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Checking in on Gregory Polanco’s winter

MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at Cleveland Indians Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

After a miserable 2020 season, Gregory Polanco felt the need to return to the Dominican Winter League for the first time since 2013-14.

Thus far, Polanco has appeared in 13 games for Leones del Escogido. In 54 plate appearances, the 29-year-old outfielder is hitting .174/.294/.391 with two dingers, two doubles, and a triple. Although not great, this line is a step up from his .153/.214/.325 performance posted in the 2020 regular season with the Pirates.

In said 2020 regular season, strikeouts were a huge problem for Polanco as he K’d 37.4 percent of the time. During this winter season, he has been able to cut back on the strikeouts to an extent. He has struck out 13 times and currently has a K rate of 24.1 percent. The sample size is small, yes, but it is at least nice to see a slight improvement. El Coffee has also drawn seven walks during the winter season, good for a walk rate of 13 percent. During the 2020 regular season, that rate was 7.5 percent.

Getting reps in winter ball is a nice way for players to improve their craft. For Polanco to recognize the need to improve is a good sign for him. The extra reps can do nothing but help his future production. Even if his current winter ball numbers aren’t yet up to snuff, it is nice to see the slight improvement.

El Coffee needs a pick me up. Perhaps winter league baseball will be the necessary pep for his step.