2012 didn’t start well for Pittsburgh Pirates outfield prospect Andrew Lambo. Until last night, it seemed like Lambo was going to have a lost season.
The 24 year-old was once one of the top prospects in baseball, and on the fast track in the Los Angeles Dodgers system.
A 50-game drug suspension later, and the one-time phenom was traded along with James McDonald as part of the Octavio Dotel steal. Lambo is now just another player in the Pirates minor league system. With his first half performance, JMac hs elevated himself to one of the club stoppers, but as JMac climbed, Lambo stalled.
Lambo has spent the first half of his season rehabbing after not receiving his return invitation to spring training with the Pirates. He was also sent back to Double-A which marks four consecutive years, Lambo has started at the AA level. It’s not what most baseball experts predicted.
Lambo entered the 2009 season rated as the Dodgers’ No. 1 prospect and two years later, he had served the drug suspension, been traded, and was struggling in a big way at Triple-A.
If last night was an indication of how Lambo is reacting to some bad luck this season, it’s a great sign. Before the year Curve manager had good things to say about Lambo.
“I’ve seen a different person, a more mature person, a more focused player,” P.J. Forbes said. “I think he knows what’s at stake.”
If you recall, Lambo came to the Bucs late in 2010. He was a spark and helped Altoona win the Eastern League title. He hit .275 with a couple of bombs in 26 games.
After getting his invite to spring training, Lambo didn’t really impress us when we saw him early in camp. This was about the most positive thing we saw, and it was against the Manatees.
Triple-A Indianapolis was his destination to start 2011. It was hideous. The 6’3, 210 pounder didn’t even hit his weight, going .184 with three homers and 17 RBI in 60 games and their were whispers about his maturity.
The Bucs sent him back to Altoona, where he put up some solid numbers hitting .274 with eight homers and 41 RBI in 69 games for the Curve.
Lambo just turned 24, but it must be a struggle dealing with being at the same level for the fourth year. At leaast he is (finally) off to a solid start after recovering from injury to start the season.
The Curve looked like they would battle their way to a playoff spot, but they can’t win on the road. Despite the two homers by Lambo and another clean, two strikeout inning from Vic Black, Altoona lost for the 12th consecutive time on the road.
The Curve are 38-24 when playing at Altoona, but 21-42 on the road. Perhaps the return of Lambo can help the club turn it around, it would be great for him to experience something positive this year.