A.J. Pollock OF Arizona Diamondbacks
Height: 6’1″ Weight: 195
A.J. Pollock was selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 1st round of the 2009 draft at #17 overall. The Notre Dame product signed for $1.4mm and was immediately assigned to the Midwest League with the South Bend Silver Hawks. Our own Dave Reiffer got a close look at Pollock in that first taste of pro action where Pollock showed why he was considered a polished talent destined to move quickly through the system.
Pollock opened up his career with a 63 game stint where he hit .271 over 255 AB. He stole 10 bases and added 12 doubles, 3 triples and 3 HR with just 36 strikeouts and 16 walks. While the walk rate wasn’t optimal, the 13% K rate was an excellent number.
His 2010 is defined with one word: Injury. He fractured his elbow before the season got started and missed the entire season.
But in 2011, The D-backs pushed him straight to Double-A and basically threw him into the fire. And he responded well. Over 606 ABs he was able to crack the .300 mark with a .306 while boosting his IsoP to a solid .137 powered by 41 doubles, 5 triples and 8 long balls. He also turned his average speed into 36 stolen bases because of his high level base running approach.
The performance was enough to get him a spot inside of the Baseball Instinct 360°:
190°. A.J. Pollock, OF, Diamondbacks, 12/05/1987 - Pollock had a lost 2010 season, but made quick work of getting back onto the radar in 2011. His .309 AVG shows his best tool is his bat. He’s an all around solid player both offensively and defensively. He’s going to be an average defender, but his game lacks power or elite speed. But with a solid hitting ability and enough speed to steal 30+ bases he’s going to be at least a 4th OF and possibly a solid starting LF for a few years. There’s a high floor here though the ceiling is limited as well. ETA 2012.
With Pollock knocking on the door to the big club (Update: Just called up 4/18/12) let’s take a look at the bat and the glove of one of the Diamondbacks top prospects.
Offensively Pollock has average tools across the board with an ability to square up pitches and drive them all over the field. His power is more gap to gap where he’s excellent at driving lots of doubles by using his speed. His contact ability may actually be his one plus tool but his make up and ability to get the most out of his other tools is on the high side as well.
While he doesn’t have plus speed, he gets the most out of his average speed with an advanced approach on the base paths.
Pollock has the range and speed to play CF and if given the chance he’ll be able to hold the position down. But he fits better in a corner and despite an average arm, LF may be his ultimate home if he’s going to be a full time player. But he could fill the role of a 4th OF and work at all three spots when needed.
Pollock has the advanced contact ability of a major leaguer. While his other tools are average across the board, he’s a well put together set of skills. There isn’t much room for growth into more power and as he gets older his speed will wane, but he could also continue to mature as a hitter and his approach in taking walks could use some development. If that happens he could be a solid leadoff hitter or an excellent #2.
Because of his ability to square up on pitches, his approach to working deep counts isn’t well developed and it keeps his OBP in a middling range. It’s one flaw that may keep him from reaching that top of the order upside. He profiles as an average major league OF and could see some run as a full time OF and eventually settle into the 4th OF role for the Diamondbacks.
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