By Jason Shetler
Tito Polo was signed out of the Dominican Republic by the Pirates as a 17-year-old in 2012. The speedy outfielder played his first couple seasons for the Pirates Dominican Summer League club where he posted a .760 OPS and stole 39 bases in 100 games. In 2014, he put up an .848 OPS in 44 games played for the Gulf Coast League Pirates.
Polo began his first full season of pro ball last year with the West Virginia Power. He had his struggles at the plate, posting an OPS of just .641 in 102 games. The one positive for Polo, despite his mediocre offensive production, was the fact that he managed to steal 46 bases, which was the most of any Pirates minor leaguer in 2015.
During Spring Training this year, Polo had perhaps the most impressive showing for the Pirates in Fort Myers against the Boston Red Sox when he collected two hits including an RBI double off former AL Cy Young winner David Price. Apparently that game was an omen for Polo, as he’s been a breakout performer for the Power, something he’s literally been doing this season. Here’s where his numbers rank in the South Atlantic League so far.
Batting average: .318 (5th)
OPS: .939 (3rd)
Stolen bases: 17 (3rd)
Total bases: 94 (2nd)
Based on those impressive numbers from Polo, he should be given a promotion to the Bradenton Marauders sooner rather than later. Pirates Latin American Scouting Director Rene Gayo has done a terrific job in recent years helping to infuse impact talent to the system from Latin America, most notably of course Starling Marte, Gregory Polanco and Alen Hanson. In the case of Tito Polo, he appears to have gone from having the label as the best name in baseball to becoming potentially an elite prospect.