Gregory Polanco made huge strides in 2016, but this Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder could be in store for an even bigger 2017 season. At only 25 years old, Polanco made significant improvements to his swing and approach at the plate in 2016. He finished the season with a .258/.323/.463 slash line, 34 doubles, four triples, 22 home runs, 86 RBIs, 79 runs, and 17 stolen bases. Out of all Major League hitters this year, only 14 had more than 20 home runs and 15 stolen bases. Out of those 15, only five are 25 years old or younger (Gregory Polanco, Bryce Harper, Mookie Betts, Mike Trout, Wil Myers). As you can see, Polanco is in a very elite group of young talent, but after looking more into his numbers, his game could explode in the upcoming seasons.
Jose Altuve, 26 years old, has a very good chance at winning the American League MVP Award in 2016. So how in the world could a potential MVP Award winner be undervalued? In 2013, the 5’4 Houston Astros’ second baseman signed a four year/$12 million contract. The contract also has a $6 million fifth year club option and a $6.5 million sixth year club option. Since signing the contract in 2013, Altuve has earned the honors of being an American League All-Star in 2014, 2015, and 2016.
I think it’s hard to say a player is undervalued if they are still under team control or arbitration eligible, but Altuve’s long-term contract is way under his specific value. He is one of the best all-around players in all of baseball. He is currently batting .346, with 22 home runs, 95 runs, 90 RBIs, 26 stolen bases, .409 OBP, and a .557 slugging percentage. Out of all players in baseball, I can’t think of any other players who put up similar all-around numbers outside of Mike Trout and Mookie Betts. Altuve also won a Gold Glove award last year, which shows his value is much more than just his bat.