A Platoon at First Base Seems Most Likely For the Pirates

The Pirates have employed a platoon at first base in each of the last two years, trying to find a right-handed hitter to pair with Garrett Jones. Now it seems they’re in the opposite situation. They added Gaby Sanchez at the 2012 trade deadline, and saw Sanchez put up great numbers against lefties in 2013. However, Jones struggled, and was designated for assignment today. The move today didn’t really change any future plans, since Jones would have been non-tendered next week. Now it appears that the Pirates are looking for a platoon partner to pair with Sanchez, according to Travis Sawchik.

I don’t know how likely it is that Sanchez would improve against right-handers at this point in his career. In fact, I’d say it’s very unlikely to happen. In his career, Sanchez has a .700 OPS against right-handers in over 1400 plate appearances. Last year he had a .619 OPS against right-handers in a little under 200 plate appearances. That’s a small sample size, but it doesn’t give any indication that he’s trending in the right direction.

If the Pirates do go with a platoon, they have a few options. We heard that they were checking on Lance Berkman last week. I don’t think that’s a strong option. My preference would be James Loney, since he hits right-handers well, has a good on-base percentage, and has strong defense. If the Pirates wanted to stay internal, they could go with Andrew Lambo, who has been playing some first base in Venezuela this winter. Lambo’s long-term position, if he sticks with the Pirates, would be at first base.

Author: Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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