Why Is Andrew Lambo Not Enough?
By Tom Smith
The Pittsburgh Pirates off season has been focused on improving weaknesses to the team. Some fans feel the team must make a move to fill gaps at first base and right field. As the offseason creeps along for the fans of the Bucs, it was obvious to see that the available first basemen each had some flaws. As we look at the remaining names, such as Ike Davis and Kendrys Morales, it’s more of the same.
This lead me to a highly medicated discussion this morning before I left sick with EMac about the first base position. I thought that there would have to be some players that were being blocked by talented first baseman on their team that might be a possible fit. So I checked out a few top 1B prospect lists.
All I need to tell you is that Jonathan Singleton is widely regarded as the top 1B prospect in the game. Singleton finished 2013 with an average of .230 and a .753 OPS. The power all about vanished with 11 bombs and 44 runs driven in. The Astros #2 ranked prospect has some work to do before he becomes a big leaguer.
C.J. Cron checks in at number two. Cron is all bat and hit just 14 homers with a .746 OPS with the Angels AA club. The Cubs Dan Vogelbach has been trimming down and is considered the third best prospect after hitting 19 homers in 2013.
Early last year on Mayo’s list Alex Dickerson was ranked number 7. Need I say more. As you can see, it’s not exactly like talented young first baseman are falling off the trees of Major League organizations.
The first baseman I like the most is Max Muncy of Oakland. But Muncy is still in the minors and has never done this…
As Joe said in his guest post last week:
"It would be nice to have a first baseman on the Bucs who hits .290 with 30 HR and 100 RBI, but such first basemen are not common. Last season Paul Goldschmidt hit 36 HR but the next highest was 24 HR by Joey Votto. Only three first basemen drove in 100 or more runs. The Pirates went as deep or deeper into the playoffs as any of the teams with those first basemen."
So this leads me to my point, Andrew Lambo put up numbers that rival most any slugger in the minor leagues. Why is it that fans don’t want to give him an opportunity to win a job?
Gregory Polanco is a uber-talented player, but he hasn’t had remarkable success in the minors. He was the MVP of his league in Winter ball, while Lambo struggled this winter. So is it because of Winter stats that Polanco is such a lock to arrive mid-season? Are the Bucs seriously depending on Polanco to arrive and have immediate success at the big league level? I trust not.
It fascinates me that fans ignore the season Andrew Lambo had. Why are his numbers being tossed aside as a one-year wonder? The facts are that the Pirates do very little in creating buzz around their talented young players. Perhaps it’s to reduce the pressure on them to produce when they arrive. But the Pirates couldn’t hold back Lambo any longer in 2013 as he slugged his way out of right field in Altoona and Indy to the big leagues.
Lambo’s 32 bombs in 120 games ranked fourth among all Minor League players. The OPS was a big number too at .922. Those digits are hard to ignore. The Pirates have the Andrew Lambo they saw way back when he was acquired from Los Angeles along with JMac for Octavio Dotel. Lambo is no longer the player that was dropped from the Pirates 40-man and left for any team in baseball to take away.
The 25-year-old deserves his shot.
After all, the Pirates Minor League Player of the Year in 2013 should at least get more than 30 at-bats before we decide his destiny right?