In a matchup against Andrew Suarez and the San Jose Giants, Carlos Polanco showed a lean, lanky body with flexibility and athleticism and an easy arm with loose whippy action out of a three-quarters slot. The delivery had a lot of moving parts, including a high leg lift with his hands starting at the waist before lifting and breaking. All the movement in the motion caused Polanco’s timing to be off, and resulted in poor command all night. He did finish in a strong fielding position, but tends to pull the front shoulder open, causing pitches to flatten out and run to the arm side of the plate. The fastball has extra life but is fairly straight and sits 93-to-94 mph, though he did get it up to 96 early. Right now he’s more of a thrower than a pitcher without much confidence or feel for changing speeds and working hitters.
The changeup is his best off-speed pitch, showing light tumble with good arm speed; if he stopped overthrowing it, this could continue to develop and become an average pitch. The curveball was inconsistent and loopy and he lifted his arm to try and get more downward 12-to-5 action. During warm-ups, he showed better bite. Based off the spin, it looks like there could still be some development. The slider was limited, and Polanco didn’t have much feel for the pitch when he did throw it. There was small tilt and break and he tended to get his hand around the ball causing it to dive instead of break.
It looks like Polanco is still trying to get an understanding of pitching and lacks confidence in anything other than the fastball. As his command faltered, his frustration increased and after hitting a batter in the head, he couldn’t throw his fastball over the plate. Polanco is still young, but he will have to develop a secondary pitch to reach his ceiling, but right now he’s best suited for limited looks or single innings where the fastball velocity can play up.- Ryan Ozella