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Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Prospect Watch: Gregory Polanco Just Misses the Cycle in Four Hit Night


A look at how the current top 20 prospects did today.  Note that this list doesn’t include players currently in the majors (Stolmy Pimentel #13). If a player is in the majors, he will be removed, everyone below him will be shifted up a spot, and a new player will be added to the bottom of the list. If a player is out for the season (Jameson Taillon #2, Clay Holmes #12), he will be removed and everyone below him will move up a spot. Removing these guys doesn’t mean they have lost prospect status. It is just an attempt to get 20 active prospects on the list. Rankings are from the 2014 Prospect Guide, and links on each name go to their Pirates Prospects player pages.

1. Gregory Polanco, CF, Indianapolis – 4-for-4, 2B, 3B

2. Tyler Glasnow, RHP, Bradenton – DNP

3. Austin Meadows, CF, West Virginia – Disabled List (4/22 Update)

4. Alen Hanson, SS, Altoona – 2-for-5, 3B

5. Nick Kingham, RHP, Altoona – DNP

6. Reese McGuire, C, West Virginia – DNP

7. Josh Bell, RF, Bradenton – 1-for-4

8. Luis Heredia, RHP, West Virginia Power – Disabled List (4/22 Update)

9. Harold Ramirez, OF, West Virginia – 1-for-4, 2B, BB

10. Andrew Lambo, OF, Indianapolis – Disabled List (5/7 Update)

11. Joely Rodriguez, LHP, Altoona – DNP

12. Blake Taylor, LHP, Extended Spring Training – DNP

13. Cody Dickson, LHP, West Virginia – DNP

14. Barrett Barnes, CF, West Virginia – Disabled List (4/14 Update)

15. JaCoby Jones, SS, West Virginia – 1-for-5, SB

16. Michael De La Cruz, OF, Extended Spring Training – DNP

17. Wyatt Mathisen, 3B, West Virginia – 0-for-4

18. Jin-De Jhang, C, Bradenton – 0-for-3, BB

19. Brandon Cumpton, RHP, Indianapolis – 6.0 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 1 K, 0 HR

20. Stetson Allie, 1B, Altoona – 1-for-4, HR, BB



The 2014 Prospect Guide is now available, and is the perfect resource to follow the minor league system during the 2014 season. You can order your copy on the products page of the site.



Top Pitcher: Brandon Cumpton, RHP – 6.0 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 1 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Gregory Polanco, RF – 4-for-4, 2B, 3B

Home Runs: Stetson Allie (7), Keon Broxton (4), Gift Ngoepe (3)



Box Score

Result: Indianapolis 6, Pawtucket 2

Starting Pitcher: Brandon Cumpton, RHP – 6.0 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 1 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Gregory Polanco, RF – 4-for-4, 2B, 3B

Other Notable Performers:

Chris Dickerson, CF – 2-for-3, BB

Game Notes: Though Brandon Cumpton did not have his best stuff, he still compiled a quality start for a rain-shortened complete game victory. The rain did cost Gregory Polanco a shot at the cycle, as he was a home run short in the sixth inning. Polanco is 6-for-8 in his last two games and has three hits or more in eight games this season. Chris Dickerson added two hits and now has a 12-game hit streak. – Ryan Palencer



Box Score

Result: Altoona 10, Binghamton 3

Starting Pitcher: Zack Dodson, LHP – 3.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Gift Ngoepe, 2B – 2-for-4, HR, BB

Other Notable Performers:

Alen Hanson, SS – 2-for-5, 3B

Mel Rojas, CF – 2-for-5, 2B

Stetson Allie, 1B – 1-for-4, HR, BB

Keon Broxton, LF – 2-for-4, HR, BB

Willy Garcia, RF – 3-for-5, 2B

Tyler Sample, RHP – 4.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 1 HR

Game Notes: The Altoona offense exploded for a big night. Gift Ngoepe hit his third home run of the season. Stetson Allie hit his seventh homer of the year, which leads the minor league system. Keon Broxton added his fourth homer of the year, with all four coming in the last nine games. He has a .424/.472/.939 line in 33 at-bats over his last ten games. Willy Garcia, Alen Hanson, and Mel Rojas each had multi-hit nights, and all three had extra base hits. Zack Dodson returned to the mound for the first time since throwing 5.2 shutout innings on April 14th. The month off led to a shortened start for the left-hander. Tyler Sample piggybacked with Dodson, and didn’t allow a walk for the first time this season.



Box Score

Result: Lakeland 3, Bradenton 0

Starting Pitcher: John Kuchno, RHP – 5.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 5 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Adam Frazier, SS – 1-for-3, BB

Other Notable Performers:

Josh Bell, RF – 1-for-4

Pat Ludwig, RHP – 3.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 0 HR

Game Notes: The Bradenton offense was quiet tonight, only managing four hits. John Kuchno struggled with his control, which has been an issue for him this season. The right-hander has a 19:21 K/BB ratio in 35.2 innings. He has walked 9 batters in 9.1 innings over his last two starts. Pat Ludwig pitched three shutout innings in relief. He has been moved to a piggyback role, making the occasional start over Orlando Castro. Ludwig has a 2.55 ERA in 35.1 innings this season, with a 28:9 K/BB ratio.



Box Score

Result: Greenville 7, West Virginia 5

Starting Pitcher: Dovydas Neverauskas, RHP – 5.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, 1 HR

Top Hitter: Erich Weiss, 2B – 2-for-4, 2B

Other Notable Performers:

Chris Diaz, 3B – 2-for-4, SB

Justin Maffei, LF – 1-for-3, 2B, 2 BB, SB

Harold Ramirez, CF – 1-for-4, 2B, BB

JaCoby Jones, SS – 1-for-5, SB

Game Notes: Harold Ramirez returned from his hamstring injury on May 8th, then took a few days off before playing in his next game. He has now played in three straight games, so hopefully that’s a sign that the hamstring problems are behind him. He has a hit in each of his four games back, and is 5-for-19 in his return. Erich Weiss picked up two more hits, extending his hitting streak to six games. Dovydas Neverauskas hasn’t shown the best control numbers this year, with a 23:17 K/BB ratio in 31 innings of work.

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Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.


Pirates Prospects has been independently owned and operated since 2009, entirely due to the support of our readers. The site is now completely free, funded entirely by user support. By supporting the site, you are supporting independent writers, one of the best Pittsburgh Pirates communities online, and our mission for the most complete Pirates coverage available.

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I’m going to focus on things that don’t have an obvious answer, since everyone should be well aware of why Polanco won’t be up until June….The Altoona lineup as a whole has been a pleasant surprise this year. A lot of guys tapping into their tools


I’m “aware” of why he won’t be up until June. That doesn’t mean one has to necessarily accept the reasoning behind not bringing him up(and mind you that doesn’t automatically mean incurring Super 2). The option years which were supposedly offered to Polanco were “nutty”. I agree with Dave Cameron.


Oh by no means was that a good offer, nor their final offer I’m sure. But it’s 10-15 million dollars, and everybody seems to think that shouldn’t be an issue. That’s Russell Martin. Would everyone like to give up a Russell Martin for a month of Polanco’s rookie year? Really unfortunate facts of life for small market baseball.


I think a lot of people fall into the trap of thinking that the Pirates have an infinite window because they have a good farm system now. I think they should be maximizing their time to win while they have Russ, Walker, Pedro here among others who will likely be gone soon. I think a guy like Walker is tremendously undervalued. I don’t assume Hanson or Jacoby Jones can just take his spot. And we really aren’t giving ourself our best shot this year with what we’ve run out in right field. And that 10-15 million over that many years is very unlikely to be another Russ Martin who you got for 2 and 17 in 2013. Once you factor in inflation and the reality of what many free agent pick up turn into that money could very likely mean not signing the next Lyle Overbay just as easily.


You’re right, you should never assume prospects can just come in and replace players without any issue. Now, Polanco is of a greater caliber than the prospects you mention, but should we automatically assume he’ll out-perform Harrison who is currently worth half a win. You don’t have to look too far to see this being dangerous (George Springer’s slow start). If Springer adjusts to the majors like his pedigree says he should, the Astros are paying a lot of extra money in Super 2 for a guy that gave them less than nothing pre-deadline on a horrible team.


Yes I think Polanco is worth more than Harrison’s .5 on defense alone. I think Polanco is one of best prospects in baseball in a long time sans Trout. And I think he could have made a big difference already. I don’t buy the argument at all that 1 guy like him can’t help out A LOT.

And I’ll be honest with you, without getting into the nuances of WAR, as good as Harrison is swinging the bat his butcher’s job in RF was worth at least half a loss in my mind last night.

To me not having him up here now is even more ludicrous with Marte hurting. That outfield defense is pathetic right now with Harrison in right and Tabata in left.


That’s a very dangerous thought process. I’m not saying he can’t, but I don’t like his odds. Sounds like you’re evaluating people based more on WPA and that’s not a reliable way of looking at things. Polanco made an error last night too…would that have cost us half a win?


based on WPA I highly doubt Polanco’s error was worth half a loss and I understand the deficiencies in WPA. But let’s not over complicate this. I love Jhay but he is a butcher in right field and you and I know it. He damn near butchered another fly ball in first inning. IIRC he made a horrible play in the Cards game in left which could have cost us. We shouldn’t be running him out to the outfield more than once in a blue moon. And Polanco error last night aside you and I both also know he is much better than anyone else we have to put in right field right now- especially Josh Harrison.

That’t not even getting into the fact he’s getting on base almost half the time in AAA.


Josh Harrison is absolutely an atrocious right fielder…just horrible to watch, mind you metrics think he’s been outstanding and much better than Cutch (very debatable). Polanco should be an excellent defender, but it’s a new position, and I can’t point to George Springer enough when saying nothing is guaranteed for his month of play except for the extra money we’re giving away.


I understand your well reasoned position and we’ll just have to agree to disagree. I think he would have made a pretty big difference but we’ll just never really know.


Haha I think this was a good discussion of the two sides of the argument.


It’s ridiculous that Polanco hasn’t come up yet- whether that because Pirates can’t offer him better terms on his option years or want to avoid Super 2 it simply is foolish. And I don’t believe for a second that Polanco wouldn’t have made a difference in probably at least 2 games alone if he had been up here. Forget about his offense just his defense could have been huge help. That game last night is completely different if Harrison doesn’t butcher that play in right field. What about Snider in Baltimore. I’ve always felt Huntington/Nutting took too much criticism but I can’t defend this move- at all.


According to article on MILB.com, Polanco saw a grand total of 8 pitches last night in collecting his four hits! I guess we got the answer to the “adversity question.”


Obviously still has to work on his patience at the plate 🙂 Doesn’t he know you can’t just hit the 1st or 2nd pitch, even if it’s the best he’s gonna see? Gotta work the count baby.

Monsoon Harvard

Clearly Polanco is not ready yet.


yes, MUCH work to do – he really needs to learn to get the HR FIRST and not wait because rain happens. When he has that mastered the all seeing, all knowing Great Huntington will deem him worthy of joining the 4th [or 5th] place

Frankly, I will surprise some folks – but I see no point in bringing him up until late June – the Pirates are beyond the point where he could help turn things around.


If he can’t hit for the cycle in reverse order (HR first, then triple, double and single) then obviously he’s not ready.
And you did surprise us Lonely, but unfortunately you’re still wrong. The Bucs are already truning it around. They’re the best team in the division over the last 10 and only 3 games behind the Cards, which is what matters. The Brewers will fade badly, and if the Bucs can stay in shouting distance of STL, then the race is on. Also Polanco wouldn’t improve much since Tabata, Snider and Harrison are all hitting well recently. His defense will be very welcome when he arrives though. It’s tough watching Harrison try to play a deep fly ball.



Lets revisit this Monday – the next five games have the potential to undue a good bit of what has been gained – Tuesday night was not a good omen. All of the run production we saw at PNC and only 2 runs with Estrada looking pretty hittable. Wasted quality start from Cole – and Hughes is NOT the answer in the bullpen – love his attitude and work ethic – but he just is not a good ML pitcher.

Only ahead of Arizona and the Cubs in the wild card standings – the Reds with Chapman back and Votto due to get hot will be hard to pass. The difference between them and the Bucs is they will add a piece at the trade deadline if they can to make the team better – not afraid to spend money.


Aren’t you the sly one Lonely, wanting to revisit after they play 40% of their games against the unbeatable (by the Bucs) Brewers? But I’ll bite, and we’ll see where they are after the weekend.
Chapman? Looked very Grilli-like yesterday, no?
It’s interesting you say the Reds will add a piece at the deadline (especially as opposed to the Bucs) since here is a complete list of the MLB players they’ve added in-season the last 3 years: Jonathan Broxton. Here is the Pirate’s list: Derek Lee, Ryan Ludwick, Wandy, Gaby, Snider (insert joke here), Byrd and Morneau. Now I suppose the law of averages may catch them up a bit this year, but the track record certainly isn’t there to expect it.


As things stand today – where would YOU rank the Pirate pitching in the NL Central? I have a hard time not ranking them 5th… But then that is probably my glass half empty bias 😉

And my caveat on adding a piece stands – the Reds will make a move IF IT MAKES THE TEAM BETTER. The Pirate have a pretty dismal record up to last year with dealine additions – a lot of dumpster diving and “wishin’ and hopin'” IMHO.

Dave Parker's Unfiltered Camel

I’ll admit that I disagree with s lot of your posts, but I do think now, that Polanco is a case where Nutting should maybe bite the fiscal bullet and bring him up. His performance is off the charts. At the beginning of the season, I could but into Jim needing more at bats in AAA, but At this point it is all about the money.

Lukas Sutton

Problem is, the same people yelling about something that is commonplace for small market teams will yell “why is the organization being so cheap!” in 5 years when they arent bringing in many free agents thanks to paying large sums to polanco and seeing them struggling to re sign cole when he asks for what he deserves. Gonna be tough enough as is to retain Cole without having to worry about paying an extra 15 million overall to Polanco.

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