Marlon Byrd's presence may now marginalize the role of OF Jose Tabata

Pirates Notebook: What Now for Jose Tabata?

Prohibitively, the addition of Marlon Byrd makes the Pittsburgh Pirates a better baseball team. Had Byrd been on the Pirates’ roster all season, he’d essentially be the third-best hitter on the team.

And, the Pirates may own three or four extra wins if he started 2013 in Pittsburgh with his WAR of 3.5. In contrast, the production received from right field this season from the likes of Jose Tabata, Alex Presley, Travis Snider, and the rest of whoever has played there, has hovered around a WAR of 0.

Marlon Byrd's presence may now marginalize the role of OF Jose Tabata

Marlon Byrd’s presence may now marginalize the role of OF Jose Tabata

Now, the Pirates have Marlon Byrd and his .285/.330/.518 triple-slash served with a side of 21 home runs. In addition, Starling Marte will return to the lineup hopefully sometime in September giving the Pirates an outfield of Marte-Andrew McCutchen-Byrd, from left to right.

“We’ll have to look to re-invent the lineup a little bit,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “I imagine we’re going to put a better lineup out, we’re better team than we were before and Byrd is gonna get an opportunity to swing that bat and make a difference for us, I can tell you that right now.”

In Marte’s absence, Tabata has been the primary resident of Hurdle’s lead-off spot and has responded with one of his best months of the season. In August, Tabata is hitting .309/.373/.485 with seven runs, two home runs, four doubles, and a triple.

“He’s done a pretty solid job leading off for us in Marte’s absence,” Hurdle said. “I’ve gotta be mindful of that and he knows the spark he can create up there.”

“It’s a different spark than Marte,” Hurdle said. “We don’t have anyone who can re-create that spark. But we need someone who can get on base, show up with the bat when that lineup does turnover and there’s opportunities to drive in runs.”

Now, Hurdle may face challenges himself when it comes to finding at-bats for Tabata which is a challenge he claims to be happy to have in front of him.

Realistically, though, Tabata becomes the Pirates’ fourth outfielder upon Marte’s return. He likely won’t platoon much with any of the corner outfielders as Marte and Byrd possess numbers much better than Tabata’s save for the on-base category. Besides the occasional day of rest for any one of Byrd/Marte/McCutchen and pinch-hitting, there won’t be too much

  • Byrd: .285/.330/.518
  • Marte: .282/.343/.443
  • Tabata: .269/.342/.402

But on the bright side, the bench does become stronger with the presence of Tabata on it. Tabata owns an OPS+ of 110 this season, and in an upgrade to an area the Pirates have been weak at all season.

  • J-Hay leads off tonight

While Tabata has performed well leading off lately, he will not do so tonight against left-handed starter Tom Gorzelanny, with Hurdle citing his numbers in comparison to those of Josh Harrison who will lead off tonight. Tabata bats between Russell Martin and Charlie Morton in the eight-hole.

“On-base percentage and the overall numbers against left-handed pitching,” Hurdle said. “They’re significantly different.”

They sure are.

  • Harrison v. LHP: .444/.444/.815
  • Tabata v. LHP: .268/.293/.464

Harrison’s numbers come in just 27 plate appearances, but he’s murdering lefties at the moment so it looks like Hurdle is keen to just let him ride this little hot spell out.

  • Lineups


  1. Josh Harrison 3B
  2. Jordy Mercer SS
  3. Andrew McCutchen CF
  4. Marlon Byrd RF
  5. Pedro Alvarez 3B
  6. Gaby Sanchez 1B
  7. Russell Martin C
  8. Jose Tabata LF
  9. Charlie Morton P


  1. Nori Aoki RF
  2. Jean Segura SS
  3. Jonathan Lucroy C
  4. Aramis Ramirez 3B
  5. Carlos Gomez CF
  6. Caleb Gindl LF
  7. Scooter Gennett 2B
  8. Juan Francisco 1B
  9. Tom Gorzelanny P
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Nate Barnes

Nate covers the Pirates beat for Pirates Prospects, and is an English Writing major at the University of Pittsburgh. Nate has covered the Pirates for Pittsburgh Sports Report, and covered Pitt Men's Basketball, Duquesne Men's Basketball, and Pitt Baseball beats prior to this summer. You can find Nate on Twitter @NateBarnes_ where he'll keep you updated on each and every time Clint Barmes breaks up a no-hit bid with one-out in the third inning of ballgames.

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  • Matt Beam

    JHay should platoon with Walker at 2B going forward

    • Nate Barnes

      If he’s going to keep hitting left-handed pitching at a rate near .450, then I should say so.

  • buster09

    I know I will get slagged big time for this,but as far as I am concerned,I will be happy the day Tabata is somewhere else.His performance in last night’s game ( Weds. ) running,if tht the term you want to use, was a perfect example of the type of player he is.He didn’t run out the ground ball up the middle at all,and even when he hit the ball off the wall,he was jogging from 1st to 2nd,and then made it a close play at third when he should have been able to go in standing. He is the polar opposite type of player than a Josh Harrison.

    • deacs

      The fact that there was even a play at 3B pissed me off. What was he looking at? That said I’ll take him as a 4th OF but I don’t know where his heads at sometimes. I heard about the groundball but didn’t see it which makes the triple piss me off even more.

      • buster09

        deacs,lets put it this way : Gennett had to clear to his right on the backhand,straighten up,turn and throw,and he was out by at leas 3 feat. Gorzolanny hit one up the middle not as hard,that Harrison went to his left to back hand turn and throw ,to get Gorzo by a half step !

  • smurph

    Both Tabata and Harrison are solid bench players, nothing more, nothing less. I would make a run at signing Byrd for 2014 (one year), though they likely will be outbid. If they can’t sign him, Tabata still has the inside track as at least a parttime starter until Polanco gets the call.

    • buster09

      smurph : I agree with you 100 % . My point about Harrison is that he bust his butt all the time,every play. The other guy ? He played like that in AA,probably in AAA,and most of the time in Pittsburgh. Lazy with a capital L !

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