The Pittsburgh Pirates are going to see a couple of their outfielders coming off the Injury List sooner than later. What should they do from there?
The Pittsburgh Pirates have had outfield issues all year in terms of keeping them healthy. The team saw Gregory Polanco and Lonnie Chisenhall both on the Injury List come opening day. Luckily the team brought in some other players on minor league deals, like J.B. Shuck and Melky Cabrera.
However, when Corey Dickerson went down there started to be some questions about if the team had enough outfielder depth. Well, the Pittsburgh Pirates did something they rarely do, they called up one of their prospects to help with the lack of depth. This is unusual as the team tries to avoid calling prospects up until Super-Two (although this is a discussion for another article).
The Pittsburgh Pirates called up one of their top outfield prospects in Jason Martin. Martin was acquired in the Gerrit Cole trade and was ranked in the team’s top 15 overall prospects entering this year. This was mainly because of the impressive Double-A season he had last year when he hit .325 and .522 slugging.
Martin profiled as a logical candidate to be called up with his toolset. He always profiled as a potential power and speed candidate who could play average to above average defense at all three outfield positions. Martin seemed like a logical fit, but the question was whether or not his bat would be able to plug right into the lineup.
Well, Martin has proved that he deserves to be a part of this team. So far he has played just left field and has rated as a plus defender. However, the best part has been his hitting and base running. So far he is slashing .353/.389/.471 with a 130 wRC+. He has played in eight games so far and had his biggest moment yesterday against the Nationals. Martin came up in the ninth inning without a hit on the day and he took a Wander Suero pitch to deep left center for a ground rule double, scoring Josh Bell from second. This ended up being the game-winning hit.
While JB Shuck has done a good job filling in, there is a reason he has been floating around the league for a few years now. He is a decent defender, but in terms of offense he relies on working the count and getting weak contact hits. Martin has shown his ability in the field and at the plate and is just 23 years old. He had a strong Double-A season last year and deserves a chance to continue to develop at the major league level.
Furthermore, Jason Martin will be a part of this team for the next five years or so, if not longer. He has a chance to be this team’s starting left fielder as soon as next season. So why send him back down when he has shown he is ready for the big league level already?