Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Around the Diamond- Part 3- Second Base
It's on to second base, which just happens to be the worst position, both offensively and defensively on the diamond. So far, we've seen Aki Iwamura, Bobby Crosby and Delwyn Young see time there.
Let's start with Aki. The nicest way to say it is that this guy sucks. What is it about that Pirates uniform that just brings out the worst in good ball players? I don't feel like looking up the exact numbers at the moment, but you know how bad he's been. What is he like 4 for his last 60 after his gift triple last night?
On the season, Aki is hitting a whopping .166/2hr/8rbi. YET, JR keeps throwing him out there and YET JR keeps batting him lead off. I can't explain this at all.
What's more disturbing, is what happened to his range defensively? If you watched him in Tampa, this guy was a talented ball player and a pretty good second baseman. Now, he can't catch the ball if it's not hit right at him. He also may be the worst in the league at turning the double play. There is no way, the Pirates did the proper homework on his knee injury last season. There has to be some effects from that.
Looking at the other two offensively, Crosby is hitting .236/1/6 in limited time, but he has shown he can't play second base as well. Young is hitting .246/1/9. We know from last season that he isn't really a second baseman, but what's funny is that he is better defensively than the other two.
What to do? First, get Aki out of the lineup. However, they won't do that, because then they would be admitting to a mistake. I'd say deal him, but he has little trade value now. Either put him on the bench or outright release him and eat the money.
Who should play second then? Right now, I'd say give the job to Young. He's no worse defensively than the others and at least he offers something offensively. They can mix in spot starts with Crosby and Aki, but give DY the majority of the time.
Option two is to give Neil Walker a long look here. I'd be more in favor of this, but Neil Huntington made it clear that Walker will only be a corner utility guy. Really? then what was the point of having him play a lot of middle infield this year at AAA? Why is he up here then if he is going to be mostly a bench player? The reasoning just doesn't make much sense.
Option three is probably the most popular and that means calling Pedro Alvarez up and moving Andy Laroche to second. I would be in favor of that, but the only problem is that we don't know if Andy can play second. I think he could but that doesn't always translate. Also, Laroche has done nothing to lose his job right now at third base.
I'd like to see Young or Walker get a ton of at bats here in the short term. Either way, they have to get Aki out of the lineup. Though you know as well as I do that JR will run him out there every day and bat him lead off.
There is no immediate help in the minors, but keep your eye on Josh Harrison, who was acquired in the Grabow/Gorzo deal, and Jim Negrych, the former Pitt star. Both are currently at Altoona and performing well. Harrison is hitting over .300 and has a very good glove. Negrych is back on the map as a prospect. The power hasn't returned but is also having a pretty solid season, driving in 22 runs while hitting .275 so far. Other than that, they really don't have another second base prospect in the system.