what we learned
• With Gregory Polanco's arrival expected to be imminent, the club might have to be creative in how it finds ways to get Josh Harrison on the field. Harrison has played himself into a more significant role. While it will be difficult for Harrison to find consistent playing time in the outfield, he could platoon with Pedro Alvarez and he played 31 minor league games at shortstop.
• While Polanco remains the club's No. 1 prospect, perhaps it was right-hander Jameson Taillon who could have provided the greatest second-half impact. Pirates starting pitching has been inconsistent, and Taillon was the only impact-level arm ready to arrive in 2014 before his season-ending injury.
what to look for
• Alvarez's overall stat line — increase in walks, decrease in strikeouts — suggests real growth. If he could regain his power stroke and some better luck, he could still have a true breakout.
• Has Jordy Mercer found his way out from early-season struggles? He entered Saturday going 11 for his last 22 at-bats, including two home runs.
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