With the 78th pick, the Mariners went all-in on versatility, choosing 2B Kaden Polcovich from Oklahoma State. Polcovich had a good start to his year in the Big 12 after a solid summer on Cape Cod, pushing himself into a draft spot. Polcovich didn’t appear on MLB.com’s predraft rankings (237 per Baseball America), and is a somewhat undersized player, checking in at 5’8”, 180 pounds. For the record, I promise I’m not recycling this draft profile from when we picked Donovan Walton. Fangraphs likes him more, ranking him 110th but still well below the #78 position where the M’s grabbed him.
Polcovich raked on Cape Cod for the Chatham Anglers, OPSing 1.042 and showing off a squat, powerful swing.
With a 3-2 count and two outs in the ninth, Kaden Polcovich blasted a bases-clearing double to tie the game. pic.twitter.com/gtTUyGFLJr— Chatham Anglers (@ChathamAnglers) August 1, 2019
Polcovich has shown a fair amount with the bat in the last year, getting off to a good start in 2020 before the season was cancelled in addition to his work on the Cape, but a huge amount of his value and attraction in the draft is his versatility: he played all over the diamond for Chatham, and is a switch hitter, meaning he can do literally anything you need a position player to do. Coverage in the Cape Cod League gave him good reviews for everything, noting he drew good numbers of walks but also showed a lot of power and ability in the outfield.
Polcovich might have drawn a little more interest if he had more of a track record: after high school, he went to Kentucky, where he was dismissed after a semester, then to Northwest Florida State Community College, meaning teams could only really get a good look at him on the Cape and in his 18-game stint with the Pokes—where it’s worth noting he raked, posting a 1.072 OPS and 8 stolen bases while also ranking 8th nationally in walks. Polcovich is introspective about the mistakes he made and grateful to have the opportunities he does now. His swings from both sides of the plate at this point clearly hold no effort back—when we acquired Shed Long, a word that got used a lot was “thunderous”, and tell me that doesn’t apply here:
At some point, you feel like a broken record discussing Dipoto picks, but this is another player who may have barely-tapped upside they’ll be looking to uncover—and based on what he’s done with his chances so far, they may well have found it.