BRADENTON -- Packing additional muscle, Gregory "El Coffee" Polanco enters the 2015 season with an additional year of experience and a body designed to handle the 162-game grind of Major League Baseball.
Polanco replaced his lanky frame with a reported 13 extra pounds of muscle through offseason workouts in the Dominican Republic with teammate Starling Marte.
The two have known each other for several years, said Polanco, who played with minor-leage ball with Bradenton Marauders in 2013.
"He's my own brother," said Polanco about how he feels with his relationship with Marte, who spent time with 2010 season with the Marauders.
Polanco's rookie campaign wasn't a smashing success.
After getting promoted from Triple-A Indianapolis in June, Polanco struggled with major-league arms. He hit just .235, a steep decrease from what he saw in the minors, where he hit .328 against International League hurlers in just three fewer at-bats.
"They have better location. ... more movement on the ball," said Polanco, who went 1-for-3 in the Pirates' 8-3 loss to Minnesota on Friday at McKechnie Field. "That's the difference. And they have more information."
But despite the difficulty in navigating big-league pitchers, Polanco possesses all the talent that had him reach top prospect status prior to last season.
"Incredibly gifted," Pittsburgh utility guy Sean Rodriguez said. "He's got every tool. ... That's what's impressive. He can run pretty well, and he's a big guy, but it's definitely special."
Rodriguez was with the Tampa Bay Rays last season, but the American League East franchise hosted the Pirates in a late June series last year.
Now a teammate of Polanco's, Rodriguez has noticed the difference in Polanco's body from the 2014 season.
"He definitely got stronger," Rodriguez said. "He's not as skinny as he was last year."
That strength is necessary to add more power to Polanco's game.
Last season, Polanco tallied 14 home runs between his time at Indianapolis and with Pittsburgh. It was the third season in a row he reached double-digit home run totals.
But going through the struggles of 2014 at the major-league level is something that should only help Polanco coming out of camp this season.
"It's same as anything else, consistency," Rodriguez said. "I mean, people say, 'Well yeah, you've got to hit better.' ... Your approach, your routines, your work -- it's tough. It's definitely more of a grind, obviously, because ... In Triple-A, you might get two, three, four starters that aren't going to be great. But in the big leagues, two, three, fours, are guys that might have been aces down in the minor leagues. So it's a lot of quality location."
Having that half a season under his belt last year helps with improving himself for this season, too.
"Now I know a little bit about the league and how they throw," Polanco said.
If that comes to fruition, then the Pirates will have the third piece to a stellar outfield cast that includes Marte and former National League Most Valuable Player, Andrew McCutchen.
It would mean a triple threat unlike anything else in the game, sans what Miami has with Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna.
But until that happens, it's still about Polanco's continuing development.