Tonight we begin to separate Gregory Polanco as mythological figure from Gregory Polanco as Major Leaguer.
There has been plenty to mythologize. Polanco rocketed from relative anonymity, a raw youngster struggling to hit in the Gulf Coast League, to prospect superstar status faster than it takes him to run 1st to 3rd. A blastoff season in 2012 (.325/.388/.522) for low-A West Virginia put him on the Big League track. And high expectations for each new level were met and surpassed -- quickly.
"I didn't know it was going to be that fast," Polanco said after his arrival in Pittsburgh. "I worked hard, I played hard to be where I want to be."
The 6-foot-4 athlete with five-tool potential sharpened into the 6-foot-4 dynamo with five tools, period. Prospect chatter turned into prospect hype. Now it seems Polanco would disappoint if he doesn't hit 40 homers, steal 40 bases, gun down baserunners from the Allegheny and leap the U.S. Steel Tower in a single bound.
James covers the Pirates beat for Pirates Prospects. He is a Broadcast Journalism student at USC and has written for such outlets as NBCOlympics.com, Pittsburgh Magazine and the official websites of the Los Angeles Clippers and Pittsburgh Penguins. James previously covered the Pirates for Pittsburgh Sports Report. He also broadcasts play-by-play for the USC Trojans baseball team and was awarded the 2013 Chick Hearn Memorial Scholarship and Allan Malamud Scholarship. James dispenses puns at his Twitter account (@JamesSantelli) where he promises to write in first-person.