Jordy Mercer Should Not Take At Bats Away From Kevin Newman
By Marty Leap
The Pittsburgh Pirates need to spend the final month of the 2018 season playing for the future, and the future does not include Jordy Mercer
On Wednesday night, shortstop Jordy Mercer returned from the disabled list for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Despite this, Mercer should not be playing every day at shortstop for the Bucs. The reason for this is because the final month of the 2018 season needs to be about the future.
The Pirates currently find themselves owning a 65-68 record and on their way to missing the postseason for a third consecutive season. However, with a good young core and an excellent pitching staff the team has pieces in place to contend in 2019. This makes playing for 2019 during the season’s final month vital.
As he prepares to hit free agency this offseason, Mercer is not part of the future for the Pirates. 2015 first round draft selection Kevin Newman may be a huge part of the Pirates’ future, however. Due to this, Newman, not Mercer, should get the majority of starts at shortstop down the stretch.
Is Newman the shortstop of the future for the Pirates? That is an unknown. There have always been questions about Newman’s range at shortstop throughout the minor leagues and these issues have been on display at the Major League level.
That said, Newman has done nothing but hit in the minor leagues. Prior to his promotion earlier this month he was second in the International League in doubles and in the top five in the league in hits as well.
At the MLB level Newman is 3-for-15 with a double and four walks.
When looking ahead to 2019 middle infield is a huge question mark for the Pirates. Newman has the potential to fill one of these holes, even if it is at second base instead of shortstop, internally. What is known is that Mercer is not part of the 2019 infield. This is why Newman is the one who should be playing shortstop on a daily basis down the stretch.
Will Newman prove to be a better MLB player than Mercer? Only time will tell. But it is time that the Pirates start to find out. They need to let Newman play every day, get reps at shortstop, and stockpile at-bats during the season’s final month.