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fletch44

Gregory Polanco 2018 Outlook

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Is this the year he stays healthy and puts it all together? Probably not. He is still 26 though. What round do you shrug your shoulders and bite on G.Polanco this year ?

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I think I am starting to look at Polanco the same way I was looking at Puig heading into last season, and I similarly am willing to take a shot at the power/speed upside if the price is low enough...

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I'm cautiously optimistic he can put up a 18/25 type season.  He's entering his prime years and the pedigree is there.  I'm curious to see what the analytical guys thinks about him.

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The way to deal with players like GP is to draft their floor taking into account the time that will likely be missed.  Factor in the statistics of a replacement player for the time missed.  

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I think i am to the point I'm rostering Greg because i don't think i could stand it if he does well finally & it's for another owner in the league.

 

 

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I owned him as a keeper for 3 years and he  burned me each year with injuries. This is the first year I’ll be without him as a keeper so he’ll probably have the year we’ve all been waiting for. 

 

All joking aside, he has the tools to put up a .270 80/20/80/20 season but he just hasn’t put it all together yet. And just when he started to seem like he was he got injured in the last two seasons and it completely changed his season. He’s a guy who I’ll have a keen eye on during my draft and if he falls slightly I’ll take another chance. 

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2 hours ago, BostonCajun said:

I owned him as a keeper for 3 years and he  burned me each year with injuries. This is the first year I’ll be without him as a keeper so he’ll probably have the year we’ve all been waiting for. 

 

All joking aside, he has the tools to put up a .270 80/20/80/20 season but he just hasn’t put it all together yet. And just when he started to seem like he was he got injured in the last two seasons and it completely changed his season. He’s a guy who I’ll have a keen eye on during my draft and if he falls slightly I’ll take another chance. 

i agree

 

think hes a sleeper this year

 

@taobball loved him last year.  i think im gonna go after him with where hes going

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I was in on him last year, I will not be in on him this year.

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8 hours ago, jimbo504 said:

I was in on him last year, I will not be in on him this year.

 

Eveything is relative to price , but I think there could be some incredible value if you’re in a league with a bunch of people sick of him. Very much the spot Puig was in last year.

 

If he blows up, you were wrong twice if you avoided him as opposed to right once. Not good to write players off because you were in on them one year and they disappointed. He was pretty injured all year, I’d focus on monitoring his health going into 2018.

Edited by brockpapersizer
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It is difficult to draft someone like Polanco and receive value.  Someone in everyone's league will believe he will remain healthy all season and draft him too high.

 

If he is drafted higher than he should be the only way he returns value is if he stays healthy all season.

Edited by jwblue

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2 minutes ago, jwblue said:

It is almost impossible to draft someone like Polanco and receive value.  Someone in everyone's league will believe he will remain healthy all season and draft him too high.

 

What makes him unique in that way.  Every option has a buyer's curse scenario.  Why is Polanco "impossible" to draft at value?

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7 minutes ago, kenag122002 said:

 

What makes him unique in that way.  Every option has a buyer's curse scenario.  Why is Polanco "impossible" to draft at value?

 

I edited my post.  Impossible is not the right word.  

 

I will be looking to draft him but I don't see him being available in the round I want.  I am going to draft him expecting him to play about 110 games.  I don't expect every owner in my league to value him that way.

 

 

Edited by jwblue

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Gregory Polanco is coming off a disappointing 2017 season where he hit .251/.305/.391 with 11 HRs and 8 SBs, all good for a sub-par 81 wRC+. That season placed Polanco as the 123rd ranked OFer on the ESPN player rater, which is especially rough for a lot of people as he had an ADP of 59 on ESPN last year. I want to point out that it’s clear to me that Polanco was playing injured in 2017, and I’ll show why throughout, but let’s start to dig in deeper.

First, Polanco posted a career-low BB% of 6.6% and a career-best K% of 14.6%. In theory, that looks pretty good but a deeper look at his plate discipline numbers will show why he cut into his K% by 5.7%. His BAPIP tied a career low at .272, which is far from his full-season marks of .308 in 2015 and .291 in 2016. In theory that would make him look like a bounce-back candidate (I do think he’s a bounce-back candidate) but a look at his plate discipline numbers (and his batted ball data) will paint the full picture.

 

When looking at his batted ball data, the encouraging part is that he was able to maintain his increased launch angle and flyball rate (34.9% in 2015, 37.1% in 2016, 37.5% in 2017) which was/is in predicting a power breakout. Unfortunately, he did lose some line-drives as his LD% fell 3.7% to 20.3%. Consequently, his groundball rate went up to 42.2% and that may have impacted his BAPIP a bit since groundballs are more likely to be turned into outs than line-drives. Polanco also started using the opposite way more a bit more and went up the middle with his contact slightly more as well, ultimately cutting into his pull% by 5.1% (overall 44.1 pull% in 2017). My guess is it was a result of adjusting to injury which is really shown when we look at his hard contact%. Polanco’s Hard Contact% fell from 35.7% to 25.9%. That is a massive change year over year, especially for an in his prime player, and I think that’s a great example of Polanco playing injured. That’s drop in power is also shown when looking at average exit velocity, in 2016 Polanco had an above-average 89.6 MPH avg exit velocity, and it fell to a below average 86.38 MPH in 2017 (MLB average is 87.32 MPH). Polanco is a 6 foot 5, 235 lbs player who had a 35.7% Hard contact% in 2016, it’s easy to suggest that the 35.7% is more real than the 25.9%. For reference, a 35.7% Hard Contact rate would have ranked in a tie for 73rd in the majors (his 25.9% ranked 199th) with Mookie Betts, Daniel Murphy, and Kyle Seager which is pretty decent company and lends itself to suggest he has 25 HR upside. I also want to point out that Polanco posted a career-worst 22.8% Soft Contact rate last season which tied with Alcides Escobar for 19th worst in the majors. This is another way to show how Polanco was truly playing through injury last season, he’s not that bad of a hitter! Polanco also continues to struggle against lefty pitchers as his K% against them was a full 10.6% worse, and that's pretty much in line with his career marks. 
 


Let’s take a look at his plate discipline numbers:

His out-of-zone swing% was 34.4%                                      MLB average is 30%
His zone swing % was 70.5%                                                 MLB average is 65%
His overall swing % was 49.8%                                              MLB average is 46%
His out-of-zone contact % was 67.1%                                  MLB average is 66%
His zone contact% was 91.8%                                               MLB average is 87%
His overall contact rate was 82.1%                                       MLB average is 80%
His % of pitches seen inside the strike-zone was 42.8%   MLB average is 45%
His swinging-strike% was 8.9%                                              MLB average is 9.5%

As you can see, Polanco was a pretty aggressive hitter in 2017 (which explains the career-low BB rate) and he made contact at a better than average rate across the board. The negative side is that Polanco's out-of-zone swing% rose 3.4% meaning he expanded his strike-zone more often in 2017. Add in slight increases in his Zone swing%, as well as his contact rates in both inside and outside the zone, and you see a guy who was less selective in 2017 and perhaps pressing a little bit. It's not far at all from his norms, but I really think tightening his strike-zone again and waiting for his pitch more in 2018 could help Polanco unlock a new level at the plate when combined with better health and the higher launch angle.

Here's a look at his Pitch type splits from 2017 compared to 2016 and 2015 using wRC+ for simplicity:
                         2015          2016      2017
Fourseam:       107            122         103
Sinker:              111            182         155
Slider:               5                 41           78
Curveball:        171             57           65
Changeup:       142            219         47
Cutter:              62               59          13

The figures may look all over the map, and they are because of BAPIP (especially the 2015 curveball) but here are my takeaways. He can handle the FB well and actually had the lowest whiff rate on them of his career in 2017.The sinker is the pitch he likes the most. Slider took a step back in terms of whiffs in 2017, but his chase rate against them was a career-worst so maybe that's the pitch opposing pitchers were getting him to expand the zone on. If he can get his slider contact rate to around the 2016 mark of 76.1%, his game will likely take off. He's really improved against curveballs, actually posting a career-best 12.5% Whiff rate in 2017. Changeups were an odd struggle for him in 2017 as he posted a career-worst whiff rate against them (23.3% in 2017, was 6.3% in 2016, 10.3% in 2015) so I'm betting on some sort of bounce-back against them with better health. And finally the cutter which he posted the best whiff rate against in his career at 13.2%. Overall, the last two years, he's improved his whiff rates against all pitches and at some point, assuming good health, you have to think there's some sort of breakout.

Finally, I want to talk about his speed. Polanco was 8 for 9 in SB attempts in 2017 which shows he's still fast and capable. He did this while dealing with Hamstring issues throughout the year too. There is 20 SB upside here I think!

Overall, I see a guy who does a lot of things well, he makes contact at an above average rate, he has added loft in his swing to hit more flyballs, he has shown in the past to impact the ball at a high level and produce above-average power metrics, he has good wheels and is capable is stealing bases with efficiency, and he's still just 26 years old and in his prime. It all comes down to his health imo, and his ability to both stay on the field and not have to fight through nagging injuries. At his current ADP (NFBC has him at 164) I think he could be a value pick if he stays healthy. Compared to last year, his ADP has fallen and his floor is a lot less painful to take on at that price, and that makes reaching for his ceiling worth it imo. For 2018, assuming pretty good health, I will project .267/.331 with 23 HRs and 17 SBs.

Edited by garlando
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9 minutes ago, garlando said:

At his current ADP (NFBC has him at 164) I think he could be a value pick if he stays healthy. Compared to last year, his ADP has fallen and his floor is a lot less painful to take on at that price, and that makes reaching for his ceiling worth it imo. For 2018, assuming pretty good health, I will project .267/.331 with 23 HRs and 17 SBs.

 

 

Completely agree, this is a great price/ADP to roll the dice on Polanco.  If he can put it together this year I think he will be a big asset.  

 

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He hurt his shoulder right before the season started last year, never went on the DL, then hurt his hamstring in May, went on the disabled list, and then proceeded to be mediocre before he hurt his hamstring again

 

 

This is a do or die year for Polanco imo. The Pirates have some options to replace him if he isn't any good. His offseason workout routine has apparently changed, so hopefully he'll be able to stay healthy this year. 

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The thing with Polanco is that the upside everyone dreamed on as a prospect just isnt there anymore.

 He's not a 30 homer guy, and Pittsburgh is a pretty bad place to hit, so hes not going to help you there. Polanco hits the ball in the air only ~37% of the time which is just not conducive to HR's.

 

The Pirates lineup will be awful and should compete for fewest runs scored in the NL, so he'll be lucky to break 140 R+RBI. As a fantasy OF, that is pretty brutal.

 

He can't hit lefties at all so his average will never be great, and he could end up in platoon at some point. And since his walk rate is only ok, he won't ever post strong OBP's either.

 

So the only category we can hope him to return value in is steals. But his career high in a season is only 27 (3 years ago), and over his last 1000 PA's (across the past 2 seasons) hes only swiped 25 bags. 

 

Not exactly an inspiring fantasy asset.

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Polanco looks yoked. Sporer and Collette are all in on him. Based on where he is going in drafts, he will be on a lot of my teams.

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On January 24, 2018 at 3:52 PM, jwblue said:

 

I edited my post.  Impossible is not the right word.  

 

I will be looking to draft him but I don't see him being available in the round I want.  I am going to draft him expecting him to play about 110 games.  I don't expect every owner in my league to value him that way.

 

 

 

Completely disagree with this. The two years prior to last year he played 140+ games each year. I'd bet if Vegas made odds on the over/under for his games played vs some of the guys considered less "injury prone" going around him it'd be a lot closer than you'd expect.

 

The injury filled year last year will make him a great value this year given that he comes into 2018 completely healthy. He's 26, and has all the tools and the pedigree for a breakout.

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He seems to have had several issues with the left/back shoulder that hurts his power potential.  It's not bothering him anymore and his offseason regimen has been great this offseason since he's gone back to his original trainer.  Rebuilding Gregory Polanco.  People will be sleeping on him though and post hype sleepers and value picks are a great path to dynasty victory IMO.

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