PITTSBURGH — Jordy Mercer is hitting seventh in the Pirates’ lineup on Friday against the San Francisco Giants, but he’s become one of the best No. 8 hitters in the entire National League this season.

Mercer is hitting .291/.387/.466 while hitting in front of the pitcher. That’s the third-best batting average and second-best on-base percentage in the league. Only St. Louis' Kolten Wong is performing better.

Mercer is having a rare start to his season. He’s having a a career year at the plate while hitting in one of the hardest places to hit in the lineup.

“It’s a tough spot to hit in,” said Pirates hitting coach Jeff Branson. “You’ve got to have patience, but you’ve still got to be ready hit. You’ve got to have the ability to hit off-speed pitches, the ability command the zone and...

To continue reading the rest of this article, subscribe to Pirates Prospects. Subscribers get access to every article on the site, along with all of our exclusive live coverage of the Pirates' minor league system, all for a very low monthly or yearly rate.

If you're already a member, you can log in below. If you think you're receiving this message in error, please e-mail tim@piratesprospects.com.