July 22, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Jordy Mercer (69) reacts after hitting a double against the Miami Marlins during the second inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Jordy Mercer was brought up because of the injury to Neil Walker but he is quickly gathering a strong support group. The Oklahoma State product homered in his first game up to give the Bucs their only win of the weekend series. Mercer has two other hits including a first inning double on Sunday.
Mercer only has a small sample size but is batting .250 and when he makes contact, he has rarely been cheated. The ball jumped off his bat this weekend and I, along with many others, want him to stick at short when Walker returns.
When asked about the 26 year old, Huntington said Mercer is “a legitimate option for us at shortstop next season.” For many Pirates fans this answer isn’t enough, they want a change and they want it now. And really, who can blame them?
The two Pirates’ shortstops have a combined .167 BA, with 4 XBH, 1 HR, and 5 RBIs in 104 at bats. Mercer is close to replicating that kind of production in only 12 at bats. It’s time for a change.
Pirates’ fans haven’t had a shortstop worth cheering for since fan favorite, Jack Wilson. Can Jordy be that player?
I have no idea. In six seasons down in the minors, Mercer posted a .268 average in the minors with 42 homers. Mercer did improve almost every year and had a combined .275 average with 11 home runs in AAA. Mercer may not have the defense of Barmes but definitely has the glove to stick there, and besides, Barmes has not been that great in the field this year anyways.
May 4, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates shortstopClint Barmes
(12) rounds the bases after hitting a two run homerun against the Washington Nationals during the fifth inning at PNC Park. The Washington Nationals won 5-4. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Barmes will most likely keep his starting job this year. The Pirates don’t want to pay him almost six-million-dollars-a-year just to ride the bench. However, in my humble opinion the Pirates need to replace him this year in order to shake up the line up. They cannot continue to go into games with the equivalent of two pitchers at the bottom of the order.
The way the season has gone, the Pirates basically forfeit every 3rd inning, not a recipe for success. This off season the Pirates made a drastic improvement to their catching woes, it’s time to do the same at short. Barmes currently has a negative WAR, which means any average player would be an upgrade.
Jordy Mercer may not be an All-Star but he can be a solid player and a major improvement. The kind of improvement that can boost this team over the .500 mark and possibly into the playoffs.
Is it too early to give up on Barmes? Is Mercer ready? What do you think? Let us know on our Facebook page