posted 7/26/12 11:04 AM PST
by Marc Hefferan
*MLBDepthCharts.com considers any player not on a team's 40-man roster, in AAA, or ranked as a top 10 prospect by Baseball America or top 11 prospect by Baseball Prospectus before the 2012 season as an 'under the radar' player.
Under the Radar Minor League NL Hitting Performance of the Week
OF Gregory Polanco, Lo-A West Virginia (PIT)
season stats: .323 BA, 13 HR, 70 RBI, 22 2B, 5 3B, 37 BB, 58 K, 39 SB in 96 games
July 18-July 24: 9-for-18, HR, 2 2B, 8 RBI, 3 BB, 5 SB
When the minor league season began 16 weeks ago, very few hitters blazed a trail onto the minor league scene hotter than Pirates shortstop prospect Alen Hanson, who hit over .400 in all of April and into early May and and has been tabbed Baseball America’s top breakout player in the minors so far this season. But in typical under the radar fashion, another hidden gem in the Pirates' system, centerfielder and teammate Gregory Polanco, has been quietly producing big numbers of his own. Batting a team high .323 with 13 home runs and 39 stolen bases, Polanco rapped out nine hits, highlighted by a four-hit game with a double, two runs scored, four runs batted in and two stolen bases on June 20th vs. Delmarva. The 20 year-old is batting .423 for the month of July, has collected hits in 24 of his last 32 games, and ranks second in the South Atlantic League in hits (118) and total bases (189).
When the Pirates signed the left-handed hitting Polanco out of the Dominican Republic back in April of 2009, they saw a tall slender 17 year-old with big-time power potential, speed and above average defense. He hit a respectable .267 in his 2009 pro debut in the Dominican Summer League but offered little in the power department, amassing only 14 extra-base hits in 261 plate appearances. His next two seasons, Polanco saw a decline in batting average but his gap power was starting to show and improved plate discipline allowed Polanco to capitalize on his speed where he stole 37 bases in 39 attempts. With a little more polish to his game than Hanson, the 6'4" Polanco appears to be putting all of the skills together and has surprised many by doing so much faster than expected during his first taste of full-season ball. Polanco is positioning himself to join Hanson as one of Pittsburgh’s top overall position prospects heading into 2013 and could see a promotion to Hi-A Bradenton before the end of the season.
OF Dustin Lawley, Lo-A Savannah (NYM): .281 BA, 13 HR, 53 RBI, 26 2B, 42 BB, 80 K, 12 SB in 96 games; 10-for-22, 4 HR, 10 RBI in last week.
C/OF Mike Kvasnicka, Lo-A Lexington (HOU): .231 BA, 15 HR, 51 RBI, 14 2B, 18 BB, 81 K in 81 games; 9-for-26, 4 HR, 14 RBI in last week.
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UTR Minor League NL Pitching Performance of the Week
Under the Radar 2012 Archive