Throughout the first two months of the 2014 regular season, Pittsburgh Pirates fans all over the nation were anticipating the major league debut of the organization's top prospect, Gregory Polanco.
When his big day finally came on June 10, the 22-year-old phenom made an immediate impact on his team's struggling offense.
Through his first 93 at bats, Polanco was batting .301 with three home runs and 13 runs batted in.
Since then, however, the rookie has hit a wall, as his batting average has dipped to just .241 on the season.
After collecting just one hit in his last 30 at bats, Polanco was optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis, and Pirates manager Clint Hurdle is confident that the move will only help the young star.
According to Stephen Pianovich of MLB.com, Hurdle said, "We'll give him the opportunity to get down, get some at-bats, get out of the spotlight that's been here for a week and find his way. I believe he will and come back and help this ballclub in September in a very positive fashion."
It would be no surprise if Polanco is one of the players who will be called up when the roster expands in September, as he is simply too talented to continue to struggle this mightily.
The Pirates were smart in sending Polanco down to Triple-A at this point in the season. Considering there are only seven games remaining in the regular season for Indianapolis, Polanco will have a week to regroup and get back into the swing of things.
The Pirates have struggled to play consistent baseball all season, yet they only sit just 1.5 games behind the San Francisco Giants for the second wild-card spot.
With just over a month left to play in the regular season, the Pirates have to find a way to ignite their offense and string together a nice winning streak. Otherwise, it will be an extremely disappointing season for a team that just reached the postseason last year for the first time since 1992.
If Polanco can regain his confidence at the plate over the next week down in Triple-A, there is plenty of reason to believe the Pirates can make a playoff push in September.
There is no harm in removing Polanco from the lineup considering just how ineffective he has been. Instead, it is a great move that can pay great dividends for the Pirates come September, when the organization will be seeking another trip back to the playoffs.
*Statistics Courtesy of Baseball Reference