Mar 23, 2014; Sarasota, FL, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates first basemen Travis Ishikawa (3) slides into second base as Baltimore Orioles infielder Jemile Weeks (1) attempts to catch a throw in the fourth inning of the spring training exhibition game at Ed Smith Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Pirate Fans Should Trust in Travis!!

Travis Ishikawa is an upgrade at first whether you believe it or not.

I know that the overall sentiment is that Huntington didn’t do enough over the offseason to shore up first base.   And you’d be right.  Although they did try, the fact is that they fell short.  Plain and simple.

But Travis Ishikawa is not going to be dead weight out there, mark my words.  Not only that, but in some areas he is a clear cut upgrade from last year’s platoon of Garret Jones.

Don’t believe me?   Let’s go to the chalk board.

Let’s compare Garrett Jones’ number last year against right handed pitching to Travis Ishikawa’s career stats against RHP and let’s see what we can anticipate.

Garret Jones:

 .241 BA, .295 OBP, .435 slug, and a .730 OPS.

Travis Ishikawa:

.262 BA, .329 OBP, .408 slug, and .737 OPS.

Now, let’s have even more fun.  Let’s compare their Spring Training numbers so far against rightys!

Garret Jones

45 AB’s .214 BA, .250 OBP, .429 slug, .679 OPS, 3 HR

Travis Ishikawa

25 AB’s, .320 BA, .414 OBP, .680 slug, 1.094 OPS, 3 HR

I’m no expert, but one of these two is clearly swinging the bat better.  I know, I know, it’s spring training, but just thought I’d share.

While you’re not going to get 15 Home Runs from Travis Ishikawa, which is what Garret hit last year, you’re going to get quality-at-bats.  And more of them.

There is at least a handful of times I can remember GI Jones being up to bat last year with bases loaded, or 2nd and 3rd two outs, etc and he’s come up completely empty.

Expect better at bats from Travis Ishikawa.  Better pitch selection, more patience, less strikeouts, and some real clutch hits. He will surprise you, but don’t say I didn’t tell you so.

And for those that would say that Justin Morneau is better than Travis Ishikawa against right handers, (I’m not rolling my eyes, really), you would be right.  But the career numbers are much closer than you would think, I promise you.

So granted Gaby will most likely have all the chances in the world to play 75% of the time this year.  Should he falter against right handers again, all is not lost.  In fact, to the contrary, we are in better shape than we were a year ago.

Believe it or not.

Follow me on twitter for stellar Pirate insight all year long @TheBigTuna66  and tune in to the Big Tuna Show every Sunday 12:30 on H4TV.

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Tags: Featured Image Pittsburgh Pirates Spring Travis Ishikawa

  • DJ Johnny Johnson Jackson

    Very impressive… I count myself as one of the more “tuned in” PGH sports fans, in particular when it comes to the Buccos. I feel that the energy spent on the Bucco’s lack of 1B offensive prowess over the past 4 weeks has been worn out. But yet, the Big Tuna has introduced data to reveal that the Ishikawa deal may not be that bad after all. Listen, decisions based on data are best. Data is King. Decisions made based on making people feel nice are not. As a wise man once said, “Nice don’t pay the bills” Me? Do I think, he is gonna light the world on fire? Nope. But guaranteed, he wins games for us and I am glad to have him. Yo Tuna – thanks for peeling back the onion and highlighting what we truly have a 1st base. I heard he modified his approach to the ball while batting and tinkered with his stance. Hope these changes at the plate will give way to results. Thanks to the Big Tuna for the insight on our 1B situation.