AJ Pollock was supposed to be a FA steal for Friedman. The former 17th overall pick of the 2009 draft signed with the Dodgers for 4 years/$55MM with a 5th year for 10MM option.
Friedman loves Pollock, and has been a big believer of his healthy capabilities. However, he was not able to stay healthy once again, playing only 86 games in 2019. In fact, he’s only played one full season, 2015. But that one year was an exceptional display of his 5-tools where he was an all-star, a gold glove, and a top 5 bat in the MLB.
- Pollock’s 2019
The 2019 season was a disappointment for Pollock not because of his production, but purely because of his games played. As you can see, Pollock was actually an above average bat with great average exit velocity and sprint speed. His OPS on the year was .795. His career average is .804, right in line. He was on pace for a 90 run, 90 RBI, 30 HR, 10 SB season. That production from a 31 year old is fantastic. If he can be a little more patience at the plate, this 5-tool stud could still easily be an all-star.
However, he didn’t stay healthy, and it’s important to notice the other flaws as well . He had significant splits between LHP and RHP. A very slow start to the season, and the once great defender is losing his value in the field. Largely due to his bad luck injuries, specifically his elbow.
- His Injuries
Pollock over the years has broken his thumb, broken his wrist, fractured his “fourth metacarpal” in his right hand, fractured his elbow, has strained his groin, and most recently had right elbow inflammation.
That elbow has been the only recurring injury throughout his career and it hasn’t exactly been his fault. He couldn’t really control an infection from a bad surgery.
- Pollock As A DH
And that’s why the Universal DH should have Pollock incredibly excited. Sadly, his throwing arm will probably never be quite the same. His outfielder jump is well below average, and his plus speed won’t make up for that forever.
But his bat is still potent. Without the strain of training, throwing, and practicing only as an OF, Pollock can rest his body and focus more on his hitting.
Pollock is supposed to split time with Joc in the outfield, but now he can play in games against any pitcher, at any time. Even an unhealthy Pollock was able to rebound his .223/.287/.330 first half back up to his career averages. Post All-Star he OPS’d .885 with 13 of his 15 home runs and all of his stolen bases.
Overall, if we can keep Pollock healthy and out of the field, his bat may return to it’s 2015 glory. He’s a prime candidate for a big bounce back year.