Rejoice, Pittsburgh Pirates fans, the moment we have all been waiting for is finally here. According to Tim Williams of PiratesProspects.com, the Pirates will promote top prospect Gregory Polanco for Friday’s game against the Milwaukee Brewers at PNC Park.
Polanco began the year as a consensus top-20 prospect, but he skyrocketed up to a top-three prospect by the beginning of June due to outstanding numbers this year at Triple-A Indianapolis. In 249 plate appearances in 2014, Polanco hit .351/.410/.547 with a 168 wRC+. Polanco has the potential to be an elite hitter at the MLB level, but he is more than just a one-trick pony.
Along with being a great hitter, Polanco also has the ability to play exceptional defense in the outfield and run the bases at an above-average level. When he joins the Pirates on Friday, the Bucs will probably have the best defensive outfield in baseball with Starling Marte in left, Andrew McCutchen in center and Polanco in right. That’s a whole lot of range and speed.
If not for financial reasons, the Pirates would have had Polanco start the season in the big leagues. However, due to “Super Two” reasons, they had to wait until mid-June to promote their prized prospect. Basically, by waiting until now to promote him, they are saving roughly $10-15 million down the road. You can call it cheap, and I have as well, but many baseball pundits call it smart. I can see both arguments and I have changed my mind about how I feel about it way too many times to count. It’s a moot point now, anyway — Polanco time is here.
As with any newcomer joining the 25-man roster, someone currently on the roster must go. The two obvious candidates are Jose Tabata and Travis Snider. However, if the Pirates want to get creative, they could option the struggling Starling Marte to Triple-A for a few weeks until they find a trade partner for either Tabata or Snider. Marte has been making mental blunders as well as physical mistakes this season, so maybe a trip to the minors would give him a much-needed wake up call.