Pirates Have No Plans to Send Gregory Polanco to Triple-A

Pirates General Manager Neal Huntington gave his vote of confidence to Gregory Polanco today when meeting with the media at PNC Park. Polanco has struggled of late, and he has been especially bad against left-handed pitching this season. Huntington said that sending Polanco down to Triple-A Indianapolis is not in the cards, and they expect him to work through his troubles with the major league club.

“We believe that Gregory Polanco is going to be a quality major league player,” Huntington said. “The large majority of major league players have some trouble in their first year or two in the league, and we forget that sometimes, since the Bryce Harpers and the Mike Trouts make it look relatively easy. There are growing pains and challenges. We still see the ability in Gregory Polanco. It’s just finding that consistency, and we want to help him do that.”

When asked specifically if sending Polanco down to the minors to work through his difficulties was an option, Huntington responded that “it hasn’t even been a conversation.”

Since having a three hit night on June 6th in Atlanta, Polanco is only batting .154 with a .478 OPS. During that time, his ISO is a measly .077 with only five extra base hits in those 24 games. On the year, Polanco is only batting .233 with an ISO of .100. It’s not just that the batting average is down; the power numbers are way down, especially for a corner outfield position. He has looked especially bad against lefties, batting .125 with a .311 OPS this season in 40 at bats coming into Sunday’s game.

In comparison, Polanco had a slash of .329/.400/.408 last season for Triple-A Indianapolis against left-handed pitching. He actually had a better batting average against lefties than righties in Triple-A by one percentage point (.328).

After Sunday’s game, Polanco has gone hitless in his last twelve at bats.

Polanco is also striking out more this season than he has in most of his professional career. His strikeout rate is above 20% this season for the first time since rookie ball in 2010.

Of course, things can change quickly in this game with roster moves and trades happening so often. You may see the Pirates make a move to push Polanco a little harder, not including their claim on former Pirate Travis Ishikawa today. As of right now, though, it looks like Gregory Polanco is here to stay.

  • WOW – I was traveling so I missed this.

    I was tempted to accuse PP of click baiting with the title – but then I read the comments.

    Think some folks need to relax and let the kid work his way through this learning period. He will be fine – the talent is there and let’s be patient and not run him out of town.

  • For one thing Polanco needs to stop worrying about his batting gloves, and knocking his shoes with his bat for dirt that isn’t there. He needs to instead be totally focused on the pitcher and his next pitch. He is so annoying to watch in the batters box.

    • There have been a million hitters that do irritating thsings and it is part of their routine…still I know what you mean. Is can’t stand watching Polanco or Pedro bat with their dumb idiosyncrasies. But if they were hitting .320 I would probably not even care.

  • Did you notice the look that Cutch gave him after he hit yet another weak grounder? It was like really is that all you have. Polanco just plain cannot hit MLB pitching with anything better than .230 average and he cannot hit Left handers at all. With the terrible hitting coach they have he will not get any better. They need to make a trade with Cinci and get Marlon Byrd back here for the second half push if they want any chance at the division.

  • Not sure why his minor league production has not appeared yet. Reminds me of Chad Hermensen. Great minor league hitter that could not produce in the majors. I hope Polanco is not on that path.

  • While I applaud the pirates for their player loyalty there is a limit to how much one guy can be allowed to hurt the team, guess the pirates are not there yet, unless polanco starts showing some signs of improving here pdq that leash needs to be pulled.

  • Keep drinking the Kool Aide Neil. The guy is lost.

  • It seems like GP has zero confidence in anything he does. When he gets on he is such a weapon on the bases, problem is he hasn’t been on base much the last month. Needs to get his head straight and AAA might be the best option to get him in a comfort zone and hitting again.

    • I agree

    • Greg’s pretty lost at the plate right now, and what worries me, is that I don’t see any difference in anything at the plate. So whatever he is working on behind closed doors, is doing nothing. Long swings, takeing first pitch fastballs down the middle, not covering outside pitches well, can’t put down a bunt…. They need to cut down that swing, and simplify his approach at the plate

  • BallHeadWonder
    July 5, 2015 6:05 pm

    Polanco will be fine!!! Have every Confidence he will still be the Beast that he is!! It’s tough being a Pro!! Consistently being Consistent is tough and takes some time to learn. He is still technically is a year out of College and in the Majors!! Wouldn’t we all want to be in his shoes!! Love the guy!! Cut him some slack!!

  • Harrison has the same (or very slightly higher) ISO as Polanco. He just has had a little bit better luck at balls finding holes for singles. The proper plan, as I see it, is to continue throwing him out there in RF, allow his defense to play, and turn him around. The Pirates need him for the long-haul; sending him down to feast on AAA pitching isn’t the solution, in my opinion.

    • Luck? There is a big difference between good at bats and bad at bats. Polanco’s are horrid, Harrison- while sometimes lacking plate discipline rarely has bad at bats. Luck was surely not on his side when he was robbed of a double because Gorkys can’t run bases….. Harrison also isn’t useless against a lefty or a righty……and the ISO takes into account an APril where Harrison couldn’t be any worse and says nothing for the players they currently represent

      • I dont really take a big side on the “luck” idea, but i think its much to say that Polanco takes horrible at bats while Harrison is rarely having a bad at bat. Polanco has gotten into more 2-2, 3-2 situations. Thats not totally representative, but it does show a decent at bat and the ability to work a count. Harrison has gotten into about double the 0-2 counts, and a good deal less 2-2, 3-2 counts. That kinda shows what we know, Harrison likes to swing. Not gonna work a ton of counts, and can tend to get behind quick.

        Harrison is able to hit decently hitting from behind, but that doesnt really make his at bats “better” in terms of hitting approach.

        • He works the count because he can’t hit. Same thign you’ve heard Tim say about Allie in AA, he walks because he is overmatched and takes pitches, not because he has good plate discipline. If Harrison fouled off every ball that was over the plate and never hit anything solid, he’d get just as deep in counts. I never said Polanco doesnt know the strike zone….but taking pitches doesn’t make it a good at bat

          • Sorry, thats BS. Thats surrounding what you think with things you want to be true. Josh Harrison doesnt foul off pitches because some of what he swings at cant be fouled off. He doesnt lay off as many as he should, and to Polanco’s credit he does lay off some curves in the dirt and sliders rolling out.

            Taking pitches is a big sign of a good at bat one you are behind, because it shows you are at least aware enough to see a pitcher trying to make you chase unhittable stuff. Polanco has better discipline than Harrison, and the issue for him isnt being dumb at the plate but getting behind and having to hit a pitchers pitch. 1-2,2-2, 3-2 you have to swing at things on the edges and that can lead to……weak contact at times.

            Insinuating that Josh Harrison could have the same patience as Polanco is disingenuous to both players skill sets. Nothing wrong with Harrison being a free swinger, but it isnt because he chooses to not lay off stuff. He’s never had good plate discipline.

            • Thats your opinion- Harrison does not swing at bad pitches because of bad pitch recognition, it’s because he knows he can hit pitches outside the zone, his hand/eye coordination and ability to get a barrel onto the ball are off the charts. I don’t care about plate patience IF you can hit the bad pitches, and Harrison can. Polanco needs plate patience because he hasn’t shown the ability to hit balls outside the zone (or in the zone quite frankly) with any success. It doesn’t make his at bats better. I’d bet since the beginning of last year, Harrison has a better OPS hitting pitches off the plate than Polanco does hitting pitches on the plate

        • Actually it does- having a good at bat is realizing your weaknesses and strengths and playing to them. What strength exactly is Polanco playing to by going deep into counts? He has displayed no ability to hit behind in the count, if his only strength is trying to work a walk, then we’ve got a big problem

          • The strength of getting behind and still being able to lay off pitches intended to never be hit hard. He does struggle behind in the count, like every ML player. 0-2, 1-2, and 3-2 averages are always the lowest of any count. His issue is that he gets behind too often, but the ability to work a count from 0-2 to 2-2 or full shows patience and does, statistically, raise the chance of seeing a hittable pitch. His strength is speed, defense, baserunning, and not being a total free swinger. That goes along with a pretty crazy high tool set, so the idea that Polanco is just garbage is overplayed. Kid is struggling, but he’s 23 and showing plenty to stick around more than 1 whole year.

            • My comments on Polanco are based on what he is, not based on what he could be. Currently, at the plate, he is garbage. You can’t argue with that unless you felt that Rafeal Belliard was a good hitter. Their OPS’s are pretty comparable at this point. His defense, eh…..good tools, but still isn’t that good of a right fielder, his arm is awesome, his speed is good, baserunning…..needs work. He has a ton of room to grow, but the problem is….he isn’t getting better, in any facet of his game, there is zero improvement since his original callup last year. If anything he has taken one or two steps back. It isn’t encouraging

  • I hope he turns it around soon. I agree with keeping him up (at least for another month) but I’m tired of seeing him flail away. I knew he wasn’t getting a hit with the bases loaded in the 7th today.