The Tribe Tracker monitors players across the Pittsburgh Pirates organization who appeared in games with the Indianapolis Indians during the 2013 season, as well as prospects who may suit up for the Tribe during the 2014 campaign.
Visit IndyIndians.com for the complete list and set of player capsules!
Capsule 3: 11/5
This week features prospect Gregory Polanco, a slugging southpaw who has quickly ascended the Pirates organization.
OF — Gregory Polanco
Gregory Polanco is quickly proving his rapid climb to the Triple-A level was by no mere coincidence. The speedy outfielder hit safely in each of his first 13 games in the Dominican Winter League, collecting 19 total knocks with four multi-hit performances in that span, before snapping the streak with an 0-for-3 outing on Nov. 3. Despite the hitless effort, Polanco has still reached base in all 14 contests and ranks among the top five of all DWL batters in homers (T-1st, 4), RBI (2nd, 13), runs scored (T-2nd, 13), OBP (3rd, .469), slugging (2nd, .679), average (4th, .358), and doubles (T-5th, 5). Polanco has displayed an improved eye at the plate this fall, and after drawing just three walks with 12 strikeouts in his first eight games, has coaxed eight free passes to just two whiffs through his last four contests.
Polanco’s stint in the DWL is the slugger’s fourth stop since the beginning of the 2013 campaign, capping off his season with appearances at High-A Bradenton, Double-A Altoona and Triple-A Indianapolis. His ascension through the Pirates system featured a Florida State League Midseason All-Star selection and .264 average (64-for-243) in 68 games with Altoona, before he landed in the Indians outfield for the final two contest of the regular season. Polanco then went hitless in his first career Triple-A outing on Sept. 1 in Louisville, but recorded his first Triple-A hit (single), run scored and stolen base the following game on Sept. 2 against the Bats. The prospect concluded his final 2013 regular-season game going 2-for-5 with a steal and run.
At just 22 years old, Polanco continues to draw rave reviews around the league, ranking as the No .51 overall prospect in the minors by Baseball America prior to the 2013 campaign, and as the No. 13 overall farmhand by MLB.com’s updated rankings. The slugger is also currently following a similar path to Pirates All-Star Andrew McCutchen, who made a late-season jump from Altoona to Indianapolis in 2007 at age 20 (17 games), en route to his Major League debut during the 2009 campaign.