It was almost a year ago that Jordy Mercer played his first game of the 2014 season at shortstop. Mercer came up in early May to play second base with Neil Walker on the disabled list. Walker returned on May 13th, and Mercer started his first game of the season at shortstop on May 15th. A few weeks later, Mercer was named the primary starter, which was a relief to Pirates fans who were tired of seeing Clint Barmes' bat in the lineup.
When it comes to the shortstop position, defense has a ton of value, and is highly underrated. That's especially true for a team like the Pirates, who have had the highest ground ball rate in baseball the last two years. Barmes has been one of the best defensive shortstops in the league, but has no offensive value. That overall package still has value, especially to a team that gets a 50% ground ball ratio. But that doesn't mean you need to have a defense-only shortstop.
The Pirates made the switch to Mercer, sacrificing some defense in exchange for ...
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.