By Jason Shetler
When the Pirates called up Gregory Polanco last season, he was off to a good start, but opposing pitchers began to figure him out and he struggled mightily down the stretch. So much so that Travis Snider became the regular right fielder for the remainder of 2014. The Pirates decided to trade Snider last offseason, which gave a clear indication that Polanco was going to be the starting right fielder entering 2015.
Polanco got off to a rough start and couldn’t seem to get anything going in the first half. It was in early July that I did a post about the Pirates needing to send Polanco down to AAA until his offense starts to pickup. Here were Polanco’s numbers at the time of the post.
.303 on base percentage, .636 OPS, 77 wRC+
As things began to look bleak for Polanco, he seemed to instantly figure out the mechanics of his swing, while becoming a very tough out in the process. Since the All-Star break, Polanco has done a phenomenal job in the leadoff spot, posting a .369 on base along with an .876 OPS. Here are the overall stats for him right now.
.331 on base, .720 OPS, 101 wRC+
In just a one month span, Polanco has gone from well below average/replacement level to a league average player. Those jump in numbers really give you an idea of how much Polanco has been performing at an elite level in the second half.