Jeff Clement has fought his way back to the big leagues. The guy has worked his ass off to prove that he can play at the big league level. That’s the good news. In 112 games with Indianapolis, the Pirates Triple-A affiliate, Clement has hit .276 (115 for 416) with an .825 OPS and 16 bombs. Big numbers, for sure.
Playing first base regularly, Clement crushed 35 doubles, 16 bombs, and drove in 57. He has been a big part of the Indians being able to clinch the West Division in the International League.
Here is a video from when times were good for Clement… nothing like a pie in the face, is there?
Looking at the production from Clement makes the Pirates timing seem questionable in this move, though. He had an .810 OPS in April (13K’s), .907 OPS (19K’s) in May, .939 OPS (19 K’s) in June, .882 OPS in July (33K’s) and then the bottom fell out in August for the 2010 Pirates Opening Day first baseman.
The dog days of August have not warmed up Clement, the 6’1″ 220 pounder. He’s been ice cold, hitting just one bomb. A tremendous cooling off from his torrid pace. The OPS is down to .494 this month as he has struck out 17 times, and he has just 12 hits this month.
Before the Triple-A All-Star Game, Clement had an OPS of .907. The post-break number is .661. He was hitting .299 before the break and now just .232. So, what’s up? The Pirates need some pop off the bench. We’ve been screaming about it for way too long, now.
Let’s trust the promotion is what Clement needed.
He has hit rather well against both lefties and right handers. His average is .281 against southpaws and .275 against righties.
But his power numbers have come against right handed pitching: 14 homers vs. RHP vs. two homers vs. LHP. Clement has balanced out the doubles, so the OPS is steady at .825 against both.
Clement is a great story. He has had his detractors who have pointed to so many injuries and pulled muscles, and questions have swirled around the first round pick that the Mariners had such a difficult time getting to play Major League baseball.
We remember a post we made on the PG blog back in the day. We predicted Neil Walker would be a major league regular before Clement did anything. Dejan felt differently, and put us in our place. Damn shame we never cut and pasted a copy of that… oh well, just remember sometimes it’s not all about what happens at the minor league level. Especially when the player is a first baseman in the Pirates system, it seems.
God, we hope we are wrong on Clement. But just curb your enthusiasm a tad bit before you annoint him the savior for the Bucs bench.