The Pittsburgh Pirates have made some moves over the past few years banking on one word.
Upside never came to pass for Lastings Milledge, but Joel Hanrahan has showed his potential in a big way.
But the latest upside victory project was when the Pittsburgh Pirates acquired Jose Tabata from the New York Yankees. The Pirates were able to get Tabata because of one thing. He had baggage. Whatever attitude problems Tabata had when the Yankees threw up their arms on him, have vanished. Kudos to the Pirates developmental team under the eyes of Kyle Stark for working the voodoo.
With Tabata now soaring, Stark and his team was given another challenge at the trade deadline when the Pirates acquired Andrew Lambo from the Dodgers organization. The Dodgers are similar to the Yankees in the concept that problem players aren’t tolerated for very long. The Pirates don’t have such luxury.
Lambo was 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. [More on Lambo's time with LA: This link will open an interview Lambo conducted in 2009 with Baseball Beginnings. ]
We have said this before, Lambo is a baseball player with some serious skills. In 2009, Lambo 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.
In 2010, Lambo slipped up again. Instead of building from his solid AFL season, he fired up the inner Wiz Khalifa and got suspended for 50 games.
But after coming to the Bucs, Lambo produced. We didn’t hear of any reports of bad judgement. He played well in the Arizona Fall League too. It appears he played a lot better until he was snubbed once again from the Rising Stars Game. Looking at Lambo’s last ten games, he hit .212 with seven hits in 33 at-bats, two walks and eight strikeouts. Maybe it’s just coincidence, maybe not.
As you have read, Lambo has some faults. Some writers don’t think much of his skills.
We look at the skill set Lambo possesses and think of a young Neil Walker with poor pitch recognition and plate discipline. But Lambo has many strengths that are interesting to us. He has hit left handed pitching well, although his numbers in AFL this year were off, he did hit two bombs in the AFL this season off left handed pitching. The promise is there. It always has been. It seems that the passion for baseball hasn’t been consistent. Yet.
This offseason the Pirates have added a number of AAAA type players to the club. Some of those play positions that Lambo also plays. We have to think Lambo is getting the message. It seems the road to Pittsburgh is open, but unless he grows up and takes the wheel, nobody will be driving him to Federal Street. Yet somehow, if Lambo puts it all together, he would produce a solid shot term return for the Pirates.
Lambo has the ability to be a major league player. He seems smart enough to do even more than that if he so chooses.
This article is a must click on Lambo, written yesterday by Anup at Bucs Prospects who scouted Lambo when Anup was with the Padres and Cardinals.