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Stronger El Coffee is a Good Thing For the Pirates

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Gregory Polanco went in to the off-season with a plan. The plan was to add more muscle, without sacrificing speed. And that plan seems to have worked, as Polanco added 12-15 pounds of muscle, putting him at 235 pounds. That’s a massive difference from the 170 pounds that he weighed when he was signed in 2009, at which point he was just a tall, lanky prospect who was described as looking like a sick giraffe.

The last time I recall Polanco making such a big off-season adjustment came right before his breakout season in West Virginia in 2012. The added muscle allowed him to finally realize his power potential, and he went on to hit for a .325/.388/.522 line at the age of 20 in low-A. Last year he made a lot of noise in the Dominican Winter League, followed by a big season at the plate in Indianapolis.

Despite that success, Polanco struggled in his jump to the majors. It’s way too early to write him off, and his initial jump can just be chalked up to the difficulty of making the move from Triple-A to the majors. Polanco has all of the tools needed to be a star player, and his frame allowed for more muscle and more power potential. He’s got the type of tools, swing, and athleticism that you can dream on, and the new weight he added can only help him realize his upside.

The video below features Polanco discussing the added weight, along with Clint Hurdle talking about how that was the plan for Polanco heading into the off-season. There is also video of Polanco taking batting practice today, including a very nice slow-motion look at his swing around the 3:08 mark.

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Tim Williams
Tim Williams
Tim is the owner, producer, editor, and lead writer of PiratesProspects.com. He has been running Pirates Prospects since 2009, becoming the first new media reporter and outlet covering the Pirates at the MLB level in 2011 and 2012. His work can also be found in Baseball America, where he has been a contributor since 2014 and the Pirates' correspondent since 2019.

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