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What to Make of A.J. Pollock
Posted By Ben Duronio On May 19, 2014 @ 11:15 am In Featured,Outfielders | 16 Comments
With injuries starting to compile across many a fantasy team, the waiver wire is becoming an attractive place to find some value on your rosters. While many have already started on this boat, I wanted to do a bit of an analysis on A.J. Pollock as he is someone I have recently added to fill in, at least for the time being, while some of my better players are on the disabled list.
Pollock displays the ever so essential power and speed combination. How much of each is the thing to focus on. What I love is that he has combined his home run power with other extra base hits, and also that he has stolen bases at a rather high rate.
When it comes to Pollock, I think it is easy to point to his average and subsequently his on base percentage declining probably in the near future. With a career .275/.329/.434 line, even if we expect him to improve on those marks a bit, he is probably not the .315/.364/.546 guy he has been so far. But again, the attractiveness with Pollock lies in his home runs and speed. Playing in a great ballpark in Arizona and providing quality defense should allow Pollock the ability to earn playing time and keep his numbers up despite playing in a crowded outfield. Plus, at age 26, he is right around the start of his power peak so while he hit only eight home runs last season, the five he has hit this year seem more like a progression rather than an aberration.
One of the downsides to Pollock is his position in the batting order. This month, he has batted leadoff twice but otherwise has not hit higher than sixth. As he continues to hit he will continue to hit in more attractive lineup spots, but for now one concern is that you are only going to get three plate appearances from him on normal nights and four on the high end. It is also worth noting that in the thirteen games in May he has seen his line rise from .258/.305/.449 to its current levels. He is riding a hot streak right now, and five of his six steals have come this month as well. Make no mistake, if you are acquiring Pollock via trade or picking him up on the waiver wire, you are buying him on a high at this point in time.
Even though we are buying him on a high, I am a fan of Pollock maintaining success in the power and speed departments enough to outset the likely decline in his rate states. I expect his RBI totals to start to pick him if he is hitting in the six or seven spots regularly, but the hope is that the Diamondbacks move him toward the top of the order and he helps boost your runs more than the RBI. If they do make that move to have him hit consistently in the top of the lineup, expect the steals to jump up as well. After all, in his past two years he has stolen 18 bases and been caught just four times. The Diamondbacks are looking for any way to win games, and if Pollock is running successfully look for him to continue to nab bases with regularity.
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