Monday, March 15, 2010
Around the Diamond- Third Base
At the plate, his bat shows some pop and he showed that he can handle the bat at times at the big league level. The first thing the Bucs need from him this season is consistency. He entertained some prolonged slumps last season, something a young hitter will experience. He needs to take the next step and put it all together.
He only wound up hitting .258 last season, but eliminate the slumps this season and we could see that number jump to around the .285 mark. As I said looking at the first basemen, the corner spots must produce runs. The power wasn't there for Andy last season, hitting only 12 dingers, but several of his team high 29 doubles hit the top of the wall, so they could easilly turn into homers this season. That's just wishful thinking on my part, but one would have to think Laroche has to turn in a .285/20/80 type season to remain the everyday man.
Yes Pedro Alvarez is looming and looks great this spring. He has no chance to come up before June 1, so it's imperitive for Laroche to get off to a sizzling start or the decision on Alvarez may become an easy one for Pirates management.
The job is Laroche's. Like all the other infield positions, Bobby Crosby could see a few starts. Ramon Vazquez (while he's still here) is also in the mix for a few spot starts throught the season. Neil Walker could also steal some playing time.
Position Grade Compared to the rest of the league- C+ - Laroche is serviceable and pretty much like every other position on the diamond, if he has a breakout season then it becomes a strength of the club. My guess is that he has an average type season and we see Pedro Alvarez sometime in late June- early July. If for anything, that the Pirates will desperately need his power bat. this would regulate Laroche to a utility man for the time being.