Yesterday I took a look at the early results from the minor league system, focusing on five players who need to continue their early season success in order to help the Pittsburgh Pirates. Today, the focus will be on five players who are off to bad starts, who the Pirates need help from, both in the short term and in the long term. Just like yesterday, I’ll point out that it’s way too early in the season to analyze any of the numbers. That said, we can look at the numbers and determine what a player needs to be doing this year in order to eventually fill the needs of the Pirates in the majors.
Andrew Lambo – Lambo is in the same category as Gorkys Hernandez, Alex Presley, and Starling Marte. The Pirates have a long term need for a third outfielder to join Andrew McCutchen and Jose Tabata in Pittsburgh. However, Lambo is off to a bad start, with one hit in his first 20 at-bats. Just like it’s too early to rely on Presley because he’s hitting .500, it’s too early to count out Lambo. The Pirates need him to step up, because the more options they have, the better chance they have of landing a long term outfielder to pair with McCutchen and Tabata.
Justin Wilson – Wilson put up good numbers in his debut, with two runs allowed in six innings. However, he struggled again with the walks, allowing four walks to six strikeouts. Ultimately that’s the biggest thing Wilson needs to work on. When he eventually makes the jump to the majors, he’s not going to be able to hold opponents to under a hit per inning, in order to make up for his walks. The Pirates need starting help in the majors, and Wilson has a lot of talent. He just needs to get his walks under control in order to make the successful jump.
Tony Sanchez – Sanchez has gotten off to a slow start at the plate, with a .222 average, although he has been getting on base at a good rate, with a .364 on-base percentage. He’s also got one homer on the year. Ultimately, Sanchez needs to get the average up, to support his other numbers. It’s the difference between being a Chris Snyder and being an All-Star catcher. As for his defense, he’s 1-for-4 on stolen base attempts. That’s a bit below average, although if he catches his next runner, he’s up to 40%. It’s still early.
Quinton Miller – Miller had a rough debut, allowing ten runs on eleven hits in 3.1 innings of work. He was a top draft prospect in 2008, opting to sign out of high school for $900,000, rather than going to UNC. So far he’s dealt with injuries and poor performances, and we’re getting to the point where he needs to start showing some production.
Robbie Grossman – Grossman is in the same boat as Miller. He signed out of high school for $1 M, and hasn’t really shown much yet. He’s only hitting .150 on the young season, although I am impressed with his walk rate. He has nine walks so far, for a .433 on-base percentage. However, he also has eight strikeouts, which is a 40% strikeout rate.