Andrew Lambo could be an option for the Pirates at first base in 2014. (Photo Credit: David Hague)

What the future holds for Andrew Lambo

On Sunday, Andrew Lambo started in left field in Indianapolis. Though it is his natural position over first base, unfortunately it shows what we already knew – how the Ike Davis trade would impact his future with the club.

Lambo, who was given every chance out of Spring Training to take over the platoon job against right-handed pitchers at first base, had a dreadful Spring Training and was demoted to Triple-A.

However, a hot start to the season had some hopeful that Lambo would reclaim what could have been his. It was fairly obvious that Travis Ishikawa was a band-aid, but it was not Lambo who was the cure. It was the trade market and Davis.

With this decision, Lambo has a couple of hopes to end up in the Major Leagues this season. The first hope would be to provide depth in the event that an unfortunate injury would occur. The second option, which seems far more likely, is that he would become trade bait at the deadline if the Pirates are buyers again.

While Lambo could provide organizational depth at first base, the move Sunday to play him in left starts to clear up that the Pirates feel that his future is not at the position.

The key to any of these options are for Lambo to continue his success at Triple-A and to not get discouraged by the roadblock that has been placed in front of him.

Lambo is 13-for-35 in his last 10 games, but is only 2-for-13 in his last three. He has yet to hit a home run in this early season, but does have four doubles. Lambo has gone well over 200 plate appearances since his last home run, including Winter Leagues and Spring Training. Davis provides some pop that Lambo has not shown this year, but Lambo is coming off his 33-homer campaign last season that earned him Pirates Minor League Player of the Year.

Another key is Lambo’s lack of success against right-handed pitching early this season with Indianapolis. He is 4-for-20 facing righties, against 9-for-23 against lefties. If you are looking to a platoon job for Lambo, success against righties is obviously the key and it has been a weakness with the early small sample size. Lambo also has 11 strikeouts in 43 at bats this season.

Davis is also a huge defensive upgrade over Lambo at first. Though Lambo has not looked terrible at the position in Indianapolis, Davis is an above average fielder.

While the decision was made based on the upside of Ike Davis, Lambo did not do a lot this season to prove that he has to be the guy in the platoon.

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Ryan Palencer

Ryan joined Pirates Prospects as the Indianapolis Triple-A writer in 2014. Prior to joining Pirates Prospects, Ryan covered high school, college and professional sports in the Indianapolis area. For more updates throughout the season, follow Ryan on Twitter @ryanpalencer.

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  • db33

    Is lambo a good enough fielder to try him at third?

    • IC Bob

      He isn’t good enough to play first. So I guess the answer would be no. I do find it funny though that a lot of people on this site have sighted Davis as a weak defender but Tim says he is above average and a significant upgrade over Lambo. I have a feeling Davis is going to have a solid if not a really good year for the Pirates. I am interested in where he bats in the line up. I think he would be a better clean up hitter then Alvarez because if a team does pitch around Cutch (like they do every game in clutch situations) then the Pirates could PH with Sanchez for Davis in the 4th spot. With Alvarez there its an easy mismatch with a good LH on the mound.

  • bmcferren

    Absurd but the bucs don’t want anything to do with the history of Lambo getting in trouble

  • piraddict

    The real question is what position will need to be upgraded next for which Lambo and most of the staff at AAA except Polanco are trade ammunition before the trade deadline? Or will the Pirates be sellers (we hope not). We have to expect that the Pirates will play better both offensively and defensively (pitching) then we have seen in the first twenty days. But the again, maybe they won’t. Polanco’s arrival in June is a given, barring injury. Other than that, what is next to be upgraded? SS? Relief Pitching? Wandy’s replacement?
    I see the following positions as not needing upgrades (LF, CF, RF (Polanco), 3B, 2B, 1B, C, Cole, Liriano, Morton, Volquez, Melancon, Watson, Wilson, Pimentel, Morris.
    Positions where an upgrade is indicated: Wandy, Gomez, SS.
    Has Grilli reached the end of the line? Or can he recover?

  • R Edwards

    With all due respect Tim, you do try hard to defend and justify the team management’s every move. You are the first person I have ever heard describe Ike Davis as an above average fielder.

    Sure Lambo did not have a good Spring, but he is a kid who has yet to play in the majors, and was learning a new position at the same time. I am sure he was feeling a lot of pressure. But, I have not given up on him – and if Davis hits like I expect him to, Lambo may get another shot. In fact, I hope he gets another shot. He has overcome a lot in his life and it would be a great story.

    • csnumber23

      great story or not Lambo had the job all but handed to him and failed. He hadn’t done much of anything before last year and has now gone over 200 at bats without a HR. he is 25 already and Davis is 27. There are several outlets besides Tim that have said Davis is an above average defensive first baseman. Go ahead and root for Davis to fail, that’s a true fan lol

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