Gregory Polanco caused a lot of ulcers for Fantasy Baseball owners in 2017. The Pirates outfielder was taken in the first few rounds of drafts as he entered his age 25 season coming off a good year. The 2017 season didn’t go as planned. Polanco’s stats took a huge dip and he had health issues, too. While it put owners in a deep hole last season, it means a buying opportunity at a discount in 2018.
Polanco was a highly touted prospect and stole 27 bases in 2015, but hit only seven home runs. The power increased in 2016. He batted .258 with 79 runs, 22 home runs, 86 RBIs, 17 stolen bases and increased his hard hit percentage from 5.3 percent to 35.7 percent.
Polanco was never healthy last season. He played in 108 games and injured several body parts. He hurt his shoulder in March, followed by injuries to the groin, ankle, and a trip to the disabled list three times because of a hamstring injury.
The numbers show that his lack of health stymied his production. He batted .251 with 39 runs, 11 home runs, 35 RBIs, eight stolen bases and a .695 OPS.
Polanco called his old trainer after the season ended and went to work. He didn’t work with him before the 2017 season, instead electing to add power by lifting weights. Polanco said it didn’t work because his muscles were tight. The focus this off-season was on agility.
If Polanco is healthy, there’s no reason why he can’t produce close to what he did in 2016 and it won’t cost much in drafts. Polanco has an ADP of 159.66 on fantrax.com. I took him in a slow draft last month in the 12th round of a 15-team league. In a 15-team slow draft that began earlier this week, Polanco went in round ten.
Health was clearly the issue for Polanco last season. He tried to play through it unsuccessfully. He had one stolen base over the last four months because of the hamstring injuries. Polanco will likely hit cleanup and although Andrew McCutchen is gone, it’s not an awful lineup. Polanco has a track record for stolen bases and he clearly worked hard this offseason.
Polanco is one of the best bounce-back candidates in Fantasy Baseball this season.