There was a time when Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Gregory Polanco was the new shiny prospect that collectors were paying good money for – without him ever having swung a bat in the big leagues.
But he had the pedigree and one baseball analyst after another raved about his eye for the ball and ability to hit to all parts of the field. Oh, he also had some speed and played defence well – just your all round player you’d expect in a top prospect.
Then he got called up in 2014 and through 89 at bats, he finished with a disappointing .235 average with seven homeruns and 14 stolen bases. In his sophomore year, he played a full season and batted .256 with nine homeruns and 27 stolen bases.
The power came in his most recent season where he batted .258 with 22 homeruns and 17 stolen bases.
The 2016 stats are respectable but Polanco didn’t play up to expectations. That’s the lesson to learn from the young, and still very talented, Pittsburgh Pirates player – overhyped prospects are more likely to disappoint and the initial spike in their rookie card values is usually followed by a drop (sometimes a steep one).
I remember bidding (and losing) on eBay for his base auto rookie card (BGS Graded 9.5), which was eventually sold for $110.
Today, it is selling for $49.
Now, I actually think Polanco is a good buy low at that price. But you’ll have to be more patient with him and play the long game, waiting for his sustained success on the field to boost his value.
Hopefully the same fate doesn’t fall on another even more overhyped prospect named Bryce Harper.