Aug 15, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Twins first baseman Justin Morneau (33) hits a RBI single in the eighth inning against the Chicago White Sox at Target Field. The Twins won 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Would Justin Morneau Improve The Pirates Offense?


The Pittsburgh Pirates are looking to improve the ballclub as the stretch run continues in the 2013 season.  Much has been made of the poor season that Garrett Jones and Gaby Sanchez have been having.  One name that has come up is Justin Morneau of the Minnesota Twins, who cleared waivers this week.

Would Morneau help the Pirates situation?  We took a look strictly at the numbers, adding in the production that St. Louis and Cincy are getting from their first basemen to gain perspective.

It doesn’t look real pretty, does it? So let’s add Morneau to the mix.

Take a close look at the comparison.   Morneau doesn’t seem too inspiring when compared with the season-to-date production of Jones and Sanchez, right?  The combo of Jones and Sanchez have combined for 548 at-bats while Morneau has 445.  Jones and Sanchez have walked more, but also struck out more.

Morneau really struggled in the month of July, hitting  just .175 – which saw his value at the trade deadline plummet.  In August, he has hit six homers and has a .900 OPS while driving in 15 runs.

A big number to consider is how Morneau hits with runners in scoring position.  The lefty has piled up 33 hits (115 AB) in such situations with nine doubles and three home runs including 50 RBI.  He has whiffed 19 times with RISP.

Now, let’s look at Jones with runners in scoring position.  The lefty has 17 hits (82 AB) in such situations with five doubles and one home run for 27 RBI.  He has whiffed 16 times with RISP.

Now, let’s look at Sanchez with runners in scoring position.  The right hander has 15 hits (71 AB) in such situations with five doubles and one home run for 21 RBI.  He has whiffed 19 times with RISP.

Morneau is hitting well right now, the August numbers prove it.  The production with runners in scoring position is evident.  The guy can still play, he would improve the Pirates offense.  The question seems to be will the Bucs pay the price for the upgrade, or roll the dice putting trust in Jones and Sanchez to deliver when the team needs it most?

We think the Bucs will stand pat with their guys; Jones and Sanchez can’t keep failing all season… can they?

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Tags: Pittsburgh Pirates

  • Campbell Sproul

    RISP hitting isn’t really a teachable skill, it is coincidental application of skill as a hitter. Bad hitters will perform poorly with RISP. Good hitters will perform well with RISP, any discrepancy between their numbers is bound to become smaller as the sample size grows larger.

  • mh2421

    While hitting with RISP is not a teachable skill, emphasizing putting the ball in play, shortening up with two strikes, etc certainly teachable. Particularly with Runner on 3rd, Less than 2 outs the Pirates are near the bottom of the league. They converted 1 of 3 that I can recall during the Cardinals series, with Walker hitting a sac fly during the win on Wednesday. On Tuesday Cutch struck out and on Thursday Walker grounded to first (after falling behind either 0-2 or 1-2) with Harrison thrown out at home. These runs are incredibly important and the Bucs need to take advantage.