Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Around the Diamond- Part 2- First base
So far we've seen four guys see time at first base this season: Jeff Clement, Steve Pearce, Garrett Jones and Bobby Crosby. Let's eliminate Crosby from this analysis, well because he stinks and he will only play first in an emergency.
I'm also taking Jones out for a moment and just going to look at Clement and Pearce. Both have performed well defensively, but first basemen have to hit for power and drive in runs and right now, the Pirates don't have that.
Clement is hitting .184/4hr/7rbi. in 103 at bats. His 29 k's average out to about a k every five at bats. Pearce has had only 29 at bats since his call up and is hitting .276 with 0hr/5rbi. He has shown some gap to gap power, but has since been put on the dl. Either way, neither guy can hit for enough power to remain there.
I'm still intrigued by Clement's power potential and don't want to see them give up on him after 100 at bats, but they need production there.
Jones on the other hand, while not hitting for much power, has driven in 30 runs and has raised the average above .250. He is having much better at bats than he did a season ago. Once they get a bat to protect Jones, he should get better pitches to hit and the power numbers should rise.
What to do at first? When Pearce returns, he should come back as a bench player. Clement should also be sent down to become more consistent. Jose Tabata should be called up to take his spot on the roster and take Jones' everyday spot in the outfield. Jones will then shift to first base permanently, even though he doesn't field the position well.
Jones can shift to right field on rare occasions to give people a day off and Pearce and newly called up Neil walker can make spot starts there. By doing this, the Pirates lineup becomes deeper and there isn't a hole at a position where you have to have run production.