Polanco was recently moved up to leadoff spot for Triple-A Indianapolis, and he's continued to tear the cover off the ball. But that does not necessarily mean he'll be first in the order when he starts wearing a Pirates uniform.
Josh Harrison has settled into the Bucs' leadoff role in the last three weeks. Harrison carried a 10-game hitting streak into Sunday's series finale against the Brewers and is batting .330 with 18 runs scored and a .911 OPS when he hits first in the order this season.
Harrison has primarily played right field, the same position as Polanco, but is the most versatile player on the Pirates' roster and has played both corner outfield spots, third base, second base and shortstop this season. Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said not knowing who to bat first between Harrison and Polanco would be a "great problem to have," and he hinted at scenarios in which they're both in the lineup with Harrison leading off.
"It's hard to take that sparkplug out of the lineup," Huntington said of Harrison. "That'd be a great thing, to be able to drop Gregory to a less demanding role.
"If Josh continues to play the way he has and the offense continues to roll the way it has in the last five to six weeks, Gregory can come in and be a guy. He doesn't have to be the guy."
Polanco, ranked as the No. 12 prospect in baseball by MLB.com, has a .350 average, .409 on-base percentage, seven homers and 49 RBIs in 61 games for Indianapolis. Fans in Pittsburgh have been clamoring for the 22-year-old's arrival all season, especially in recent weeks. Polanco will get here eventually, but Huntington didn't shed any light on the specific timing of Polanco's inevitable promotion.
"Our goal is to bring him here when we feel it's the right time," Huntington said. "In an ideal world, we'd like to get him some more plate appearances down there. What he's doing has allowed us to shorten that time frame a little bit."