Coming Out of Left Field: A.J. Pollock
The Yankees have a bunch of outfielders, but nobody really good yet for left. This week we'll look at options of who could be there in 23!
AJ Pollock Overview:
Coming out of Norte Dame University- by way of Hebron, Connecticut,- A.J. Pollock was the 17th player taken overall in the 2009 MLB Draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Pollock would spend the majority of the next 4 years in the minor leagues (2009 to 2012- though he missed the entire 2010 season due to breaking his right elbow in Spring Training) before making his MLB debut early in 2012...before being quickly sent back down to the minors 5 different times that year. Pollock would become a main-stay at the MLB level starting in 2013, though this was also was the calm before a pattern of injured seasons. To quickly catch us up to 2022, here is how they went:
2013 - Healthy & 137 Games Played
2014 - Fractured Right Hand; Out from June 1st to September 2nd
2015 - Healthy & 157 Games Played
2016 - Fractured Right Elbow; Out from April 2nd to August 26th
2017 - Strained Right Groin; Out from May 15th to July 4th
2018 - Fractured Left Hand; Out from May 15th to July 2nd
2019 - Inflamed Right Elbow; Out from April 30th to July 12th
2020 - Healthy & Played 55 Games
2021 - Strained Left Hamstring; Out from May 15th to June 3rd...Strained Right Hamstring; Out from September 5th to September 22nd
2022 - Strained Right Hamstring; Out from April 12th to 22nd
During this time, A.J. Pollock signed as a free agent with the Los Angeles Dodgers going into 2019 and then was traded to the Chicago White Sox before the 2022 season.
A.J. Pollock Statistics:
A.J. Pollock has been in the Major Leagues for parts of 11 seasons. During this time, he has played 1033 games (of 1680 possible), which comes out to under 61.5% of his teams games. During this time he also hit to a combined .276/.332/.469/.801 quadruple slash with 1010 hits, 140 home runs, 470 RBI's, 122 stolen bases (caught 28 times), and 282 walks to 704 strikeouts. This has led to a career +23.2 bWAR and a +21.2 fWAR.
In the past 3 seasons, Pollock has played in 310 games (of a possible 384) with a .269/.319/.474/.794 (115 OPS+) quadruple slash with 288 hits, 51 home runs, 159 RBI's, 14 stolen bases (caught 4 times), and 74 walks to 223 strikeouts. This also brought +4.5 bWAR and +4.5 fWAR.
Is he an Option?
If we look at his entire career, A.J. Pollock is the exact type of player that the Yankees front office tends to love (an older veteran guy with former top player status who has an extensive injury history). This "prototype" that the Yankees front office loves also happens to be the exact type of player that I would avoid at all costs. He has every major red flag that I would avoid. He's going to be entering his age-35 season, he's had at least one injury every full season since 2016, he's a right-handed bat, and he just had his worst season (by OPS+) in his career (minimum 40 games played).
So, get your hopes ready for him. Given this background, he's almost going to be a surefire Yankee. I've seen this playbook play out far too much to get my hopes up for something better.
There's really not much else to be said about Pollock. There was a point in time a few years back where he was a seriously good player. Heck, arguably one of the best teams in the MLB gave him a multi-year contract even after he was coming off 3 straight seasons with injuries that had him miss 2+ months. A.J. Pollock was a legitimately good player.
That ship has sailed. I wouldn't even get near this ship anymore. It's a shame, but players break down, players lose speed, players can't keep up. That's the A.J. Pollock story for 2023.