One of the last teams that I scouted this minor league season was the Reno Aces when they came to take on the Tacoma Rainiers. I previously wrote up outfield prospect and minor league average leader, Adam Eaton, over at Bullpen Banter. Now I’ll take a look at his teammate, A.J. Pollock.
Pollock was the 17th overall pick by the Diamondbacks in the 2009 draft. He made his professional debut in 2009 in the Midwest League where he hit .271/.319/.376 in 277 plate appearances. Pollock’s development took a step backwards though in 2010 when he missed the entire season with a fractured elbow. He bounced back in 2011 and spent all of the year at AA Mobile putting together a solid year. He posted a .307/.357/.44 triple slash in 608 plate appearances with 8 homeruns. He opened up the season at AAA Reno and got a call to the bigs in April when Chris Young hit the DL and he spent about a month with Arizona where he hit .250/302/.339 and a homerun in 63 plate appearances. Pollock would be sent back down to AAA Reno when Young came of the DL and he spent the rest of the year down there. His line on the year at AAA was .318/.369/.411 and 3 homeruns.
On to the report following the break.
A.J. Pollock stands 6’1” 195lb and bats and throws right-handed. Pollock isn’t a big guy but is well proportioned and has an athletic muscular frame. I could see him filling out a bit more but he won’t ever get too big.
Pollock was drafted as one of the best college hitters in the 2009 draft and that bat continues to impress. Pollock makes a lot of contact and drives the ball to all parts of the field. He has strong, quick hands and goes a good job keeping the barrel of the bat in the zone. His swing is pretty simple starting with a slightly open stance and his weight on his back foot. Pollock not only has above average contact but also has a great approach at the plate. He has a good eye, waits for his pitch, and isn’t overly aggressive. He has an above average to plus hit tool and is a guy who should hit for a high average and post good walk numbers at the next level.
Pollock is never going to hit for lots of power, which is in large part thanks to his line drive orientated swing that translates best to gap-to-gap power. At best, Pollock is a guy that can hit 10-15 homeruns a year but I see him posting solid extra base hit numbers.
One both sides of the ball, Pollock is an above average runner. He is a good base runner with solid instincts and has the tools to steal 20 bases a year.
Pollock is a converted shortstop and the biggest question with his development has been if he’ll stick in center field. Well Pollock has answered those questions throughout his development and flashes the tools to be above average defensively in center field. He has above average speed out there with great instincts and he reads the ball well. He plays all three outfield spots well but he has the stuff to stick in center long term and be an average to above average fielder there. Pollock has a solid arm that is average to above average. He is also accurate with his throws.
The biggest knock on Pollock and his prospect status is that there are no exciting tools across the board. With that though, his game is solid all around and he is pretty polished and has great makeup. His floor is that of a fourth outfielder but he has the ceiling of an everyday center fielder that bats at the top of the order. He has a great bat that should hit around .300 and hit around 10-15 homeruns a year with the ability to steal 20 bases. I think it’s safe to say that he’ll break camp next year on Arizona’s active roster and deserves to be in the starting lineup.