Pirate’s Outfield UPDATED

 

Travis Snider@Lunchboxhero45

I’m sure he would rather be a starting outfielder in TOR after their season overhaul. Acquired last July for a very effective Brad Lincoln. A first rounder in 2006 and rated #6 prospect in all of baseball in 2009 has yet to live up to his potential. Had some bumps along his path due to injuries to his throwing elbow and tendinitis in his right wrist. Still young, at 24, turning 25 shortly, will most likely have the starting RF position locked up going into camp. When he was with Toronto, he played sporadically. Showed some decent power numbers in his minor league tenure with lots of doubles too. I think a platoon with Sands or Tabata could be exercised this year to efficiently use players.

Andrew McCutchen:  @TheCUTCH22

First off, go and vote for the man! I believe Miggy deserves it since he did win the Triple Crown but Andrew is loved around the game and is a magnificent athlete.  The man just keeps getting better and will do so this year. Gotta give the Pirate’s credit for signing him to a 6yr/51.5M before last season. I remember being in the bleacher seats last year and when the MVP chants come up mid year, I openly said there is a lot of baseball to be played and I got the WORSE looks from yinzers wearing Abraham Nunez’s and Mike Benjamin’s jerseys(just kidding on the jerseys).

Had an offensive WAR(number of wins added to the team versus a replacement team) of 7 last year. On Baseball Reference’s scale, 8+ is MVP Caliper. Am I bashing Cutch? No not at all. Love the man.  He really struggled when the Pirate’s needed him most though. He looked lost post All-Star break at times. Before the All Star break and there was runners in scoring position, he was money! All his numbers dwindled in the second half.  .362avg vs .289, 18hr 60rbi vs 13hr 36 rbi, 14sb vs 6sb and he got caught stealing a lot this year. You would think a man with that speed could easily get 40 sb’s a year.

One last point. The freaking Gold Glove Award. Ya he tracked down balls in the gaps but did not necessarily read them correctly off the bat. I’m going to use the Total Zone Total Fielding Runs Above Avg again and that is measured for how many runs that player saved the team by his plays. Cutch’s number was 13 with a defense WAR of -.2 while Michael Bourn had 38 with a def WAR of 3 this year and had 38 last year along with a defense WAR of .4 and did not win a Gold Glove either year. The highest EVER was 39 by a center fielder by Darin Erstad in 2002.

Sounds like I hate Cutch but I have watched him develop over the last 4 years and it is very exciting to see a player progress like that. He really wants this team to win and he will perform just like last season. CAN’T WAIT—Bart Scott…is how I feel for Cutch’s season.

Starling Marte

What a start to his career. The Pirate’s top hitting prospect finally got the call up last July and he hit a home run on the first pitch he faced in his major league career, off Houston Astros pitcher Dallas Keuchel. The hit made Marte the third player in Pirates’ franchise history to homer in his first at-bat and the first to do it since Don Leppert in 1961. He also became the first Pirate to homer on the first pitch of his major league career since Walter Mueller did so in 1922.

Definitely some positives to take from his play last season. Had 6 triples in 47 games along with 12 stolen bases. Very fast human being and will be nice to see if he can become more patient this year. Last year he had 8 walks and 50 strikeouts. That’s slightly more than 1 K per game and as a leadoff batter, that’s not a good sign. He has a cannon out in LF and people have speculated he could take CF over and move Cutch to a corner outfield position. But hey, he won a GG so he must be the best. For 2013, it should be very fun watching him play a full season with Walker batting behind him. I love when he hits a gapper cause all he is thinking is 3 and he usually gets it easily. I and everyone else just hopes he can be more patient and can hit against the righties a bit better (.236). He is doing fine against the south paws (.318).

Other Outfielder’s to be considered

Alex Presley:

He has yet to return to his 2011 form. A September call up then was a real spark plug during the 52 games he played. Hitting .333 in AAA Indy, he continued to get on base in the MLB in 11’. He had 64 hits during his stint while providing 22 extra base hits and was also able to swipe 9 bases. He hit .298 in 11’ but last year he finished batting at .237. Not too much went right for Alex other than generating more HR’s and I think he needs to show his 2011 form at ST to earn a spot for Opening Day.

Jose Tabata:

People believe he is 24, but there has been multiple reports suggesting otherwise but that’s the past along with Jose’s ability to hit. He was Yankees number 3 prospect in 2008 behind Joba Chamberlain and Austin Jackson(good company) and the Pirates were able to get him, Ohlendorf(number 9 in 2008), Karstens, and D. McCutchen for Nady and Marte. In 2010, he batted .299, and led National League left fielders in range factor/game (2.09). He tied for 8th in the voting for NL Rookie of the Year. He was rewarded a very cap friendly contract of 6yr-15 mil and I was a big fan. He either can be an excellent player and very cheap or just an expensive 4th OF but his recent play and acquisitions have made him a 4th outfielder. At times, I really liked him but at most times he was lazy.

Jerry Sands:

Considered the “centerpiece” of the Hanrahan trade, he is a very interesting player. HR totals from 08-12 in the minors went 10, 19, 35, 29, & 26. He is judged hard for playing in a hitter friendly park but Sands did lead the PCL in RBI and was third in home runs last season, so he does possess solid power. He struck out in just over 20% of his plate appearances last season, and walked in 11.3% of his plate appearances, so his plate discipline is solid for a power hitter. All he needs to prove is that he is able to smack the ball in the bigs. That could prove to be a challenge playing his home games in PNC Park, as the park suppressed home runs by 32% for right handed hitters and 37% for all hitters in 2012, making it the fourth hardest ball park to hit a home run.

In Spring Training, he will be competing for RF and 1B. He had played 180 games at 1B and 373 games in OF.  Although his numbers are easy to criticize in his time at LAD, it is tough to perform with sporadic at bats. He will have the chance to get a significant amount of at bats and could take over RF if Snider is unhealthy. So what everyone wants to see is if he can translate his HR% from the minors of 5.9% with his MLB at 1.6%. He is one guy I will be checking on in ST and hope he can get a significant amount of at bats.

 

 

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