This winter Jose Tabata hit the weight room. He wanted to bulk up.
He knew getting bigger was a key to what he wanted to accomplish in 2011. Tabata is a player that might hold the largest level of upside among the fab four of the Pittsburgh Pirates core of Andrew McCutchen, Pedro Alvarez, and Neil Walker. We know Cutch is special. Pedro is going to hit bombs. Walker needs to stay rock solid. But Tabata?
Will he continue to grow as a low-slugging hitter that roams left field? Or will he be an all-around left fielder that may be best suited for CF in the future should his power numbers not be sustained. Can he build off his solid freshman campaign?
Tabata had a solid second half. He was clutch. He ripped 30 hits in 79 at-bats with runners in scoring position. Seven doubles. Three triples. The numbers rank third among players that had at least 50 at-bats with teammates in scoring position that hit .320 or higher. [Baseball Digest]
To be a corner outfielder in baseball, power is important. To be a corner in the NL Central, power is required. Power production in left field is something that has been rare since the Jason Bay trade. With a 2011 Pirates platoon looming in right field, the Bucs will be leaning on Tabata to put up some total bases. Some prime time production. We think Tabata is more than capable.
Tabata didn’t produce large power numbers in 2010. He slugged .400. Apparently, he knows all too well just how important power is. This offseason he told Rob Biertempfel that he has bulked up. Captain Intensity wants to hit homeruns.
“The power is there, I know it is. The ball was jumping off my bat in winter ball. It’s a good feeling, but I have to be careful not to let it change my swing. Sometimes, when you want to hit home runs, your swing gets real long. I can’t let that happen.”—Jose Tabata
We have a feeling that Jose Tabata will achieve whatever he puts his mind to accomplishing.
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