First Pitch: Getting Uncomfortable With Andrew Lambo

A few months ago you might remember that I did an article called “How to Be a Professional Blogger“. I was contacted by a few people after that article, with questions on how to get a site started. I don’t know how many people actually started their own site, but I do know of one site that started as a result of that post. Rich from Saber Bucs decided to start his site after that post, and if you haven’t checked it out, he’s doing a fantastic job. I mention all of this for the prime reason of pointing out Saber Bucs, since that’s a site I think you should be checking out.

I was going to write something on Andrew Lambo tonight, but I couldn’t decide what to discuss. At this point in the off-season, pretty much everything has been said about Lambo. He’s not a guarantee, but he’s a guy the Pirates need to take a risk on due to his 2013 season. The Pirates didn’t add any external options, and now Lambo is the top option for first base. I talked with him a week ago, and we discussed last season, his off-season, and his work at the position. At this point, the only thing left with Lambo is seeing how it all turns out.

That said, Lambo was profiled today in our top 20 prospects countdown, which brought up the discussions again. Rich sent me a message over Twitter, saying that the Pirates needed a better option than Lambo at first base. During the brief conversation he brought up a few valid points. Some of them have been discussed, as noted above. Some of them are more a reaction to where the Pirates are now. So as a summary for Lambo, I thought I’d take a look at the arguments against him.

He Could Be the Next Steve Pearce

One of the key points Rich brought up was that Lambo could end up like Steve Pearce, although he does note that this isn’t a guarantee. The comparison is an easy one to make, since both hitters put up huge power numbers at the age of 24. The main difference I’d point out is that Lambo was once a top prospect and was expected to eventually break out. He dealt with hamate surgery last year, a promotion to Double-A way too early in his career, and a few other issues. Meanwhile Pearce wasn’t a top prospect and just had a breakout season.

That doesn’t mean Lambo won’t end up like Pearce. I’ve said many times that Lambo isn’t a guarantee. The thing about Pearce is that he wasn’t bad in the majors — as a platoon player. He had a .613 OPS against right-handers, but an .806 OPS against lefties. Lambo bats from the opposite side of the plate, so his platoon splits would be reversed and would be exactly what the Pirates needed.

Just because Pearce became a good platoon player doesn’t mean Lambo will do the same. Pretty much, you can’t compare Lambo and Pearce at all based on their power numbers at the age of 24. The big takeaway here is that Lambo isn’t a guarantee, and might fail in the majors. With that point, I agree.

Alternatives to Lambo

As you may know, I felt that James Loney was the best option for the Pirates this off-season. He ended up re-signing with the Rays for three years and $21 M. This means that I’ll still get to see Loney when I take the 30 minute drive to the Trop this summer. It also means that the remaining options for the Pirates aren’t that inspiring.

There have been a lot of names on the trade block, but none of them really look significantly better than Loney. Ike Davis is the big name, and the Mets have been asking for a huge price. There have been rumors that they have asked for a top prospect from Baltimore, and a major league ready starter from Milwaukee, with both teams turning the Mets down. This makes sense, because Davis is more of a project. If we’re giving out comparisons to former Pirates, then Davis would be in the same camp as guys like Lastings Milledge or Jeff Clement. He’s a former top prospect with limited success in the majors, but he hasn’t put it all together and there’s no guarantee that he will.

Rich brought up one interesting name: Wilson Betemit. He’s a guy with good career numbers, but he also comes with red flags. In this case, he missed almost all of 2013 with a knee injury. He’s also 32 years old. There haven’t been many rumors about him this off-season, which suggests that teams are worried about his health. Betemit wouldn’t be bad as an NRI. If he comes back healthy, he makes a good utility player, and a backup to Pedro Alvarez at third base. He also would be a good Plan B to Lambo. But I wouldn’t give him the starting first base job over Lambo, mostly due to the knee injury, and the lack of trust from teams who probably have seen his medical records.

I do think the Pirates should find alternatives to Lambo. However, the market is pretty weak, and you’re not going to find that first baseman that can make you comfortable. So if they do look for alternatives, they need to find guys who can be a backup plan, rather than someone who turns Lambo into a backup plan.

Getting Used to Being Uncomfortable

The truth about Lambo is that you can’t feel comfortable going into the season with him as the first baseman. That’s true about a lot of prospects. This doesn’t mean that those prospects are doomed to fail. It just means they come with question marks, and people don’t like question marks when trying to envision a contending team.

The truth about the Pirates is that they don’t have the luxury of being comfortable. They’re always going to have to take a chance on guys like Lambo. The majority of those players won’t pan out. However, the ones that do work out will make the strategy worthwhile. The Pirates can never cast aside a guy coming off a breakout season at age 24, all because he might not have success in the majors. As uncomfortable as it is, they’re going to have to give those guys a shot to see what they can do. That’s true no matter if they were a contender the previous year, or if they are coming off a losing season. Their status in a given year shouldn’t change this approach.

I’ve always talked about how small market teams can avoid the mythical “window” to contend. It seems that most strategies that cite the “window” are just trying to justify short-term moves. Being comfortable is a short-term move. Whether it’s trading prospects for a bigger, yet non-guaranteed name, or passing up Lambo for a one-year option, the focus is only on the following season. Giving a shot to a guy like Lambo is uncomfortable because of the risk. You’re taking a bigger risk in the short-term, and if it works out, you see a huge benefit in the long-term. This type of strategy leads to teams being competitive for the long-term. It’s pretty much the strategy taken by the Rays, and they’ve been the model small market team.

So I agree with Rich that Lambo isn’t a guarantee. And because he’s not a guarantee, I agree that they need alternatives, although I’d only be looking for backup plans. However, I think that Lambo needs to be given a shot. The Pirates have a short-term and a long-term need at first base. They have a prospect who hit 33 homers last year at the age of 24. They need to see if Lambo can actually fill those short-term and long-term needs at first base, and they might as well do that now.

Links and Notes

**The 2014 Prospect Guide is now available. You can purchase your copy here, and read about every prospect in the Pirates’ system. The book includes our top 50 prospects, as well as future potential ratings for every player.

**We have been releasing our top 20 prospects for the 2014 season. Today the countdown resumed with #14 – Andrew Lambo.

**Six Pirates File For Arbitration. Nothing unexpected here. The big news will come on Friday when the Pirates and the players exchange figures.

**Alen Hanson Named Among Top Shortstop Prospects

**Pirates Invite Four Players to Spring Training. None of these guys project to make the team on Opening Day, although all four have a shot to make the team by the end of the 2014 season. The only guy from this list who will make the team in 2014 without an injury is Jameson Taillon. The others would need injuries, or extremely unexpected performances to reach the majors. Here is the full list of players invited to camp: 2014 Spring Training Tracker.

**Winter Leagues: Updates For Marte and Polanco.

Tim Williams

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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  • emjayinTN

    Tim: Speechless . . . . . Neil Walker yesterday and Andrew Lambo today? You know that window for contending you reference that small market teams have a tendency to misuse – well the same train of thought applies the work you do for a living. Sometimes, it is good for the soul to show some “possible” chinks in the armor, thereby inviting folks in a little closer.

    Lambo is an outfielder who is trying to get the hang of life in the infield, and especially 1B, the position that interacts with all of the other infielders, and the guy they depend on to save them from throwing errors. I doubted from the very beginning that he or anyone not already an infielder or Catcher could make that adaptation that quickly. Maybe a full year at 1B in AAA may be the better option for this kid. If he continues to hit and his defense at 1B is passable, bring him up right before the AS Break so he can get plenty of work at PNC.

    My best option for the Pirate team is Gaby Sanchez full time, spelled by Neil Walker for 20-30 games between April and July. Barmes and Mercer did this throughout 2013, so this would not be a strange situation when Walker moves to 1B. If McGuiness shows in ST that he can hit, he would definitely be a LH hitting possibility along with Walker and a good bench hitter for the first 2 or 3 months. The Pirates are too good defensively to bring in a totally inexperienced player at a key position.

    • Cato the Elder

      I think you are vastly overestimating the difficulty/importance of first base defense. I’m pretty sure the guy doesn’t need an entire year at AAA to learn how to catch a ball thrown to him, he is a professional baseball player. There may be some bumps, but teams having been hiding their worst defenders at first base for over 100 years for a reason. .

      • csnumber23

        Exactly Cat! First base is by far the easiest position on a baseball field to play. This guy keeps posting the same thing over and over wanting Gaby Sanchez in there full time. Nobody wants to see that. Sanchez can’t hit right handed pitching and he isn’t some gold glove first baseman either.

        • impliedi

          Agreed. I also don’t understand emjay’s Walker love in the comments of every single story.

          I applaud Neil Walker for turning himself into an adequate 2nd baseman, but there’s an overvaluation of him because of being a hometown guy. The Pirates should in no way consider giving him an extension of any kind. You only give extensions to guys who you think are about to explode (in a good way!). Perhaps I’m wrong, but I think we’ve already seen Walker’s ceiling and floor, there isn’t some giant leap there’s about to happen that warrants a contract extension. And Walker doesn’t posses the defensive skills that you would want for a utility guy down the road. I think Walker is the starting 2nd baseman, and when he can’t start anymore, he’ll be out of baseball. I don’t have a problem paying Walker what’s he worth, but on a year-by-year basis (arbitration, and when he’s done with that, free agency – if the Pirates think he’s worth it.)

          Walker as a first baseman, as others have shown, weakens your defense AND your offense (because his replacement is Barmes) when he’s there. It’s a terrible idea.

          I know it’s going to be a tough PR move, but Walker’s probably going to play out his contract and the Pirates will likely let him go. He just doesn’t have the defensive abilities of a utility infielder, and, if all the reports on Hanson’s weak arm are accurate, Alen Hanson is probably your starting 2nd baseman when Walker’s done (which could very likely be a huge upgrade over Walker.)

          All that being said, I don’t have a problem with giving Gaby Sanchez some of the AB’s against righthanders early in the season to ease in Lambo, but not be the full-time everyday 1B. But, Lambo probably doesn’t need to be eased in. Being a former top prospect, the pressure of being the 1B who gets most of the starts, probably wouldn’t phase him at all.

          As Tim mentions, it’s not an ideal situation, but sometimes you just have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable at a few positions.

        • jbloss

          There is NO WAY that Lambo will be the starting first baseman come opening day. Trust me, the Pirates are going to acquire a first baseman. Definitely not a hall of famer, but I will guess either Mitch Moreland or Ike Davis. Huntington is wisely being patient and waiting for the best deal. I predict it will be Mitch Moreland, with Lambo perhaps grabbing a bench spot. A first baseman will most definitely be acquired.

    • jaygray007

      Gaby sanchez vs righties <<<<< Andrew Lambo vs righties. and thats not necessarily a compliment to Andrew Lambo.

      plus you throw in that Walker at 1b thing. how is throwing Neil Walker at 1b, something that you advocate, that much different from putting Lambo at 1b?

      I agree that they'll have to get really creative if Lambo just looks terrible in ST. But let's at least give him a chance before saying that Barmes – Mercer – Walker would win more games than Mercer – Walker – Lambo when citing inexperience at 1b as the main reason.

  • dcbuccofan

    Platoon Walker at 1st base against righties? Seriously? Then who plays second base full time against all the righ-handed pitchers? Walker is not the future first-baseman and any platoon with him should be at second with Harrison who hits lefties well. Tim is right. At some point, someone needs to see if Lambo can hit in the majors. Might as well be us.

  • CalipariFan506

    I think Casey Kotchman would be a decent backup plan.

  • Y2JGQ2

    1. EMJAY- enough about neil walker at first and Gaby full time. Gaby is awful against righties, all the time. We’ve all seen it, did you block out his record setting amount of crucial pop-ups and strikeouts last year against righties? I didn’t. Look at the numbers, why do you want the hitting equivalent of Clint Barmes hitting in your lineup 2/3 of the games?
    2. To anyone who says that first base is the easiest position on the field to play, you have either never played it, or are senile. It requires the least amount of ATHLETICISM to play, but its actually quite involved, your reaction time (just like 3rd base), coordination, flexibility for stretches, tags, pickoff plays, and most importantly dexterity to jump scoop,etc. to save all those throwing errors that Pedro tries to make, and that a new shortstop in Jordy is likely to make. 1st base is a hub of activity in the infield. Right and left field are many multiples easier to play on any scale, only having to worry about reading the ball properly and backing up the appropriate players. They literally do nothing else. Speed and arm strength go into seperating the players at the position after that.

    If you were to grade the importance and difficulty relating to the positions on the field, it would go like this:
    1. Catcher
    2. Shortstop
    3. Third Base
    4. Center Fielder
    5. Second Base
    6. First base
    7. Left Field
    8. Right Field

    I’m leaving pitcher out since defense isn’t usually a significant consideration here, but honestly, being good defensively at pitcher would probably be more difficult than second base or close.

    • MattInMD

      IMO, you are discounting second base too much. Two reasons jump out: being in the middle of the field, the second baseman is involved in a lot of plays, especially compared to third base; secondly, the double play pivot – I’ve heard some shortstops say they think second is tougher than short because the second baseman can’t see the runner coming at him on the double play.

    • Cato the Elder

      I’m not saying I could be a major league first baseman, I am saying that a professional baseball player – i.e. a guy who has played baseball all his life and has shown the ability to regularly hit 95 mph fastballs – probably has the hand eye coordination required to play first base.

      We can go back and forth all day trading opinions about which position is more difficult, but in lieu of that I will post the standard positional adjustments (again). “The concept is easy enough to understand. Different positions on the field require different skills to play, and some are inherently more difficult than others. Catcher is harder to play than left field, and shortstop is harder to play than first base. We can easily accept an argument for accepting less production out of certain positions as an acknowledgment that the pool of players who can adequately play said position is small.”

      http://www.fangraphs.com/library/misc/war/positional-adjustment/

      As you can see:

      Firstbase : Corner Outfield :: Designated Hitter : Firstbase

      In other words, it is not even close.

      • Andrew

        I was typing a post with the same link, same reasoning, the only thing I have to add if a corner outfield requires more athleticism, it is by definition a harder position to play. There is a barrier to entry that some players cannot meet.

        http://www.tangotiger.net/wiki/index.php?title=Defensive_Spectrum

        In lieu of debating abstractly about reaction time and difficulty, just observe how players and prospects move on the spectrum, third basemen do not go to center, first base do not switch to right field. Possibly the only exception is second where some prospects end up if they aren’t athletic enough for short and cannot hit enough for third.

    • emjayinTN

      Y2: Thanks for the reminder about Neil Walker.

      Gaby Sanchez played two full years at 1B, 2010 and 2011 where he batted almost 900 times against RHP, and averaged 27 doubles and 13 HR’s each year, an OPS of .742 each year, excellent W/K ratio’s each year and excellent defense. Where on one hand we are talking about taking a defensive leap of faith on a kid who has never really played the position, we view Gaby Sanchez as a batter who cannot hit RHP? His numbers against RHP’s since he has been slotted in as a platoon hitter are less than I am comfortable with, but it is not like he has never done it, as proved by the numbers. During 2010 and 2011 when he was hitting against RHP’s and posting those .742 OPS numbers, he was much better against LHP’s with .900+ OPS numbers both years. His numbers those years were against major league pitching, and that is more than enough reason, IMO, to give him a chance full time.

      You and I definitely have the same thoughts about the need for a strong defensive 1B, and what it takes. Lambo, drafted as a 1B/OF in 2007 in the 4th Round by the Dodgers, has had a few times during his minor league career where he could have packed it in, but he has fought his way through. I give him credit for that, but I do not want to provide this kid with such a great opportunity to fail. He is still relatively young, has options remaining (?), and is vastly inexperienced at the position. Therefore, the Pirates are doing the right thing by locking him into that position in preparation for ST, but, short of a miracle, he will need more time to get familiar with the position.

  • https://www.facebook.com/bruce.humbert Bruce Humbert

    I really don’t get it sometimes – people are fine going after a Loney who has a career best WAR of less than 3 and not roll the dice with Lambo. He gives the Pirates two things.
    1. A way to keep Gaby away from right hand pitching – which he has never hit.
    2. A threat off of the bench – something that they lacked last year – Barmes and Stewart are non-factors as pinch hitters – why not at least have someone who has the power potential of Lambo to go to late in close games.

    And they have all of spring training to look at him as a first baseman and to keep their eyes and ears open for a possible alternative emerging elsewhere.

    I am not always a big fan of Huntington’s moves – but this “non-move” seems sensible. If Loney was a lock for even a 2+ WAR I would have been fine with going after him – but he is not. Lambo did everything asked of him last year and deserves a shot in the Spring – if he loses it, it will be on him.

    • stickyweb

      I’m with you Bruce. People act like there’s no risk with Loney and that we can be totally comfortable with him at 1B. Really? I wonder if the Dodgers would agree with that after his last year there. The only guarantee with him is that you’ll be paying him $21 mil.

      This is the classic higher floor/lower ceiling argument. Loney has a higher probability of doing OK, but he will never put up great offensive numbers and could also be pretty awful for 1 or 2 of those 3 years. Lambo has a higher chance of flaming out totally, but also has a higher chance of posting .800+ OPS. And you get to find that out at league minimum.

      They have to give Lambo a chance somewhere, sometime. Small market/low revenue teams can’t let a guy that put up his 2013 season just walk away without a shot.

    • jon6er

      I agree with your assessment totally Bruce and especially the part about Lambo doing everything an organization ask of a player to earn his shot. If they go out and get the best first basement its understandable that your getting buried or traded. It seems like people have a misconception that every successful major league player was a 5 tool first round pick. Nothing is further than the truth. In reality if GI Jones would have had another season like he had in 2012 we probably would be having less of these first base discussions.

  • IC Bob

    Tim well written article. I am not a Lambo fan but what you said does make sense. I still think the Pirates could have made a move for a RF or a 1B and not have damaged the minors. They chose not to. If they were so gun ho on Lambo I would have liked for them to come right out and say it. I get the feeling the Bucs are not gun ho on this guy and they don’t believe in him. Thats kind of where my problems with Lambo lie.

    • piratemike

      Not to be nit picky but the phrase is ” Gung Ho “

  • ballparkfranks

    My prediction for first base is that Lambo returns to the minors to start the season. Travis Ishiikawa (remember him?) starts the season in a platoon with Gaby Sanchez. Ishiikawa with his major league experience is less likely to come out of the gates slumping, and he has proven himself adequate at 1B defensively. He could easily out hit Loney over a short stretch to start the season.

    Lambo takes over when he shows he can handle 1B defensively, and that his hitting wasn’t a fluke. That could happen as early as May, and Ishiikawa would be a distant memory. If Ishiikawa slumps, and Lambo flops, you give McGuiness a chance, or maybe Gaby Sanchez earns more playing time. This carries us over to the trade deadline where we might have another chance at aquiring someone.

  • http://www.facebook.com/richard.yazhynka Richard Ya’Zhynka

    I must confess to being “Rich from Saber Bucs.”

    Tim Williams and Pirates Prospects have been a great encouragement to me.

    I had wanted to start a Pirate blog for at least a year, prior to reading Tim’s post about how he got started. I had the name for the blog. I had an account that I could use. And I had started working on it. All before the 2013 season. And then I just let it sit – for the whole season.

    Tim’s post gave me the motivation – and the “kick in the backside” – that I needed. I sent him an email and he responded with more encouragement and great advice. He also mentioned the site on Twitter, which was a big help. Thanks, Tim.

    Now, to the matter at hand:

    I think Tim and I have similar opinions on Andrew Lambo that couldn’t get fully expressed in the 140 character format of Twitter.

    I do think that Lambo is a valuable prospect and he could succeed this year. And, if this were the start of the 2013 season, I would be more comfortable with him as the left-handed platoon first-baseman. (I may be guilty of thinking the Pirates should do things a little differently now that they are contenders. But they really should not stray far from the strategies that made them contenders in order to have long-term success.)

    But, as Tim wrote above, I did say on Twitter that “The Pirates need a better option.”

    I think where Tim and I disagree is on the quality of the yet to be acquired alternative to Lambo. Tim believes the alternative should be a veteran the Pirates can fall back on in case Lambo struggles. I think the alternative should be a veteran who starts, while Lambo gets more at-bats at AAA – or supplants Travis Snider as the platoon in RF.

    I thought Eric Chavez was an excellent option for the Pirates. He has hit right-handers well – even as his career has declined. He has played some 1B. And he was affordable on a one-year contract. But he re-signed with the Diamondbacks.

    I do like Wilson Betemit, but, as Tim points out, there is the question of his health.

    I see Ike Davis as a hitter similar to Pedro Alvarez. Both were first- round draft picks, out of college, in 2008. Both are power hitters with a three true outcomes profile. Both have three years of team control. And both have had their very highs and very lows. Davis had Alvarez’s 2011 in 2013.

    If push came to shove, I would trade Nick Kingham for Davis. Tim wouldn’t.

    Tim makes good points about my Lambo/Pearce comparison. Lambo was once a top prospect, who was expected to hit well. Pearce truly came out of nowhere to hit 31 minor league HR at age 24. And I must admit that I had not looked at Pearce’s major league splits. Tim pointed out that he had an .806 OPS against left-handers. If Lambo can do that against right-handers, the Pirates 1B issue is solved.

    Thanks, again, to Tim Williams and Pirates Prospects. I invite you all to take a look at my site.

    • http://wkkortas.wordpress.com wkkortas

      I wouldn’t trade Kingham for Davis, but I do agree that Davis is probably better than the article paints him–he’s had success in the bigs that Milledge and Clement could only dream of–and I could see something like Tony Watson and a low-A body part for Davis.

    • https://profiles.google.com/116269181038744632419 Shawn Inlow

      Rich!

      Welcome aboard, matey. We over at the PBC Asylum (which has become the refuge for the die-hards since the Post-Gazette blew up our place last fall) are getting our news now from Tim here at P2 and I’m happy to be checking out SabreBucs and will make the daily visit.

      Good luck to you. Blogging can be very rewarding and very draining. If you want to make a Buc, you’ve got to be consistent. And I always felt the best reward were lots of people having an active discussion about your writing. So count me in.

      And, I have to tell ya – the information we’re talking about over at The Asylum
      http://pbc-asylum.blogspot.com/
      is now supplied mostly by bloggers like Tim and you. You guys are kicking the PG’s hind end. Simply outworking them. You have better information and opinion and it’s FREE.

      Great thanks to you guys.
      Now about the Kingham for Davis thing? I don’t make that deal.

      -Wabbit

  • https://www.facebook.com/doug.culbertson Doug Culbertson

    This is what I see Lambo as. He was drafted out of high school and the Dodgers thought he was a “can’t miss” prospect. He went from high school to rookie ball. He started the next season in Low A and the Dodgers rushed him to AA. At that point, 19 years old, he was under developed and immature as his suspensions from off field activities showed. After parts of 5 seasons in AA and Hamate surgery, he matured and focused.
    This guy is ready is ready for his first shot. He didn’t come up thru the minors unblemished. But after what he did last year he should get his chance. He may need more time in AAA but he’s 25 and has minor league options left.

  • http://MultiMatchupSports.com Stephen Stasa

    Lambo was drafted as a 1B so it’s not like it’s new to him last year. He also played some 1B in in 2007 and 08 while in the Dodgers’ system where he had 1 error in 161 chances (.994). I don’t know why the Dodgers moved him to the OF, but it wasn’t because he was bad at 1B. Then he didn’t play 1B again until 2013 where he had 5 errors in 150 chances (.967), but considering that was his first time back there in 5 years, I think that’s understandable as he gets back into it. In any case, let’s stop talking about him moving to 1B as if it’s trying to slam a round peg into a square hole.

    Are we going to compare every prospect who sees a power increase from age 18 to 24 (or even 22 to 24) to Steve Pearce? So the carry over the majors isn’t guaranteed. We didn’t need to see Pearce to know that. Sure, you’d like to see a more consistent and gradual progression, but in terms of PA/HR, Lambo’s worst year was 2010 after being rushed to AA in 2009, and he saw an improvement in each of the following years with jumps between 2011 to 2012 and 2012 to 2013. Even without considering the hand surgery, that’s encouraging.

    Another difference between Pearce and Lambo is that Pearce was in the majors just 2 years after being drafted. Also he was a senior in college so you pretty much knew what you were getting when he was drafted. Lambo had 6 years in the minors after being drafted out of HS. What you would be getting from him was much less clear, but that comes with a higher ceiling and much more time to develop. So what they did just before reaching the majors was similar, but their paths to get there vastly different.

    Finally, I want to see more of this with the small RF of PNC.
    http://m.mlb.com/video/v31007133/pitcin-lambo-hits-his-first-major-league-home-run

    Lambo’s Minor League PA/HR by Year:
    Year – PA/HR
    2013 – 15.656
    2012 – 29.6
    2008 – 30.889
    2007 – 43.6
    2011 – 44.818
    2009 – 49.182
    2010 – 50

  • RonLoreski

    I was going to suggest someone like Casey Kotchman or Lyle Overbay (ugh), but I totally forgot about Ishikawa.

    With Sanchez, Lambo, Ishikawa, and Hague, you have 4 options for 1B going into Spring Training. None of those names are ideal, but reality is they’re probably not going to bring anyone else in.

  • marty

    Lambo at 1B = disaster waiting to happen. At the plate and in the field. Hope and pray the offense can produce enough runs with a black hole at 1B, and possibly RF, vs RHP.

    • Cato the Elder

      …a black hole at 1B, and possibly RF, vs RHP…

      better the devil you know than the devil you don’t.

      • marty

        I believe in Tabata to produce until Polanco is ready, but that’s not a given. 1B, if it’s Lambo, will be a disaster vs RHP. I’d rather Gaby play everyday.

        • http://MultiMatchupSports.com Stephen Stasa

          Why would Lambo be a disaster against RHPs?

    • https://profiles.google.com/113712883335661247632 unfurious

      I don’t mean to kick another guy’s metaphor, but wouldn’t a black hole be good defensively. You want to avoid matadors and anything made of rubber.
      Also, my guess is that a black hole at the plate would be Marte with all the HBPs… Just sayin’… :)

  • piratemike

    It is not like Lambo is guaranteed the job, there is still spring training to go through so all this angst about Lambo is premature.
    If mgmt. doesn’t trust him they will come up with another player then everybody can wring their hands over him.
    Opening day is along way off.

  • lawdog

    I am glad someone finally made the argument that the Pirates cannot reverse their strategy of taking chances on rookies just because they finally are “over the hump” and are winning. A lot of sportswriters are suddenly demanding the Pirates chuck out big dollars for a RF or 1B, when they have no history of ever doing so, just because they finally have a winning record. Even Detroit is starting a rookie 3b this year. A team like the Pirates will always go with a rookie to see if he develops before spending 7 mil on a free agent. That is how you stay competitive over the long haul. If Lambo is a AAAA guy, they can pick someone up in June or July. However, he is worth a look.