Injuries have been the unfortunate theme for the Pirates’ minor league system this year. Their top pitching prospect, Jameson Taillon, went down for the season with Tommy John surgery. Several other top ten prospects, including Tyler Glasnow and Austin Meadows, have dealt with injuries this year. Most of the injuries are irrelevant in long-term considerations. For example, Meadows has had some setbacks with his hamstring, but it’s not like the Pirates are in any rush to get him to the majors with a future outfield of Andrew McCutchen, Gregory Polanco, and Starling Marte.
The biggest injury so far this year was to Taillon, and that’s especially true with the starting rotation struggling in Pittsburgh. Perhaps the second biggest injury is the recent injury to Andrew Lambo.
The Pirates will be sending Phil Irwin back to Indianapolis, presumably to call up a hitter. Lambo went on the disabled list today with a bruised thumb, meaning he won’t be that hitter who is coming up. That’s unfortunate, as Lambo has a .344/.430/.570 line in 93 at-bats this year with the Indians. He’s almost doing as well as Gregory Polanco, and since there aren’t the same Super 2 concerns with Lambo, the Pirates could bring him up anytime.
For the next two weeks, the Pirates will have an extra roster spot, allowing them to call up an extra hitter, in place of their fifth starter, who won’t be needed until May 24th. This would have been a perfect spot for Lambo to come up for a few weeks and get a shot in the majors.
Now the Pirates have their choice between the following players:
Jaff Decker – He has a .222/.317/.322 line in 90 at-bats this year, although he has been hitting well the last few games.
Brent Morel – .215/.279/.312 line in 93 at-bats won’t cut it.
Chris McGuiness – He’s not struggling as much as the others, but has a .214/.350/.405 line in 84 at-bats.
Gregory Polanco – Don’t expect him to come up before the Super 2 deadline.
Chris Dickerson – He’s the best performer of the group, with a .309/.378/.469 line in 81 at-bats. However, he’s not on the 40-man roster. The Pirates could just designate one of the above players for assignment, with the top option being Morel. That would open up a spot for Dickerson, who is the most deserving of the non-Polanco guys.
Of course, all of this depends on how long Lambo will be out. If he’s able to return early next week, then the Pirates would only be calling up a guy for three games over the weekend, until Lambo returned and became the top option once again.
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