing about this is that the Pirate OF just became the place where flyballs and line drives will go to die. All three players could handle CF... will be interesting to see where this OF ranks amongst best fielding OF's of recent vintage.

   2. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: June 10, 2014 at 06:42 AM (#4722339)
Yep. I'm not sure if it's the best defensive outfield in the majors because McCutchen is nowhere near the level of a Carlos Gomez and the center fielder is far more important than either of the corner guys... but it's definitely the best corner outfield defense in the majors. McCutchen is the CF because he's the superstar and he got there first, and he's not a bad CF... and he may be the weakest fielder of the three.
   3. Brian Posted: June 10, 2014 at 01:00 PM (#4722565)
How can Polanco be a good defensive outfielder? He has been kept in the minors, despite being ready offensively, precisely to work on his routes to fly balls and to clean up his overall slovenly defensive play. I guess the hard work and extra time paid off in a "Eureka" moment.

It's in their best long term interest but when a team finally, after a literal lifetime for many of their younger fans, gets competitive I think they should make every effort to follow that up with a good faith effort to win. The Pirates didn't and have wasted a year. Screw them.
   4. jmurph Posted: June 10, 2014 at 01:10 PM (#4722573)
I'm looking forward to seeing this outfield in action.

But I definitely agree with Brian. How exciting for Pittsburgh fans that their front office decided to play their best players starting with game 64.
   5. Russ Posted: June 10, 2014 at 01:50 PM (#4722596)
The most important thing is that the Pirates have replaced at least one of the sub-.700 OPS OF spots with Polanco. I imagine that Polanco should be able to OPS 700 or higher, which will be an improvement over whomever else is in LF or RF. Then the Pirates only need Marte OR Tabata to figure things out and then they might have the tools for a post-ASB run.
   6. AROM Posted: June 10, 2014 at 01:56 PM (#4722602)
Probably the most fun thing about this is that the Pirate OF just became the place where flyballs and line drives will go to die. All three players could handle CF... will be interesting to see where this OF ranks amongst best fielding OF's of recent vintage.


They'll cover a lot of ground, just make sure to remind the LF and RF that they are NOT playing center. And thus must back off when the actual CF calls them off. Having prime Carlos Beltran and Mike Cameron in the outfield looks good on paper, but painful in the emergency room.
   7. Russ Posted: June 10, 2014 at 02:25 PM (#4722636)
They'll cover a lot of ground, just make sure to remind the LF and RF that they are NOT playing center. And thus must back off when the actual CF calls them off. Having prime Carlos Beltran and Mike Cameron in the outfield looks good on paper, but painful in the emergency room.


If it were me, I would put the LF and RF close to the lines and that would allow me to play the 1b and 3b off of the bags. It's not like Alvarez is going to throw someone out after a diving stop at the line... just make sure that doesn't turn into a double.

It's too bad Polanco doesn't play shortstop... as bad as those OF numbers are, the SS are even worse. I just keep telling myself that NH offered a fair contract to Drew but that Drew turned it down because he's a jerk who doesn't want to play in Pittsburgh, rather than NH being a jerk who doesn't understand baseball.
   8. Rennie's Tenet Posted: June 10, 2014 at 04:37 PM (#4722777)
Neil Walker had an appendectomy yesterday, and so is out for several weeks. Josh Harrison has been playing right, mostly, and will move to second. You can't rule out the chance that Polanco goes back down if Walker bounces back quickly.
   9. Walt Davis Posted: June 10, 2014 at 05:36 PM (#4722832)
I don't really understand how, but Marte has positive Rbat with his 240/311/371 line. With the defense he's at a very solid 1.2 WAR already. Meanwhile Tabata's 293/331/338 line produces slightly negative Rbat. It's a thin difference but I'd have thought 20 points of OBP was worth more than 33 points of SLG. Maybe it's the run environment.

Of course you want more than a league average bat in a corner OF spot but Polanco doesn't even need a 700 OPS to be useful.

By the way, you guys back to thinking Ike Davis is OK? He's having an interesting year -- K rate is way down, walk rate is best of his career but HR/FB is down to league average. Adds up to typical Ike Davis production but if he can find that power while maintaining the new K/BB numbers, he'll take a big step forward.

But more WAR mystery. Marte is at 240/311/371 in 240 PA and that's +3 Rbat and a 93 OPS+. In Pitt, Davis has hit 252/363/385 -- beating Marte in all categories and crushing him in OBP -- good for a 112 OPS+ but that's only +1 Rbat in 160 PA. Even if there's some rounding error in there and Davis in 240 PA would be slightly ahead of Marte how does 20 points of OPS+ and 52 points of OBP and 14 points of SLG not lead to Davis absolutely crushing Marte's Rbat?
   10. cardsfanboy Posted: June 10, 2014 at 08:28 PM (#4722951)
Yep. I'm not sure if it's the best defensive outfield in the majors because McCutchen is nowhere near the level of a Carlos Gomez and the center fielder is far more important than either of the corner guys... but it's definitely the best corner outfield defense in the majors. McCutchen is the CF because he's the superstar and he got there first, and he's not a bad CF... and he may be the weakest fielder of the three.


The Brewers, outfield defense is pretty good. Not as fast as the Pirates with Polanco, but Braun's speed is underrated(he's a 40/40 guy) I'm not sure that anyone is better overall or even on the corners, than the Brewers.
   11. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: June 10, 2014 at 08:46 PM (#4722957)
He's listed on BREF as 6'4", 220. But he has shown surprisingly little power in the minors. His high in HRs is 16 in a full season of A ball a few years ago
   12. Bunny Vincennes Posted: June 11, 2014 at 04:31 AM (#4723099)
The Brewers OF defense is exceptional. How did St. Loius miss out.on Carlos Gomez? He is such a tremendously talented #######.
   13. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: June 11, 2014 at 09:27 AM (#4723158)
But I definitely agree with Brian. How exciting for Pittsburgh fans that their front office decided to play their best players starting with game 64.


I agree - it IS pretty exciting that after decades of rampant stupidity, the Pirates finally have a front office that's intelligent enough to place an appropriate value on the franchise's mid- and long-term interests. The ~$30M they probably saved by waiting until now to promote Polanco will go a long way toward ensuring that the team is still a legitimate contender in the latter part of this decade.

Or is that not what you meant?
   14. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: June 11, 2014 at 09:31 AM (#4723162)
I don't really understand how, but Marte has positive Rbat with his 240/311/371 line.


Probably baserunning, I think. 15 steals at a 75% success rate.
   15. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: June 11, 2014 at 09:44 AM (#4723168)
The Pirates probably won't be contenders after McCutchen leaves after 2018 no matter what they do, though.
   16. jmurph Posted: June 11, 2014 at 09:51 AM (#4723177)
I agree - it IS pretty exciting that after decades of rampant stupidity, the Pirates finally have a front office that's intelligent enough to place an appropriate value on the franchise's mid- and long-term interests. The ~$30M they probably saved by waiting until now to promote Polanco will go a long way toward ensuring that the team is still a legitimate contender in the latter part of this decade.


What "still?" They're not currently much of a contender. The version of your post I'd go with is "after decades of making no effort to win, the Pirates finally put together a good team, overacheived a bit and made the playoffs, then immediately went back to making winning a distant second priority."
   17. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: June 11, 2014 at 10:03 AM (#4723184)
I agree the Pirates were making no effort to win for a good chunk of the last 20 years, but I think the evidence is strong that that changed when the detestable Kevin McClatchy was forced out. Since then they've been trying to build a winner, and with some good luck succeeded in doing so for one year.

I'm as frustrated as any Pirates fan that the team didn't spend anything to improve this offseason, but... we don't really know if they tried. They might have been trying to sign several good players and couldn't, because who wants to play in Pittsburgh if they have a choice in the matter?

You'd think if Phil Hughes had turned down a Pirates offer, someone in the organization would have said, or at least let slip to a media member, "yeah, we offered Hughes as much as anybody but he wouldn't sign." I'm suspicious that the bottom line is ownership is unwilling to increase payroll beyond where it is right now, but I'm keeping an open mind the next few years. They have a definite window (2018, the end of the McCutchen Era).

It's not hard to find posts by me over this past winter advocating (a) that Polanco should have been in the Opening Day lineup, and also (b) the Pirates were unlikely to be contenders in 2014. I figured them for around 80 wins; it's going to end up being more like 75. I think the potential is still there to contend in 2015-2018, if they play their cards right (and pay to draw a few more cards).
   18. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: June 11, 2014 at 10:11 AM (#4723191)
What "still?" They're not currently much of a contender.


Next year, Polanco and Marte will both be a year older and better, and Taillon and maybe Kingham will be ready for the rotation, and Alen Hanson will be knocking on the door at short. The team has a very good young core that's just falling into place.

I agree the Pirates were making no effort to win for a good chunk of the last 20 years, but I think the evidence is strong that that changed when the detestable Kevin McClatchy was forced out. Since then they've been trying to build a winner, and with some good luck succeeded in doing so for one year.


Yep.

I'm as frustrated as any Pirates fan that the team didn't spend anything to improve this offseason, but... we don't really know if they tried. They might have been trying to sign several good players and couldn't, because who wants to play in Pittsburgh if they have a choice in the matter?


They tried to spend money this offseason - it was mostly on stupid stuff (which is a concern), but fortunately the players they were trying to spend it on turned them down. I'm glad they didn't end up overpaying for three years of James Loney, or devote a big chunk of their payroll to funding Josh Johnson's rehab. So, all's well that ends well, I guess?
   19. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: June 11, 2014 at 10:12 AM (#4723193)
Yeah, I can't say I approve of the players we DO know they tried to sign. I fear that Huntington may have a bit more Dayton Moore in him than is healthy for anyone.
   20. jmurph Posted: June 11, 2014 at 10:14 AM (#4723195)
Too late to edit my #16. "Distant" is probably an overbid. But their good young players are good right now. Not supporting that in deference to money saved 6 years from now is a tough sell.
   21. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: June 11, 2014 at 10:48 AM (#4723223)
Not supporting that in deference to money saved 6 years from now is a tough sell.


If you're talking about bringing Polanco up at the start of the year, then that money would start being saved as early as 2017 - well within the team's notional window of contention.
   22. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 11, 2014 at 10:57 AM (#4723228)
They have a definite window (2018, the end of the McCutchen Era).

If they manage to build a contender, is it inconceivable that they could extend McCutchen?
   23. Nasty Nate Posted: June 11, 2014 at 11:00 AM (#4723233)
It's silly to think "No McCutchen = No Contending" about a season 4 years in the future. This is baseball, not basketball.
   24. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: June 11, 2014 at 01:10 PM (#4723379)
By the way, you guys back to thinking Ike Davis is OK? He's having an interesting year -- K rate is way down, walk rate is best of his career but HR/FB is down to league average. Adds up to typical Ike Davis production but if he can find that power while maintaining the new K/BB numbers, he'll take a big step forward.

No last year after his demotion he had the best walk rate of his career, 32 BBs in just 138 PAs
his last 365 days: .254/.393/.409 in 361 PAs, that's an odd line, but you could certainly live with it (unless you are the type to obsess about people clogging the bases)

   25. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: June 11, 2014 at 01:55 PM (#4723424)
If they manage to build a contender, is it inconceivable that they could extend McCutchen?


Yes.

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