The Curious Case of Former Pittsburgh Pirate Pedro Ciriaco

As we have scoured the trade rumors over the past few months with our desperate brown eyes looking for a possible shortstop that could help the Pittsburgh Pirates, one name popped into our head.  Pedro Ciriaco!

Remember last year when we were screaming for Ciriaco to get playing time?  If you do, you were crazy.  Here is the original Curious Case of Pedro Ciriaco post from last season right around this time of the year (Aug 25)

July 31, 2012; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox second baseman Pedro Ciriaco (77) hits an RBI single during the fourth inning against the Detroit Tigers at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-US PRESSWIRE

We never got to see much of Ciriaco to even develop a positive opinion of the 26-year old from San Pedro de Macoris.  He had pathetic statistics in Triple-A Indy where in 289 plate appearances put up a miniscule .231/.243/.300.  Yeh, he had an OPS of .543 for the freaking AAA club.

But let’s rewind the clock to April 22, 2011.

Pedro Ciriaco was getting called up to the Pittsburgh Pirates. Let’s just say someone would have told you that Ciriaco would have spent more time in the Pittsburgh Pirates clubhouse to that point than Pedro Alvarez, we’re guessing you would have screamed.

“This is as much time as I’ve ever spent on trying to figure out the roster with implications, complications and availability and making sure that we’re doing everything that we can to get the people up here that we need to have to win ballgames and compete…. there are only a handful of guys that I haven’t seen in the minor league system.” Clint Hurdle, 2011

We can’t be certain that Ciriaco earned more major league service time last year than Alvarez, but it certainly was close:

April 22-recalled from AAA

April 23-optioned to AAA

May 21-recalled from AAA

June 27-optioned to AAA

July 2-recalled from AAA

July 21-optioned to AAA

July 29-recalled from AAA

August 1-optioned to AAA

August 23-recalled from AAA

It was endless.  It hurt.  Especially when you look back at Pedro Ciriaco and saw that while at AAA, he struckout 49 times and walked just six times while putting up that eye-gouging .543 OPS.

July 21, 2012; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox shortstop Pedro Ciriaco (77) during the fourth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-US PRESSWIRE

How he is performing this season with the Boston Red Sox is eye opening.  We never saw it coming.  Guess the Pirates didn’t either.

For the AAA Paw Sox, Ciriaco has exactly 289 plate appearances just like last year, but his production is better with a .301/.318/.406/.724.  His OPS took off, but it’s because of an increase in hits not walks.  The plate disipline is still bad, just not Clint Barmes bad.  At AAA Ciriaco has struckout 49 times, JUST LIKE LAST SEASON!  He has six walks, one more than last season.

Here are the numbers for Ciriaco this season with the Boston Red Sox, below.  The Sox have tripled his plate appearances and Ciriaco has tripled the amount of hits.  He hasn’t shown much pop and that plate discipline still sucks like a Vivid star, as he has 17 strikeouts to just one walk.  But his OPS+ is 114 in a part time, but growing role for the Sox.

Clint Hurdle had the Pirates go out and get his guy to be their starting shortstop.  Maybe Ciriaco wasn’t that guy, but it would have been nice to see a bit more of him on the field last year, just to be sure they had the right read on him when the Pirates were losing games at a remarkable rate down the stretch.

August 4, 2012; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia (15) congratulates pinch hitter Pedro Ciriaco (77) after hitting a home run during the eighth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-US PRESSWIRE

Right now the Pirates could desperately use some of the production Ciriaco has shown.    The guy has played all over the diamond for Boston.  A similar player for the Pirates is Josh Harrison.  But the jay hay kid’s production pales in comparision with what Ciriaco has done.  Harrison’s line is putrid:  .234/.287/.380/.666 and an OPS+ of 84.

The bottom line is Ciriaco has found a new home and is taking every opportunity to show he belongs with the big boys in the AL East.   He never jumped on the opportunity to do so in Pittsburgh and his minor league numbers didn’t portray a player that could perform at such a solid level in limited time in Boston.

Now it’s time for Clint Barmes to get it done in the NL Central.  Now it’s time for Josh Harrison to get it done in his part-time role.  They’ve been given every opportunity.

Tags: Boston Red Sox Pedro Ciriaco Pittsburgh Pirates

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