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Friday, May 4, 2018

2018 FANTASY BASEBALL CRISIS POINT: GREGORY POLANCO OUTFIELDER PITTSBURGH PIRATES

It is always something with this guy.  By now it has become somewhat of a spring training tradition when talk begins to percolate about how THIS is going to be the year Pittsburgh Pirates multi-talented outfielder Gregory Polanco will become the five-tool star he was always being predicted to be.  Ever since he debuted with the Pirates back in 2014 at the ripe old age of 21, Polanco has shown flashes of that five-tool ability; in particular, the skills to hit for power and steals bases.  The high point for Polanco perhaps came in 2016 when he smacked 22 home runs, stole 17 bases, and batted .258 for the Pirates in 144 games.  While the average was not great, Polanco at least had four categories down bat (also including runs and RBI) which means 2017 was likely going to be even better considering he was not even in his prime year.

Go back to last season and Polanco received a giant mulligan from the fantasy baseball community as he spent has the season on the disabled list with unending leg/knee issues and that caused the HR/SB numbers to crater to just 11/8 to go with a .251 average.  Be that as it may, Polanco was STILL being talked about this past spring as a good value play since he was going to be just 26 and thus with full health, should be primed to have that big breakout we always anticipated.

Well fast forward to present day and Gregory Polanco has been nothing but a disaster all the way around as he currently sits with a pathetic .204 average to go with just 1 steal but a decent 6 home runs.  The power has actually been quite good which is encouraging but Polanco's average is in the toilet and he is not running for the second season in a row.  Now in dissecting things a bit more, it needs to be said that Polanco is drawing walks at a very good 12.6 BB/9 clip and that alone should help his average.  What the problem is though centers on Polanco's VERY unlucky .213 BABIP which is shockingly low for someone who has good speed like he has.  That means Polanco will likely see his average shoot way up over the next couple of weeks and if the power holds steady, we have something to work with here again at least in the OF 3 sense.  Polanco could also start running again as well once he gets on base more and that would further elevate his outlook.  So really, looking to do a buy low here is actually a good idea as the best of Polanco this season will be on the way shortly and getting in on that via a cheap acquisition price is a nice strategy to attempt.  The guy still has time to finally get it right here and so don't move away completely without giving him one more chance this season.


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