Andrew Lambo was a key member in the Altoona Curve run for the EL title. Lambo hit .281 with two homers and drove in seven runs in eight games.
Now Lambo is in the prospect rich Arizona Fall League for his third stint. Lambo must sense he has the opportunity to get his career back on track. The Pirates could use a stud in the outfield and Lambo certainly has the pedigree when he was called the best prospect in the Dodgers organization heading into the 2009 season.
We have to assume the outfielder will get a look in spring training before heading to AAA Indianapolis if he can show he has gotten his life together. The kid can play. It’s time to prove it.
Lambo has picked up right where he left off with the Curve as he keeps on delivering for the Mesa Solar Sox.
Lambo was acquired with James McDonald by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the Octavio Dotel steal deal, has reached base in five of his six starts in the AFL. In four of his starts for the Solar Sox, Lambo has reached base safely multiple times.
For Josh Harrison it’s not been a case of picking up where he left off, but something much different. Harrison had a career year for the Curve. He set career highs in doubles with 33 , walks with 32 and he was clutch while driving in 75 runs.
When the Curve needed his production the most–in the postseason, Harrison was scorching. He crushed three homers while driving in seven of his teammates as the Curve won the EL title. Harrison had hit just four homers the entire Curve season.
It hasn’t been as smooth thus far for Harrison in the AFL. He was moved down in the order to the seventh spot and the move paid off. Harrison had two hits in five at-bats, but couldn’t deliver a big hit in two very clutch situations.
Harrison did single after Ryan Flaherty walked to lead off the second inning, but was forced out at second base.
In the sixth inning, Lambo had a leadoff single to left, Josh Vitters had a sharp single to left and Ryan Flaherty walked bringing up Harrison with the bases full of Solar Sox. He would go down swinging, Harrison’s sixth strikeout in 23 at-bats.
Harrison redeemed himself in the top of the eighth when he lead off with a double to right field. Harrison would score when Kai Gronauer tripled to right giving the Solar Sox a 5-4 lead.
In the ninth, Brandon Wood reached on an error by 1B Koby Clemens, Lambo followed with a walk. Mesa seemed to be in business. Vitters had a soft single which scored Wood and put Lambo on third with nobody out. After a caught stealing and a walk to load the bases, Harrison came to the plate once again.
But Harrison couldn’t deliver as he popped out to second sending the Sox to the bottom of the ninth clinging to a two run lead.
Peo scored in the bottom of the ninth to make it a one run game, but they left a runner stranded when Clemens grounded out to end the game.
Reposted from 6Aug:
Remember when the Pittsburgh Pirates acquired Jose Tabata from the New York Yankees? The team was able to get a player like Tabata because of one thing. He had baggage. A team like the New York Yankees seem to not have the time, nor do they want to invest the time, in dealing with problems. We can’t say we blame them. It’s extremely hard.
We rip on the Pirates for some of the dumb things they have done, but one of the things they need credit for is Jose Tabata. The Pirates outfielder is now second in the league with 31 hits after the All-Star Break. He plays baseball as hard as he hits it.
Whatever attitude problems he had when the Yankees threw up their arms on him have vanished. Those things aren’t hard to change, an attitude is something that is personally chosen by an individual. However the Pirates Kyle Stark and his team fixed it, helped Tabata choose a better one, whatever, Tabata looks to be a different player. Does he have room to improve? Sure. He’s 21.
With Tabata soaring, enter Andrew Lambo. He was even more hyped than Tabata. Baseball publications had him pegged as the shit of the shit, Dodgers fans saw him as being the replacement for Manny Ramirez.
Lambo is a baseball player with some serious skills and he seems to have a great attitude. Last season he slumped badly and never found his bat until the Arizona Fall League (AFL). Check out this video after he was snubbed from the 2009 AFL Rising Star game despite being second in hitting.
As you have heard, Lambo has some faults. Think of a young Neil Walker with poor pitch recognition and plate discipline. But Lambo has many strengths that are interesting. He has hit left handed pitching very well. He has hits in four of his five games with Altoona, two of the games he has had multiple hits. Lambo does have sick bat speed. But his addiction is likewise sick and that brings a different set of problems than Tabata brought with him from the Yankees.
With everything ahead of him this year, even though he was repeating the AA level, Lambo slipped again. Instead of building off his solid AFL season, he went back to his ‘grampa’ and was nailed. Not just once, but twice. Remember, this is after being busted in high school and watching his stock falll to the fourth round of the 2007 draft.
So on May 1, he was hit with a 50 game suspension. We have to believe that it was his second positive test. The first would not be disclosed.
If you’re a Pirate fan, we urge you to keep your eyes on Lambo. If you’re near Altoona keep him away from Walnut Street and the low level skunk dealers at PSU Altoona. Of course, if Lambo didn’t have the baggage, he would never be in a Curve uniform working his way toward becoming a Pittsburgh Pirate.
If Lambo can’t admit he has a problem, this experiment is going to fail. Thus the first step is Lambo’s, then the Bucs brass can call up the faith healers, send him to the Meadows, and/or bring in specialists because like Tabata, this project is going to be a complicated one.
The effort, if completed successfully on Lambo’s and the Pirates part, should produce a nice shot term return. Lambo has the ability to be a major league player. He seems smart enough to do even more than that if he so chooses.
But he needs some help.
Let’s trust the Pirates can do just that for this guy.
The world doesn’t need to lose another gifted young man to Mr. Brownstone or to the hose of a Phish show. The Pirates have the time,and the basic template in Tabata, to ensure Lambo can, in the epic words of Axl, leave it all behind.
The box score from yesterdays Solar Sox 6-5 win: