Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Around the Diamond- Part 3- Second Base

Well Ryan Doumit had another big hit last night after I suggested they start batting him seventh.  No pressure on him now.  It's on to Part Three of my position by position analysis.  Both catcher and first base need upgrades.  Though if Doumit keeps hitting and Garrett Jones becomes the everyday first baseman, then those positions have immediately upgraded.

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.


  1. Walker should get the starts at second, but that makes too much sense. why not give the guy a long look?

  2. definitely send aki to the bench. bring pedro up and move laroche over.

    in the meantime, i have no problem with giving dy some ab's there

  3. Why call walker up and not play him? Because they are the Pirates and JR is an idiot?

    Aki will play all year and hit below the mendozza line

  4. Well its obvious that Aki is....just not getting the job done, so I think it would make sense to have a battle between Walker and DY and split the starts and just see who is more productive. Crosby can get some spots starts, but other than that it should be between those guys and see which one if any can step up.

    Who's playing second in AAA right now?

    And has Laroche played second at any level, if not than that seem like an offseason project for him to make the move to second and not an in the season type move.

  5. Andy hasn't played second at any level.

    Neil Walker was getting a majority of his time at second for AAA. Kevin meillo is now playing there. He's hitting .316 in 16 games. No power, typical light hitting middle infielder.

    They made it clear Walker won't play second which makes no sense. he looks good so far and he's hitting the ball hard, so naturally JR will send him to the bench.

    DY's bat started to heat up getting some starts at second and batting leadoff, so once he got hot, naturally he hasn't played for 3 days. he should get most of the time there right now

    Expect to see Aki there the rest of the year and just hope the ball is hit right at him.

  6. matt,

    Can you explain why DY isn't playing and why JR is batting Aki leadoff still?

  7. No and No. Wish I had better answers for you but it baffles me as well

  8. you hear all the time that the pirates are committed to winning, yet they continue to run guys like aki out there. just more bs from them