May 9, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates pinch hitterCorey Hart
(12) breaks his bat on a sacrifice fly RBI against the St. Louis Cardinals during the sixth inning at PNC Park. The Pirates won 7-5. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Least Valuable Player – Corey Hart
Runner-Up – Gregory Polanco
This was also a difficult award to decide. Andrew Lambo was the quarter-pole LVP, but he’s been on the disabled list since a horrible start to the year. So, this award came down to two players: Gregory Polanco and Corey Hart.
Polanco has been a disappointment this year to say the least. He hasn’t improved since last season in the slightest, and the only value he’s given the team so far has been in his stolen base numbers and his strong arm in right field. Those two alone don’t make up a major league starting outfielder, let alone a right fielder on a playoff-contending team. He’s been mired in a slump recently, but will be forced into more game action with the recent injury to Josh Harrison.
But this award had to go to Corey Hart. Yes, he’s no longer on the major league roster, but his poor play affected the team adversely enough for him to steal this award from Polanco. Hart was looked to at the beginning of the year to be the right-handed bat opposite Alvarez at first and had a history of huge power numbers during his time with the Brewers. But bad knees and aging have clearly done him in, as he added only two home runs this year and was a below replacement level player. Not only was he batting a measly .222 before he was placed on the DL but his on-base percentage was below .250.
What stood out the most about Hart was his strikeout to walk ratio, which sat at 19 to one. Yes, that’s really what it was. A player who strikes out a ton and doesn’t walk has to add value somewhere else to justify his place on the team. Hart was supposed to add power to help negate this, but he didn’t. Needless to say, now the Pirates are forced to look for a right-handed bat externally to field at first base.
Next: Most Valuable Player