In his first taste of action at the Low-A level, Pittsburgh Pirates outfield prospect Shalin Polanco flashed his big time power potential
Few international free agent additions by the Pittsburgh Pirates in recent years have come with the potential and hype of outfielder Shalin Polanco. Polanco was one of the top outfield prospects in the 2021 international free agent class, and he is starting to show why the Pirates gave him a hefty $2.35 million signing bonus.
Polanco spent the 2022 season at the Florida Complex League and was a slightly below average hitter. In 148 plate appearances he hit for a .250/.342/.371 slash line with a 97 wRC+, .121 isolated slugging (ISO), 8.1% walk rate, and a 27.0% strikeout rate.
Following his 2022 campaign, Polanco was bumped to the Low-A Bradenton Marauders for the 2023 season. At just 19-years-old, the left-handed hitting Polanco impressed in his first taste of action at the Low-A level.
Polanco had 303 PAs in 70 games played with the Marauders, hitting for a .242/.323/.439 slash line with a 104 wRC+. While Polanco did strikeout at a 28.7% clip, his walk rate improved to 9.6%. He also flashed his athleticism stealing 17 bases.
What was most impressive was Polanco flashing his power potential. He hit 12 home runs to go with 16 doubles, leading to him posting an ISO of .197. Those are very impressive power numbers for a teenage hitter at the Low-A level.
In 2024 Polanco will be looking to take another step forward at the plate. If he can cut down on his strikeouts while his power continues to progress, then he should really begin to force his way into the conversation about the best position player prospects in the Pirate farm system.
Watching the continued development of Polanco in 2024 will be a worthwhile follow for Pirate fans. Polanco could develop into the left-handed slugger that many Pirate fans long hoped Gregory Polanco would become.