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Wednesday, January 24, 2018

2018 FANTASY BASEBALL DRAFT SLEEPER: GREGORY POLANCO OUTFIELDER PITTSBURGH PIRATES

Is it possible for a still young but veteran player to qualify as a post-hype sleeper?  Well in the case of Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Gregory Polanco, the description certainly fits as we move toward the upcoming 2018 fantasy baseball season.  After all, last year at this time Polanco was one of those "must have" players who seemed set to burst into top-tier five-category land like his position mates Andrew McCutchen and Starling Marte did before him.  Blessed with top-end speed and developing power, Polanco just needed to get a high K rate under control before things really took off.  Unfortunately, pretty much nothing went right for Polanco in 2017 and his season was one big source of stress for his fantasy baseball owners as he hit the DL three separate times with ongoing hamstring trouble.  With the hammy not sound, Polanco's offensive numbers cratered until they came out at the end of the season looking like this:

.251
11 HR
35 RBI
39 R
8 SB

All of those numbers were accumulated in just 108 games and so Polanco went bust all the way around.  There is no denying how frustrating it was to own Polanco last season but some perspective does need to be added here with spring training getting set to get underway.  For one thing, Polanco is still just 26 years and so he is just now starting to get to his prime years.  In addition, Polanco actually made some big inroads with the strikeouts in his limited time last season which is a potentially big positive going forward.  After posting a 20.3 K/9 in 2016, Polanco dropped that number down to a tiny 14.6 as year ago.  108 games is not a completely small sample size and so some validity should be added to what he did there.  Throw in the power that had Polanco hitting 22 home runs as recently as 2016 and speed that stole 27 bags in 2015 and all the guy has to do is stay healthy long enough to put all of those skills together.  If that happens, Polanco becomes this years version of Tommy Pham.

In the end, Gregory Polanco is a very good buy low candidate this season as his ADP has slipped too far down than where it should be.  Taking advantage of market inequalities such as this is always a good strategy toward winning your league and so Polanco is a guy you need to highlight on your cheat sheets this spring.

2018 PROJECTION:  .263 23 HR 84 RBI 88 R 24 SB  


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