Season Recaps

2016 Right Field Recap: The Almost Breakout Season From Gregory Polanco

Gregory Polanco had a strong first half, but saw his numbers fade in the second half. Photo Credit: David Hague
2016 Right Field Recap: The Almost Breakout Season From Gregory Polanco

There was some hope that Gregory Polanco would have a breakout year entering the 2016 season. The right fielder had a .276/.324/.425 line in the second half last year, with a .324 wOBA and a 108 wRC+, and all of those numbers were down due to a poor September. The September numbers were down in part due to some bad BABIP luck, and in part due to a minor injury for Polanco. Overall, the second half was encouraging due to consistent hard contact, and much better results than the first half numbers (.285 wOBA, 81 wRC+).

There was also a question of whether the Pirates would extend their young outfielder before this breakout occurred, as the first year and a half of his career were filled with talks about extension offers, even dating back to before he made his MLB debut. That question was finally answered during the first week of the season, when the Pirates signed Polanco to a five-year, $35 M extension, with two option years, beginning in 2017. The maximum contract would be seven years and $61 M if all options are exercised and all performance bonuses are met. That would also buy out the first three years of Polanco's free agency.

With Polanco under contract, the only question remaining was whether he would see that breakout. At the start of the year, it looked like he was on his way. During the first month of the season, he had a .302/.404/.500 line, along with a .383 wOBA and a 142 wRC+. He was making similar hard contact that he was the previous July and August, at 34.2%. The massive results carried over into May, with a .317/.369/.604 line, a .398 wOBA, a 153 wRC+, and 36.8% hard contact. But the breakout stalled at that point.

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Season Recaps

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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