A.J. Pollock had a tremendous 2015 season but missed most of 2016 with injuries for the Diamondbacks. Is the former first round talent being overlooked in drafts heading into 2017?
My oh my, what a difference a year makes. This time last season, the fantasy world was unanimous in declaring that A.J. Pollock was a first-round pick based on his monster 2015 performance. But, an elbow injury last April would cost him nearly the whole season for fantasy owners and the Diamondbacks. Yet, is he already being overlooked heading into fantasy drafts this season?
Pollock teased breakout potential in 2014 and he put it all together in 2015 to post a .315/20 HR/76 RBI/39 SB/.865 OPS/111 R line. He was a beast all season and fantasy owners rode him throughout the year to the promise land. Pollock looked like a bona fide star finally shining, making his 20 HR/30 SB combo tantalizing moving forward. But, a fractured elbow would limit him to only 12 games last season.
The fractured elbow would cost him all the way till August, where he was able to return. But, that return was short-lived as a groin injury would shut him down before he could even find a groove in September. His 46 plate appearances do not give owners any sort of worthwhile dataset to see if he was continuing his success from 2015.
The excitement around Pollock heading into 2017 is predictably not as high as it was last season. However, this may actually help fantasy owners as he is falling into owner’s lap around the end of the third round.
In terms of his injuries, both are healed. He fractured the same elbow in 2010, but doctors pledged that the surgery this time around was much more secure.
He clearly recovered well enough for the Diamondbacks to let him return last season. The groin issue seems to be just a flare up, he has had no setbacks this offseason and is ready to go for spring training. He will be 29-years-old next season, but the injuries from last season should not worry fantasy owners.
Pollock is one of the few players in the league that can be a five category producer. He added a leg kick in 2014 and it led directly to his power uptick and his ability to drive the ball more. His 20% LD, 51% Med and 34% Hard contact rates in 2015 were all career highs, and the correlation can be drawn to the tangible swing adjustment.
In terms of speed, Pollock should have no problem getting over the 30 SB mark. In 2015 he attempted 46 steals and was able to post 39 SB. Last season in only 12 games, he was able to swipe four bags without being caught. The D’Backs are aggressive on the base paths and that should not be any different next season.
The counting stats will be there as well. He will bat atop a lineup that will have Jake Lamb and Paul Goldschmidt following him, so the run totals should be solid. Playing half of his games at Chase Field helps as well so even if 20 HR may be his ceiling, it is a very reachable number moving forward.
Pollock is one the most dynamic players in MLB and is entering the peak of his career. Fantasy owners may not share the same optimism because of the injury-riddled 2016, but that talent is still there. He has the potential to be a top-10 player with a third-round price tag. Do not overlook Pollock this spring.