No.4 OF. A.J. Pollock
Pollock played for the Irish from 2007-2009. As a freshman he named an All-American. Pollock is also the only player in the program’s history to lead the team in batting average three straight seasons. After his junior year, Pollock was drafted in the first round by the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Pollock rose through the DBacks system and made his MLB debut in 2012. In his first two seasons in the show Pollock split time with center fielder Adam Eaton, but after the 2013 season Arizona shipped Eaton off to the White Sox and Pollock has been manning centerfield ever since.
He was poised for a breakout year in 2014, but fractured his hand early in the season. His breakout year was just delayed because in 2015 he burst on the scene. He, along with teammate Paul Goldschmidt, were named to the National League All-Star Team as the DBacks’ lone representatives. Pollock was also named a Gold Glove winner last season. He finished 2015 with a .315 average, 20 home runs and 76 RBIs. This offseason MLB Network named him the second best centerfielder in the game only behind Mike Trout.
Now you’re probably wondering how a guy who has played one full season in the big leagues is in the top five among Irish baseball alums, but I put him up here for two reasons. One, he is arguably the best player to come through the program over the last decade. Second, Pollock is one of the emerging stars in the game and barring injury is on his way to having a very successful career.
Next: Aaron Heilman