When I was ranking the top ten players from the DSL last year, I had a lot of input on the team from first-hand sources and they all praised outfielder Tito Polo, saying he could do anything on the field. I got similar, but slightly lesser reports about outfielder Alexis Bastardo and decided to rank him one spot ahead of Polo for two reasons. Both players are about the same age and same size, so that was a wash there. Bastardo showed more plate patience though and he stayed healthy, while Polo missed games three different times due to hamstring issues. Plate patience is a good sign towards future success and so obviously is health. Well, both players are with the GCL Pirates this year and Polo is putting up the numbers people predicted, while Bastardo has played just twice due to shoulder soreness.
After playing his second season in the DSL last year, Polo also played in the Colombian Winter League for a second straight year and he saw much more playing time than he did the previous year. Not only that, he held his own in the league filled with mostly older players, including a handful of players with Major League experience. He batted .230 in 20 games, with six extra-base hits and he went 5-for-5 in stolen bases, helping his team to a first place finish. Most of the time, he was playing alongside another five-tool Pirates prospect, Harold Ramirez. The fact that Polo has stayed healthy through Winter ball and the early part of the season, is the reason we are seeing him succeed in the GCL this year.
Polo stands 5’11, listed at 180 pounds, which sounds small for a baseball player, but he is a physical specimen. He stole 22 bases last year and that was with hamstring issues for most of the season. He can field, throw, hit for some power and should be able to hit for average, as long as he doesn’t get himself out by chasing pitches. I heard an early report from the GCL that he was swinging at everything, yet he has drawn eight walks in 16 games, so there is some plate patience in his game. Polo has a .321/.415/.518 slash line this year, with seven extra-base hits, three stolen bases and three outfield assists.
He is definitely a player to follow this year in the GCL and assuming he plays Winter ball again, we will cover his off-season daily here. You can never have too many five-tool outfielders in your system and Polo seems to be adjusting well to the move to the United States so far.
Courtesy of the GCL Pirates fan page, we have three videos of Polo from this week. Not exactly the most exciting at-bats, but it’s a first look at him for many people and we will have more video of him in the near future.
Showing some plate patience