Pirates prospect Gregory Polanco has been tearing up minor league pitching at Low-A West Virginia this season. In 109 games, the right fielder is hitting .328 with 15 home runs, 81 RBIs and a .913 OPS, which includes a gaudy .393 on-base percentage. He's also swiped 40 bases in 55 attempts.
Not surprisingly, the scouts are beginning to take notice. Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus had some particularly strong words of praise.
There's absolutely nothing not to like about Polanco. A lean and wiry six-foot-four, the 20-year-old Dominican is the kind of player who catches your eye the second he gets off the bus, and then he shows a good approach, the potential for plus power, plenty of speed (40 stolen bases), and good defense in center. This is a five-tool guy actualizing, and rapidly, into an elite-level prospect.
Even when he wasn't hitting particularly well last season in the Gulf Coast League (his line was .237 with three homers, 34 RBIs and a .694 OPS in 48 games), he was still able to get on base at a respectable .333 clip, a sign he could have some staying power even if his power numbers drop a little bit as he progresses through the system.
Just shy of 21 years old and still in the lower levels of the minors, Polanco is probably still a ways off from helping the big club. But his big numbers probably helped make the decision to include prospect Robbie Grossman in the trade for starting pitcher Wandy Rodriguez late last month.