Results tagged ‘ Gregory Polanco ’
By Jake Seiner / MiLB.com
The Minor League season has come and gone, and sadly, that means Notable Quotables will be heading into hibernation until the games start up against next spring. We’ll still have plenty of regular content, both here on the blog and over at MiLB.com, but to celebrate the end of the 2013 season and the temporary end of this column, we’re going to bring you a “Best Of” from this summer featuring each of MLB.com’s Top 100 prospects.
Below, you’ll find prospects 11-20 (also see: 21-30, 31-40, 41-50, 51-60, 61-70, 71-80, 81-90, 91-100). And over the coming weeks, we’ll bring you more thoughts and reflections from and about the best prospects in the game.
A quick note: Though we managed to feature just about every Top 100 prospect this season, there are a few who evaded our eyes/tape recorders for one reason or another. In that case, rather than leave you hanging, we’re going to drop in one fun fact or statistical quirk of note that hopefully reveals a little something about the player.
11. Nick Castellanos, OF, Detroit Tigers
Castellanos on the transition to playing outfield:
“It’s not like I used to play outfield when I was little — when I played my first game in the outfield for [Double-A] Erie, it was the first time I had ever played in the outfield in my life.
“I took an infield glove with me out there because I didn’t feel comfortable using the big glove. I had never used one before.”
12. Noah Syndergaard, RHP, New York Mets
St. Lucie pitching coach Phil Regan on Syndergaard’s development
“He’s really coming along well. I think he’s making a lot of strides. … He’s understanding a lot about pitching and he’s just a tremendous kid, soaks up knowledge and wants to learn. I think he’s done exceptionally well for his age and where he’s coming from. He’s not afraid, he goes right after [hitters, he's] aggressive on the mound. I think he’s got confidence in himself, and that’s all part of it.”
13. Gregory Polanco, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates
Altoona manager Carlos Garcia on welcoming Polanco to Double-A
“Right now, at this point, I just want to sit and watch him play. He has a lot to offer and I want to make sure he feels comfortable, so he’s able to learn in every game. … And I want to make him understand it’s going to be a lot of competition up here, at this level. But I don’t think he cares about that too much, he just enjoys playing.
“We just want to keep him healthy, keep him playing the game the right way, which I don’t think is going to be a problem for him because that’s what he does.”
14. Dylan Bundy, RHP, Baltimore Orioles
Bundy’s agent, Jay Franklin, on Bundy’s reaction to having to undergo Tommy John surgery:
“He’s down, you can imagine. … That’s tough on anyone, especially someone with his level of competitiveness. [Orioles team orthopedist Dr. John] Wilckens and Dr. [James] Andrews are very qualified to make that recommendation, and to me it is the right decision.
“The good thing is, because of how young he is, he should be able to heal quickly. … Not many people are in better shape.”
15. Michael Wacha, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals
Memphis manager Pop Warner on his impressions of Wacha:
“Obviously he’s good enough to do it. … He’s just composed, the guy’s just mature beyond his years. This is the first time I saw him. He just carries himself right.
“[He's] driven, competes really well and obviously he’s pretty polished with his stuff. Combine all that and you’ve got a pretty good player on your hands.”
16. Billy Hamilton, OF, Cincinnati Reds
Louisville manager Jim Riggleman on the aspects of Hamilton’s game beyond speed:
“He’s naturally a right-handed hitter, and from that side of the plate, he’s pretty accomplished. … The left-handed swing is more of a work in progress.”
17. Robert Stephenson, RHP, Cincinnati Reds
Dayton pitching coach Tony Fossas on Stephenson’s abilities and mentality:
“Robert has all the God-given talent to proceed. … He’s blessed. Now can he put everything to work and maintain his health? Can he maintain his endurance year after year? He’s willing to learn — he’s willing to try things. He does have a little stubbornness, but I like that. He has a great work ethic, and as a person, he’s off the charts.”
18. Addison Russell, SS, Oakland Athletics
Russell on adjustments he made in the second half:
“The way I’m playing now is the way I think I should have been playing in the beginning of the year. … It’s a long year, my first year, and it’s just a learning curve. The good thing is that I think I struggled in the beginning and I learned how to come back from it, stay positive. Instead of trying to force it more when it was going bad, sit back, relax and let your ability and talent take over.”
19. Jonathan Singleton, 1B, Houston Astros
Singleton on making his 2013 debut with Quad Cities after serving his suspension:
“I was pretty anxious. … I actually didn’t get too much sleep, but once I got to the ballpark today, I was calmed down a little bit. Once I got the uniform on, I was ready to go.”
20. Travis d’Arnaud, C, New York Mets
d’Arnaud on his relationship with Syndergaard:
“What can I say about an outing like that? He had an absolutely electric fastball, his curveball was pretty devastating and his changeup — I didn’t even know he had a changeup like that. It just made his fastball look so much quicker and harder. The whole thing was effective.
“I think he threw it eight or 10 times today and used it pretty effectively each time. If he’s having any trouble with it, I couldn’t tell. It works really well with the fastball and the curveball.
“I think the pitcher-catcher relationship is actually one of the most important and most undervalued part of the game. If those two guys get along, you can work at a better pace and really get in that groove.”
By Sam Dykstra / MiLB.com
Earlier this month, I looked at the prospects I believe aren’t going anywhere come the July 31 Trade Deadline. Now that we’re just over one week away from one of the most exciting dates on the MLB calendar, here’s a look at some prospects that could be on the move between now and then. (Disclaimer: These are just thoughts and not at all guarantees that Prospect A will be moved.)
Tyler Skaggs, Arizona: We’ll start with by far the biggest name on this list. Skaggs, who was a fixture at the top prospect spot in the D-backs’ prospect list before “graduating” earlier this month, has already been traded once in his pro career — as the player to be named later in the 2010 deal that sent Dan Haren to the Angels — but I wouldn’t be surprised if the left-hander is moved again. The 22-year-old has been touch-and-go in both the Majors (2-1, 4.03 ERA in five starts) and Minors (6-6, 4.30 in 14 appearances between Triple-A Reno and Class A Advanced Visalia) this season, but because of age and potential, his stock remains quite high, meaning now might be the time to bite.
I’m not saying the D-backs should actively shop Skaggs this Deadline season. In fact, they’ve flat-out denied any interest in letting him go, although how often have we heard that story. If the right blockbuster deal is on the table though — think Jeff Samardzija of the Cubs — Skaggs could be on the move once more.
Mike Olt/C.J. Edwards/Neil Ramirez, Texas: These come straight from the headlines. Multiple outlets have reported that the Rangers and Cubs were discussing a deal for right-hander Matt Garza. Rumors began flying about who Chicago would get in return, although talks apparently broke down when the Cubs became concerned with the health of an unnamed prospect they’d receive. Still, these were the three most often discussed as the key prospect pieces heading Chicago’s way.
Olt, who is coming around at Triple-A Round Rock after early struggles caused by an eye issue, is listed by MLB.com as the Rangers’ top prospect but is obviously blocked at the hot corner by three-time All-Star Adrian Beltre. Although he’s been tried in the outfield and at first before, he hasn’t played another position outside third this year for the Express, so his role within the organization might be only as trade bait. The Cubs, who have used Luis Valbuena (.236/.345/.394) at third this season, would be a nice fit for his services.
On the other hand, Edwards would be another “strike while the iron is hot” candidate. Drafted in the 48th round in 2011, the 21-year-old right-hander has dominated the South Atlantic League this season, posting a 1.83 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 122 strikeouts in 93 1/3 innings for Class A Hickory without allowing a home run. He has yet to be tested by the upper levels, but the numbers as they stand are quite encouraging. Chicago could certainly use pitching depth in the Minors pool, and Edwards could provide that and then some, even if his ETA isn’t for a few more years.
Ramirez could be the one where there were some hangups on the Cubs’ end. Texas’ No. 14 prospect had issues — among a laundry list of other struggles — with his back last season, when he went 8-13 with a 6.28 ERA and 1.40 WHIP between Round Rock and Double-A Frisco. He’s been much better for the RoughRiders this season (3.68 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, increase from 7.9 K/9 to 11.0), but he’s also had problems with his shoulder. If the Cubs (or another team) decide they want to look past those problems, the 24-year-old right-hander is certainly a candidate to be moved, now that the on-the-field results appear to be back.
Kolten Wong, St. Louis: Like Olt above, Wong finds himself blocked at second base in the Cardinals organization. Fresh off finishing a solid rookie season, Matt Carpenter has taken his game to another level this season with a .325 average (fifth-highest in the NL) and a senior circuit-leading 31 doubles. Wong — St. Louis’ No. 3 prospect — has held his own for Triple-A Memphis with a .301/.359/.464 slash line and 13 steals so far en route to a Futures Game nod last week. The University of Hawaii product could have broken down the door to his Majors debut by this point but hasn’t because of Carpenter’s All-Star contributions. With that, he could be a key piece that that the Cards are willing to let go of come the end of the month.
Gregory Polanco, Pittsburgh: Imagine that. The Pirates might be the most well-equipped to make a big move this Trade Deadline season. Alright alright, they were one of the teams to make a fairly big trade last year when they acquired Wandy Rodriguez from the Astros. But it still feels a little weird to call the Bucs buyers at this point, right? With that in mind, the team was one of the most prominently named in the Giancarlo Stanton sweepstakes that have seemingly ended. With the need for a right fielder still remaining — Travis Snider just isn’t cutting it — Alex Rios could be a different target.
What it takes to get him remains to be seen, but a package based around Polanco wouldn’t be out of the question. The 21-year-old center fielder broke out at Class A West Virginia last year, and a .312/.364/.472 slash line with 24 steals in 57 games for Class A Advanced Bradenton impressed the Pirates enough that they moved him up to Double-A Altoona. He’s ranked right now as Pittsburgh’s No. 4 and MLB.com’s No.52 overall prospect. That could be enough to get Rios or some sort of equivalent, especially if the other side eats some of the contract. An outfielder of the future for a steady outfielder of the present — not a bad trade for the Pirates in their pursuit of that elusive playoff spot.
Joey Terdoslavich, Atlanta: Justin Upton. B.J. Upton. Jason Heyward. Despite the struggles of the latter two this season, this seems to be the Braves outfield of the long-term future, leaving Terdoslavich on the outside looking in for a starting spot. The 24-year-old switch-hitter, who ranks as the Braves’ No. 14 prospect, ranked among the International League leaders with a .318 average, .926 OPS, 18 homers and 58 RBIs for Triple-A Gwinnett before being called up to Atlanta when Jordan Schafer hit the DL earlier this month. The sixth-round pick from the 2010 Draft, who has played in left, right and first base with the Braves, may never look better to potential suitors than he does right now, and Atlanta might be wise to cash in.
Drake Britton, Boston: Britton, whose year didn’t get off to a great start when he was arrested for a DUI in Spring Training, put together a fine half-season at Double-A Portland, going 7-6 with a 3.51 ERA in 17 appearances (16 starts). The 24-year-old southpaw moved up to Triple-A Pawtucket, where he gave up five runs on 10 hits in 5 1/3 innings during his debut. Despite his struggles in that one game, the Red Sox moved him to the big club just before the All-Star break with the idea of him joining the relief corps. (He allowed just one hit and one walk over two scoreless innings against the Yankees the past two days, the first time he’s ever worked back-to-back days.)
Still, that smells very much like an audition for potential suitors. Between names like Barnes, Webster, De La Rosa, Owens, Ranaudo and Workman, the Red Sox have an abundance of potential Major League arms in the system, so they can deal from a position of strength when they go looking for additional bullpen arms, beyond the recently acquired Matt Thornton or even starting pitching, if it looks like Clay Buchholz will be out longer than expected. Britton, who hadn’t posted a season ERA below 4.00 since 2010 entering this season, could be the one they are most likely to let go.
Earlier this morning, MiLB.com published the first installment (link here) of my joint Q&A with Pirates outfielders Josh Bell and Gregory Polanco, who are ranked sixth and fifth respectively among Pittsburgh farmhands. I would encourage you to check that out initially. Below is a second installment of outtake questions and answers. Enjoy.
QUESTIONS FOR JOSH BELL:
Me: What’s your your daily routine at the IMG Academy?
Bell: From about 8:30 to 9:00 [a.m.], we stretch. For the next hour, we train our muscles, train on the glute and the hamstrings and the hip flexors to power through while we run. We do different drills, whether it be ladders or just working on karaoke or sled training. An hour is a long time to be doing anything, really. It’s the toughest part of the day, but it’s nice to see results. Even in this first week, I feel like my running mechanics have sharpened up a little bit, so that’s good.
Me: Do you have time for other stuff?
Bell: It’s an all-day thing. I have time after lunch until we play ball. Pedro Alvarez is up here right now. It’s cool to see a big leaguer. Everyone else is in the Minor Leagues. J.R. Murphy is with us. Just guys trying to get better for the upcoming season.
Me: What outfield position do you see yourself at long-term?
Bell: I got moved to right field last year. I don’t really care. The outfield is fun [no matter the position]. I love tracking balls, so wherever, depends on what the team needs.
Me: Is there a ballplayer you model yourself after?
Bell: Do I model myself after anyone specifically? I follow a couple guys on Twitter if that means anything, I guess, for the off-the-field aspect. I really like [Andrew] McCutchen and Matt Kemp, younger guys that have had success in the game. You gotta love Mike Trout, the way he plays.
Me: Have you met McCutchen?
Bell: I shook hands with him once and went to a players-only question-and-answer session that was like 45 minutes long. We could pick his brain and ask him whatever we wanted. It was cool behind the scenes, since we’re players we probably get more answers to our questions than reporters would. I just realized he was a normal guy. It was really cool.
Me: Aside from staying healthy, what are your goals for 2013?
Bell: I haven’t made a goal sheet for next season. This offseason, I just want to get as strong as I can and not leave anything in the tank. I have nothing to worry about this season because I know I have prepared myself the way I know I needed to. I’ll definitely go into Spring Training with a lot more confidence and being more trusting than I was last year.
Me: Where do both expect to begin the 2013 season?
Bell: I would expect [to be back at West Virginia], but I guess that depends on how I play in Spring Training. We’ll see.
QUESTIONS FOR GREGORY POLANCO (@El_Coffee):
Me: Were there adjustments you made before or during last season to put yourself in a position to have such success?
Polanco: I made a lot of adjustments before and during the season. You never stop making adjustments.
Me: Were you surprised by your breakout 2012? Does it raise your expectations for the 2013 campaign?
Polanco: I wasn’t surprised because I worked really hard for that, and thank god I had a great season, and it definitely has risen my expectations for this year.
Me: What is your favorite thing about playing in the Minors?
Polanco: Being able to work on my game everyday, so I can maximize my tools the day I arrive in Pittsburgh.
Me: Who is the toughest starting pitcher you have faced in the Minors?
Polanco: Jose Fernandez from the Marlins.
Me: What part of your game needs the most work?
Polanco: My consistency.
Me: What is your long-term baseball goal?
Polanco: Playing 20 years in the big leagues.
Me: Where do both expect to begin the 2013 season?
Polanco: I’m not sure but I will probably start in the FSL [with the Bradenton Marauders].
Me: Aside from baseball, what is your passion?
Polanco: Video games since I was a little kid. I’m addicted to PS3.
Me: Lastly, is there anything you want your fans and our readers to know about you?
Polanco: Everybody calls me “El Coffee.” It comes from my skin color. My coach growing up gave me [the name]. Growing up, I was a pitcher, too, tall lanky lefty.