Polanco signs with NPB's Yomiuri Giants

January 6th, 2022

Longtime Pirates outfielder Gregory Polanco is headed to Japan to play in Nippon Professional Baseball, Tokyo’s Yomiuri Giants announced early Thursday morning.

The 30-year-old native of the Dominican Republic was signed by the Pirates in 2009 and was quickly hailed as one of the best prospects in the system, reaching a No. 2 ranking among the club's farmhands in ‘13 per MLB Pipeline.

Though Polanco regularly featured among the top exit velocities on a year-by-year basis -- including a career-best 116.2 mph batted ball in 2021 -- results were not nearly as consistent for the 6-foot-5 slugger on a game-by-game basis. Outside of a standout ‘18 campaign, when “El Coffee” posted an .839 OPS with 32 doubles, six triples and 23 homers, he largely struggled to reach his ceiling.

Polanco ended his MLB tenure hitting .241/.309/.409 with 96 home runs in 823 games, all of which came with Pittsburgh despite finishing 2021 in the Blue Jays’ Minor League system after he was released by his former club in August.