Pittsburgh Pirates: Kevin Kramer Should Be Promoted
The Pittsburgh Pirates should take advantage of when rosters expand this September. The move they should make is to call up a potential second baseman.
If you look at the current standings, the Pittsburgh Pirates are done in terms of the playoff hunt. The team is currently closer to last place than they are first place, being 13.5 games back of the Cubs and sitting in fourth place overall.
Meanwhile, in terms of the Wild Card standings, the Bucs are 8.5 games back of the Milwaukee Brewers for the second Wild Card spot. Also, the team would have to jump six teams, including the Brewers, to get into the second spot. This is going to be very hard to do with just one month of play left.
So the Pittsburgh Pirates should honestly throw in the towel and start working towards next year. The team is likely not going to exercise Josh Harrison‘s $10.5 million option. That is a large chunk of change for a player who is having his worst year since becoming an everyday player. Furthermore, he is at the age of 31 and very well could be regressing past his prime.
So far Adam Frazier has proven that he is the better option on the offensive side of things. However, his glove work is still suspect. Although he has gotten on the right track at the plate and looks close to the hitter he is expected to be, Frazier still might be best used as a super utility player.
So instead, the team should promote their top second base prospect Kevin Kramer. Kramer should be viewed as the team’s long-term answer at second base. First off, he was the team’s second-round pick in 2015. A high pick was invested in him and the Pittsburgh Pirates should expect him to play up to the potential of that draft pick.
Still, even with him being a high pick, the team also has seen him quickly develop into one of their top prospects. The lefty hitter from UCLA put up an All-Star season in Double-A last year after hitting .297/.380/.500 with the Altona Curve. The 2017 year was Kramer’s breakout season. He followed that up with an even stronger 2018. So far this year he is slashing .303/.359/.480 with a career-high 14 home runs.
That is back-to-back years with solid overall production in terms of hitting, getting on base, and showing the potential for plus power. All three of these areas is something that the Pittsburgh Pirates are not getting from Josh Harrison this year. Also, Kramer is a former shortstop who has only made one error this season.
Could Kevin Kramer be the overall best option for the Pittsburgh Pirates going forward? He projects as a solid, all-around hitter, which at this point is better than Harrison. Also, if he can hit at the same rate as Adam Frazier, then he will be worth playing because of his plus defense. However, the only way to really find out if Kramer is going to translate to the big league for next year is for the Pittsburgh Pirates to call him up this September. With those numbers the last two years, he does not have much more to prove in the minors. Let him play the last month of the season and see if he needs more time in the minors next year.