In 2004, he helped lead the team to the State Baseball Championships in the school's division. A scholar-athlete, Pollock's high school awards could cover this entire profile.
In 2006, Pollock was a shortstop in high school and Gatorade Player of the Year in Connecticut. He hit .462-4-27 with 15 stolen bases. A.J. also played basketball all four years of high school, and varsity soccer when he was a freshman.
His Dad played rugby at Boston College.
A.J. plays the guitar. He plays mostly classic rock and alternative.
At Notre Dame, Pollock majored in sociology.
In the summer of 2008, Pollock was the MVP of the Cape Cod League. He finished second in batting (.377) and first in hits (61), doubles (15), total bases (90), and slugging percentage (.556) while playing for the Falmouth Commodores.
A.J. is a vocal player with a true leadership presence on the field. He has very strong makeup. He carries himself well and exudes a solid confidence.
In 2010, the Baseball America Prospect Handbook rated Pollock as the third best prospect in the Diamondbacks' farm system. And they had him at #6 the next two years in a row—in the winter before 2011 spring training, and again in the winter before 2012 spring camps opened. And finally, he was at #10 in the spring of 2013.
In 2011, Pollock led the Southern League in runs (103) and hits (169), while ranking third in steals (36) and doubles (41), and fourth in total bases (244).
In 2011, Pollock played for the U.S. at the Pan American Games.
He endears himself to managers with his hard-nosed style of play and overall feel for the game. He has above average makeup. And he has leadership ability.
- Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson has liked Pollock since the first time he saw him. So much so that he has even reached out to one of his old college coaches at Notre Dame, Graham Sikes, who now coaches Gibson's son at Michigan State.
"I've talked with him a lot about A.J.," Gibson said. "A.J. is a guy whose thought process is similar to Goldy (Paul Goldschmidt). He's curious about a lot of different things, he wants you to point out something when you see it. Some guys, you have to develop a relationship with before they take it the right way, but A.J. is certainly a guy who will listen.
A.J. made good use of his free time while the team was in Sydney, Australia in the spring of 2014—he proposed to his girlfriend, Kate, while at the Bondi Beach cliff walk.
"She's from Australia," Pollock said. "So I thought this trip was a good time to do it."
The pair met when they were students at the University of Notre Dame, where Pollock played baseball and Kate was a member of the lacrosse team. (3/25/14)
In May 2014, Pollock was riding a hot stretch, but it hasn't all been smooth sailing for him this year.
A little more than a month before that, Pollock was hitting just .235 and his biggest challenge was keeping his mindset positive.
"Every player is kind of working on their mechanics and sometimes they forget to look at the mental part of the game and that's the biggest part of the game I think," Pollock said. "That's what separates the good hitters from the best hitters."
That's where D-backs mental skills coach Peter Crone comes in.
Crone has helped a number of pro golfers and actors, along with D-backs Aaron Hill and Paul Goldschmidt.
"He's been a big part of what a bunch of us have done here as far as molding our routines and teaching us how to think about each day," Pollock said. "He's been a big help. You come in here and you do your routines in the cage and you do your routines on the field, but you have to also be doing your routine mentally." (Steve Gilbert MLB.com 5/30/2014).
A.J. Pollock and Kate Newall were married on December 11, 2014. They did a winter snow themed ceremony in Beaver Creek, Colorado.
It was a series of simple acts in a well-equipped recreation room at Phoenix Children's Hospital. A game of foosball with a sick child who sheepishly admitted he likes soccer. A game of air hockey with a beaming child who has big brown eyes and a bad stomach.
And finally, a hug for a small child who has cerebral palsy, an act that delighted the boy, his mother and his grandmother as they sat in a hallway. But each of these acts by A.J., still wearing a cast himself on his injured right elbow, seemed to make as big an impression on these children as a game-winning grand slam.
"You can impact them by doing something simple, just showing up," Pollock said, wearing one of the D-backs' new home jerseys, his favorite with the teal-colored trim. "It's a no-brainer for me to show up. It's very inspirational. I have an injured arm, and these kids are dealing with something significantly more serious than what I am going through."
Some of the children Pollock visited were too young to realize that he is a Major League baseball player, while others knew who he was. He handed out bobblehead dolls of himself that will be distributed to fans attending a game against the Pirates. Other hints about Pollock's identity abounded. Pollock's National League Gold Glove Award from his breakout 2015 season was on display. Baxter, the team mascot, hugged children or just about anyone in sight.
Joziah Nava, a 2-year-old who weighed only 1 pound when he was born severely premature, had no idea who the man wearing the baseball jersey and the cast was, but the child beamed with joy when Pollock stopped in a hallway to give him a hug while walking with his entourage to make some hospital room visits.
"He's so happy. When he's happy, we're happy," said Karla Bautista, the boy's mother. She said Joziah is still undergoing many types of therapy and has survived several surgeries stemming from being born at 26 weeks, rather than 40 weeks. "I feel like he really enjoys attention," Karla said.
Marie Bautista, Joziah's grandmother, said there are a lot of D-backs fans in the family, including two boys who play baseball. In one small comical mishap, Pollock handed a boy one of his bobbleheads. The boy dropped it and one of the arms fell off. As a group of reporters and others laughed, Pollock joked, "I don't think it's that funny."
Matthew Stevens, a 10-year-old who is recovering from severe complications of a ruptured appendix, said he enjoyed his foosball game with Pollock. "It's just fun. It feels like it only happens once in your life. It makes me very happy," said Matthew.
Melinda Stevens, the boy's mother, said she appreciated Pollock's visit because it gives her son and others encouragement that they are going to get better.
Mohammed Almubareki played a game of air hockey with Pollock. "It makes my heart pump fast," Mohammed said. "I learned that he likes us, and he wants to root for us. He wants us to have fun." (Walsh - MLB.com - 4/21/16)
Feb 9, 2019: If you trust Justin Turner, you can believe the offseason move putting A.J. Pollock in the Dodgers outfield will work out just fine. "First and foremost, the locker-room presence," Turner said. "He's a grinder, with the edge he brings to the team. He's a competitor, he doesn't like to lose. On top of the fact he's a Gold Glove-caliber center fielder. The attitude is a perfect fit for the clubhouse, to help us set the tone. He'll fit in well. Off the field, the stuff he does is off the charts."
On the field in 2018, Pollock, 31, slugged nine of his career-high 21 home runs against the Dodgers with a 1.108 OPS. If nothing else, the Dodgers have solved that annoyance.
Pollock said he can't worry about being the next Yasiel Puig or Matt Kemp, the fan favorites he's replacing after signing for four years and $55 million. He rejects the reputation of being injury-prone, despite a hefty medical file. Pollock broke his right elbow in 2010 Spring Training and missed the entire season after undergoing surgery to implant a plate that, it turned out, did not stabilize the joint as hoped, because one of the screws sheared off.
Pollock played five more seasons with the elbow not truly healed until it broke again on a slide into home at the end of Spring Training 2016. He missed five months, but this time the surgery was successful. In addition, Pollock missed three months of the 2014 season with a broken right hand when hit by a Johnny Cueto pitch, in 2017 he had a right groin strain and last season he fractured his left thumb trying to make a diving catch and missed six weeks.
"The elbow was the big one, the one people harp on," said Pollock. "The  surgery just wasn't done the right way. It didn't feel right and it ended up re-breaking. This thing is just rock solid now, the surgeon the second time did an unbelievable job. I'm positive the elbow is behind me. Sometimes you play hard and impact things happen . . . freak things. I feel healthy, my body feels great. I'm ready to take on any workload they want. I've been dealing with injury questions the entire free-agency process, but nothing is lingering."
Pollock's last completely healthy season was 2015 and it was his breakthrough—All-Star, Gold Glove, and career highs in games (157), average (.315), extra-base hits (65) stolen bases (39) and OPS (.865). If watching Pollock homering against them wasn't convincing enough, the Dodgers had the input of their new hitting coach, Robert Van Scoyoc, who also came over this offseason from the D-backs.
"[Pollock] and Robert really connected last year," said Andrew Friedman, the Dodgers' president of baseball operations. "[Pollock] has an intellectual curiosity. He's always searching for ways to improve and we feel there's potentially more in there. He provides value in all phases of the game and someone who fits into our core and nucleus really well. He adds a lot of value in a lot of different ways."
And Pollock said he's excited about being on a team that expects to be in the World Series every year, after spending most of his career chasing the Dodgers.
"Every time they step on the field, they anticipate that they'll win that game and that's pretty cool. Not a whole lot of teams out there are like that," Pollock said. "They expect to be in the World Series and win the World Series. When [Clayton] Kershaw steps out there, he's an animal and he expects to win and you feel that on the other side, for sure." (K Gurnick - MLB.com - Feb 9, 2019)
After their daughter Maddie (all 22 ounces of her) was born three months premature and after he recovered from a bout with COVID-19 and after one of their repeated runs to the neo-natal unit, A.J. and Kate Pollock talked baseball and whether there would be a 2020 season for a family that has bigger priorities.
“I thought it would be a lot harder,” A.J. said of the decision to report to Summer Camp 2020. “Kate is an athlete (lacrosse at Notre Dame). I think when I brought it up to her, she said, ‘Do you really want to look at the guys winning the World Series from the couch?’ I was like, ‘I want to do what’s best for you and what’s best for Maddie.’
“Getting coronavirus for me put it into perspective. I was staying at home and being careful and got it. I always want to play whenever I can, and Kate wants to see me play. Talked to our doctor. Everyone has his own decision to make. It helps when your whole family’s on board and they want you to play.”
Pollock said he had two days of typical COVID symptoms—headache, body aches, congestion, and loss of smell. He went 14 days without seeing his newborn, who had to be quarantined and is still hospitalized, but thriving. She’s up to 8 pounds. Pollock said she looks “like a normal baby, she’s pretty cute” and that she never tested positive for COVID-19.
That doesn’t mean there haven’t been days for Pollock when “you wonder what the future [for his daughter] will look like. It’s been a wild ride,” he said. “It’s been very emotional, it’s been very frustrating, it’s been scary. But she’s in a very good place now.”
Pollock speculates he caught the virus at the hospital. By Day 10 after testing positive, he was back working out in his home gym. He’s hopeful the family can join him in L.A. in a month. “It is strange. I’ve got Kate back in Arizona—she’s still grinding pretty hard right now,” he said. “She’s at the hospital maybe 10 hours a day. That part mentally is hard, knowing she’s there. It’s a nice escape for me but tough thinking what my wife is going through.”
When he was cleared to report to Summer Camp, he was immediately inserted into intrasquad games. He said that from the “short runway” experience he’s had returning from numerous injuries, he’s confident he will be ready to go in six days when the season opens.
“I’m excited to play with some pretty amazing players,” he said. “We’ll see how everything shakes out. It takes a whole team and we’ve got a lot of depth. There will be at-bats to go around. It’ll be a lot of fun.” (Gurnick - mlb.com - 7/17/2020)
2021 Spring Training: The Dodgers have a lot of musical talent on the team that few know about. They had the band at Spring Training a few years back that consisted of AJ Pollock, Ross Stripling, and David Freese. Those guys were a big hit in the clubhouse.
June 20, 2009: Pollock signed with the Diamondbacks for a bonus of $1.4 million. He had been the team's first round pick, number 17 overall in the draft, out of the University of Notre Dame. Mike Daughtry was the scout who signed A.J.
February 8, 2016: Pollock and the Diamondbacks avoided arbitration agreeing to a two-year deal worth $10.2 million.
Jan 12, 2018: A.J. and the D-backs avoided arbitration, agreeing on a one-year deal worth $7.7 million.
Oct 29, 2018: A.J. chose free agency.
- Jan. 24, 2019: Free-agent outfielder A.J. Pollock and the Dodgers agreed to a four-year deal. Pollock can opt out of the deal after three years, but he will earn $55 million if he stays for four years or $60 million if he exercises a fifth-year player option. And there's a $5 million buyout for the fifth year.
|DOB:||12/5/1987||Agent:||Icon (Rob Martin)|
|Birth City:||Hebron, CT|
|Draft:||Diamondbacks #1 - 2009 - Out of Univ. of Notre Dame|
Pollock is a blue-collar player with great makeup and excellent instincts in all phases of the game.
A.J. has a simple approach at the plate with pure hitting ability and a quick bat. His hands are strong and quick, and he is a pure righthanded hitter.
He doesn't have one standout tool, but he can do a bit of everything on the field and has the baseball instincts to play above his raw physical ability. He has feel for hitting and is an aggressive within the strike zone. His power is below average, so he projects more as a line-drive hitter who uses the gaps rather than a major home run threat.
He has strong hands, fine bat speed and a compact righthanded line drive stroke that lines shots from gap to gap.
A.J. is steady, not spectacular. He has no glaring weaknesses, but no real carrying tool—just steady across the board.
Pollock is a bit like Jacoby Ellsbury. He can hit, has some power, runs fast, and is very good defensively.
A.J. hits better with wood bat. He was the MVP in the Cape Cod League in 2008, because he doesn't cheat out on his front side for power like he does with metal in his hands. His best tool is his bat, as his bat speed, strong hands and up-the-middle, line-drive approach should allow him to hit for a high average.
But his swing can get flat, limiting his power. His power is mostly for doubles, with a few home runs and a whole lot of doubles.
Pollock drives the ball to all fields. He is better hitting lefties than he is on righties.
Pollock's approach at the plate is simple, uncomplicated and very quiet. There are no extraneous movements. His swing does not have much loft, resulting in line drives as opposed to long home runs. But he can take the ball over the fence. He's strong and he has quick hands and wrists. He's a pure barrel-of-the-bat hitter.
Putting most of his weight on his back foot, Pollock gets proper balance and torque on a consistent swing that is appropriately measured and mechanically sound. His swing results in a lively bat. His speed results in hustle doubles. His history shows he will hit triples as well.
In 2015, Pollock had 30 doubles and 30 stolen bases—the second player in franchise history to accomplish that feat. Eric Byrnes had 30 doubles and 50 steals in 2007. (Bondy - mlb.com - 8/22/15)
As of the start of the 2022 season, Pollock's career Major League stats were: .281 batting average, 126 home runs and 890 hits with 414 RBI in 3,165 at-bats.
A.J. can do a good job on defense at any position on the field. He is especially adept in center field, where he has a solid arm for the position, gets good reads on the ball off the bat, and has real good instincts, covering a lot of ground.
"I like to be in the middle—be a quarterback in the outfield," Pollock said.
Pollock has enough arm to play right field, too.
In 2013, Pollock's most substantial contributions have come with him ranging in all directions to make plays in center field. According to FanGraphs, his ultimate zone rating—a stat that factors in all aspects of a player's defensive prowess—is second best in the Major Leagues at 18.2, trailing only Carlos Gomez of the Brewers.
"He's our best center fielder, he just goes and gets the ball," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "We knew that when we drafted him, and he's been good everywhere he has went. He's got a great attitude and he's a sponge. He's not looking at learning tomorrow, he's looking at learning today."
- In 2015, Pollock won his first Rawlings Gold Glove as the top center fielder in the NL.
- A.J. is an above average runner with plus speed once he gets under way. He is a 55 or 60 runner on the 20-80 scouting scale, with very good instincts on the bases and in center field.
- He runs the bases very well. He makes the most of his average speed. And steals more than his share of bases.
- In 2014, he's the fastest guy on the Diamondbacks and a very good base-stealer.
- In 2015, he stole 39 bases.
March 2010: Pollock underwent successful surgery to repair a fractured growth plate in his right elbow, missing the entire season.
A.J. injured the elbow while trying to make a sliding catch against the center field fence during a minor league exhibition game. He put his arm out to brace himself and the growth plate opened up and a piece of that bone came off. Surgeons went in, put the bone back in place and put a pin in the elbow. There was no ligament damage.
Pollock had a fractured growth plate in his right elbow.
June 1-Sept. 2, 2014: Pollock required surgery on his right hand and went on the D.L. after suffering a fractured fourth metacarpal bone when he was hit by a pitch against the Reds.
March 10, 2016: Pollock said he is not concerned about the elbow soreness that has limited his playing time this spring. A.J. underwent an MRI. D-backs manager Chip Hale said that the MRI showed no structural issues and that Pollock would likely be out of the lineup for just a few days.
"He takes too many tees and flips in the cage and throws too much, and his right arm is getting fatigued," Hale said. "We're going to dial it back and let him build it back up, and try to keep away from any extra use of it."
April 5-August 26, 2016: Pollock suffered a fractured right elbow on a play at the plate against the Royals in a spring exhibition game; he was placed on the 60-Day D.L.
A.J. underwent successful surgery on his elbow. The procedure was performed by team physicians Don Sheridan and Gary Waslewski. A plate was placed on the olecranon fracture (tip of the elbow), and no timetable has yet been given for Pollock's return, though last week the outfielder said he hoped to be back before the end of the regular season. This was Pollock's second surgery on the elbow, as he also suffered a fracture in it in March 2010.
April 10, 2016: While he feels good about A.J. Pollock's chances of eventually returning to the diamond at some point, hand specialist Dr. Don Sheridan was reluctant to put a time frame on it.
"If everything goes extremely well, it's going to be at least three months before A.J. is going to be released to start baseball activities," Sheridan said. "It could be the entire season."
May 15-July 4, 2017: Pollock was on the DL with a strained right groin.
May 15-July 2, 2018: Pollock was on the DL with left thumb fracture.
April 30-July 12, 2019: Dodgers outfielder A.J. Pollock went on the 10-day injured list with a right elbow inflammation and bacterial infection. Pollock has had two operations on the elbow, which was fractured in 2010 and required a plate and screws to repair. In 2016, it was discovered that the elbow broke again. One of the screws was compromised and a second operation was necessary that also replaced the plate.
May 2, 2019: A.J. underwent surgery on his right elbow to remove hardware from a previous operation.
Typical hardware removals require one to two months of recovery before a player can return to competition to assure the holes in the bone where the screws were removed are fully healed. Hardware is sometimes left on the bone for added protection, and because removal can be more trouble than it’s worth. This will be the third operation on Pollock’s right elbow since 2010.
May 6, 2019: Pollock needs six additional weeks due to the staph infection in his right elbow that put him on the injured list. Pollock needs that much time for intravenous antibiotics to fully rid his body of the infection that put him in the hospital and led to a third operation on the elbow.
Aug 5, 2019: A.J. missed three games with groin discomfort. “This groin issue he’s been dealing with, still feels it a little bit, we’ll re-evaluate", said manager Dave Roberts
May 15-June 3, 2021: AJ was on the IL with left hammy strain.
June 1, 2021: Pollock continued his rehab assignment with Low-A Rancho Cucamonga, playing six innings in the outfield and homering at the plate. The left fielder will play his fourth and final rehab game. If that goes well, Pollock will be activated by the Dodgers against the Braves.
- Sept 5-22, 2021: AJ was on the IL with right hammy strain.