Prospect Highlights: Gregory Polanco Moves to Lead-Off Spot

Gregory Polanco moved to the lead-off spot last night for Indianapolis, which led to speculation that he will bat lead-off for the Pittsburgh Pirates when he comes up. That is probably a safe assumption and the move gives him about ten days to get used to batting in the top spot. Polanco already has a solid approach at the plate and the speed to make things happen once he gets on base. He eventually will hit for more power, so he isn’t a long-term solution at the top spot, but for now, he fits the mold of a lead-off hitter.

The only problem I see with the move is what you see in the video below, another RBI hit. This season, he is hitting .467 with runners in scoring position and because of that, Polanco leads the International League and all Pirates minor leaguers with 46 RBIs. Sure he fits the lead-off mold now with speed and ability to get on base, but he also fits the mold(and need) of a middle of the order hitter. The homers will eventually come and six already this season isn’t bad, so the decision to move him to the top spot is going to take away some of that strength. In reality, wherever you put him, there is going to be a hole somewhere else and until they clone Polanco, you just have to fill the biggest need.

You could compare Polanco to what happened with Barry Bonds. He started as a lead-off hitter, but once he became too good for the spot, his bat fit better in the middle of the lineup. That kind of career path in the lineup could be the same for Polanco. We should see that path lead to Pittsburgh very soon.

The second video was the only other highlight video uploaded, which isn’t hard to believe when the four Pirates affiliates combine for six runs. The Hit Collector does what he does best, driving in his 30th run of the season with this sixth inning single

John Dreker

Author: John Dreker

John was born in Kearny, NJ, hometown of the 2B for the Pirates 1909 World Championship team, Dots Miller. In fact they have some of the same relatives in common, so it was only natural for him to become a lifelong Pirates fan. Before joining Pirates Prospects in July 2010, John had written numerous articles on the history of baseball while also releasing his own book and co-authoring another on the history of the game. He writes a weekly article on Pirates history for the site, has already interviewed many of the current minor leaguers with many more on the way and follows the foreign minor league teams very closely for the site. John also provides in person game reports of the West Virginia Power and Altoona Curve.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/andy.prough.3 Andy Prough

    You could keep Harrison at the top of the order and make him your everyday 3rd baseman. And give Polanco the #6 spot. LOL.

  • leadoff

    IMO, Polanco will bat leadoff if Harrison is not in the lineup, St.Louis batted Travaras in the 6 hole. IMO, the Pirates probably would love to do the same thing, but circumstances are a little different. I think what will be interesting will be the corresponding moves coming up when Polanco comes up. The Pirates have a couple of players to trade and a couple of needs. IMO, Tabata is probably safe, but Morris and Snyder could both be gone.

  • Thom

    McCutchen hit leadoff for most of his first two seasons as well.

  • bucsws2014

    I was waiting for this to happen.

    June 9th is looking good.

  • Y2JGQ2

    John- everyone knows/knew that Polanco was specifically being groomed to be a leadoff hitter, so i’m not sure why you are making it sound like it takes away a potential benefit for the Pirates. Whom else can lead off now that Marte has failed in that position? His plate presence and speed will be ultimately important in that role, way more than in an RBI role where he will likely be overmatched at times in the major leagues. His ability to get walks and steal bases doesn’t require him to drive in runs, and no rookie should have the expectation that his job is to drive in runs. That being said, there is nowhere else in the lineup where having him would make any sense (unless we put the human walk machine mccutchen back in the leadoff spot)