Pittsburgh Pirates: Lets Build A Lineup

Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /
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Sep 7, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates right fielder Gregory Polanco (25) hits an RBI single against the St. Louis Cardinals during the first inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

Gregory Polanco got off to a great start.  Through the end of June, the former top prospect had a .373 wOBA and 136 wRC+ and was hitting balls 91.8 mph to go along with his .352 BABIP.  But from July on, Polanco struggled.  He posted just a .284 wOBA and 76 wRC+.  Polanco’s average exit velocity dropped to 89.5 mph, and with that came a .228 BABIP.  But Polanco’s walk rate also fell from 11.9 percent to 5.8 percent, and his o-swing percentage rose from 30.4 percent to 31.8,

Despite his second half swoon, Polanco finished with a .331 wOBA and 108 wRC+, his best season as Pirate.  Polanco’s show flashes of his potential, and if he stays healthy, he has a great shot of outperforming his projections.

From The Book, we know the three-hitter comes up to bat with nobody on and two outs often, so the three spot in the order is not all that important compared to other spots, despite the old thought of “best hitter bats third.”

Polanco projects to be the fifth best hitter with a .328 wOBA, far off from Kang, Marte, and Bell’s similar wOBA projections.  Polanco projects at a .168 ISO, giving him more power than Marte (.159), but he’s projected to reach base a lot less, a .333 on-base.  The third spot fits him well.