Kyle Stark, the Pittsburgh Pirates Assistant General Manager and Director of Player Personnel, was on 93.7 The Fan this morning and talked Gregory Polanco saying,”he is close.” The first question asked by Gregg Giannotti was about what Gregory Polanco still needs to work on.
Stark was in Gwinnett watching the Indianapolis Indians and let the show know that right off the jump. Regarding Polanco, Stark noted that he has made a lot of progress in the Pirates system and continues to progress–”that’s what separates him…he hasn’t had as many innings in right field…we are trying to emulate PNC Park with bounces off the wall…on the base paths we want him to use his speed more effectively and efficiently because up until now, he has basically been able to outrun the baseball.”
Stark talked about Polanco’s offense saying he continues to see guys that know how to pitch and make adjustments the second and third times through the lineup.
The good point that Stark talked about was how are these numbers happening for Polanco. Stark mentioned Polanco getting knocks off pitchers that were throwing in the mid 80-s that wont be pitching in the big leagues.
We are looking for consistency, Stark said as he added that “one thing I think is missed, we need him to be very good from day one as opposed to what we have (at the big league level) in order to maximize the time in Pirates uniform. There are a couple guys in our outfield right now that were very highly hyped players in Triple-A. The big leagues is hard, it’s the separator level. (Polanco) will face adversity and its what he does with it.
Jim asked, how many guys does he face that wont be in big leagues?
Stark replied that there are guys that have stuff to pitch in big leagues, and there are also those veteran guys that know how to get guys out. We are trying to piece together the big picture. Who is he having success against, where, how and why?
Stark made a good point when he said, similar things were said about Travis Snider and Jose Tabata. (Tabby and Snider were hyped—but not like this) As much as we think the best prospects transform into the best players in the big leagues, it doesnt always happen. We are looking at the same things you guys are, at end of the day we have to make sure we maximize his time in Pirates uniform. Similar to Cutch and Marte. Not just throw them in survival mode.
Stark said that he will report back to Neal Huntington and Clint Hurdle. Our staff gives us nightly updates. A bunch of different perspectives is helpful. And ultimately Neal gets the fun job in balancing those things out.
Gregg asked when Super 2 figures in…Stark referred to Huntington’s comment on how Polanco can help the Pirates club. For us, its about are we maximizing his production. Our focus isn’t so much down the road, but do we feel good about it. The jump to the bigs is a separator.
“The fact that this conversation is a daily topic, shows that he is close. Stark talked about the bounce back after tough stretches and finished by saying, “realistically he is close.”
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