Pittsburgh Pirates: Shalin Polanco Joins MLB Pipeline Top 30

Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports /

With Roansy Contreras graduating prospect status, Shalin Polanco joins MLB Pipeline’s top 30 Pittsburgh Pirates prospect list.

With Pittsburgh Pirates right-hander Roansy Contreras’s start on Sunday, he finally graduates prospect status and all prospect lists. MLB Pipeline has already updated the Pirates’ top 30 prospects list, now including outfield prospect Shalin Polanco. Polanco was an international signee by the Pirates in January 2021.

Polanco hasn’t done great throughout his young professional career. In 226 plate appearances, Polanco is slashing just .200/.288/.330. This year, he has a .602 OPS, .303 wOBA, and 76 wRC+ with the Pirates’ Florida Complex League affiliate. Though one positive is that he has a 10.2% career walk rate. He’s also run into some bad luck this year. Despite having a 25% line drive rate, his batting average on balls in play is just .250.

Polanco is a pretty well-rounded prospect in the eyes of MLB Pipeline. The only tool they don’t give him an average or better grade on is his power, but at just 18 years old, there’s plenty of time for him to add bulk and get more pop. His best tool per their grades is his run, which comes in at a 55-grade. They also give him 50-grades for his arm, fielding, and hit tools. The overall grade they currently pin him with is a 40.

A big part of his ranking is his projectable frame. Currently standing at 5’11, 168-LBS, there’s plenty of room for Polanco to grow into. Again, he’s still pretty young and won’t turn 19 until next February. They also praise his bat speed and hands from his swing. He can also hit to all fields, though he can get a little aggressive at times. One last thing they like about Polanco is his swing mechanics.

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With Polanco joining MLB Pipeline’s top 30 Pirates prospects, they now have nine total prospects who are primarily outfielders. That includes Matt Fraizer, Travis Swaggerty, Lonnie White Jr., Hudson Head, Canaan Smith-Njigba, Rodolfo Nolasco, Cal Mitchell, Connor Scott, and Matt Gorski. We’ll have to be patient with Polanco. He’s just 18 and still finding his way in professional baseball. However, he’s one of the more athletic outfield prospects in the Pittsburgh Pirates system and could have average or better all-around tools by the time he’s 21-22.