In order to help bolster their lineup the Pittsburgh Pirates need to promote both Endy Rodriguez and Henry Davis to the majors. How can they create roster spots for the two prospects?
While few people, if anyone, would have predicted it in the spring, the Pittsburgh Pirates enter play on June 12th firmly entrenched in the National League Central race. This is despite a starting rotation that has been hit hard by injuries and a wildly inconsistent lineup.
Due to the injuries, there are not many internal options for the Pittsburgh Pirates to help their starting rotation. However, there are internal options to help their inconsistent lineup. The Pirates have a pair of top 50 prospects in all of baseball sitting at the Triple-A level, and it's time for the two of them to join the MLB roster.
These two prospects are Endy Rodriguez and former no. 1 overall draft pick Henry Davis. As most everyone reading this knows, the primary position for each of these players in catcher, a position the Pirates are in dire need of offensvie help at.
However, both players can play other positions as well. Triple-A Indianapolis has played six games since Davis joined the squad and both players have been in the lineup for each game. As for the 40-man roster, Rodriguez is already on the roster and no spot needs to be created for Davis as the Pirate 40-man roster is not currently full.
Making room for Davis and Rodriguez on the active roster would not be difficult. The first move to make would be optioning catcher Jason Delay to Triple-A.
Delay started the season strong. However, as I wrote about at the time, Delay's strong start was not sustianable. He was not hitting the ball well and was benefitting from an unsustianably high batitng average on balls in play.
In the month of May, Delay's BAbip has leveld back out leading to him struggling mightily. Since the 1st of May, Delay has hit for a .176/.282/.176 slash line to go with a 40% strikeout rate and a wRC+ of 37.
Delay's Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) behind the dish is 0, which is right at league average. He struggles to block low pitches, even when they're not in the dirt, and 23 of 26 attempted base stealers have been successful. So, it's not like Delay is adding much value defensively, either.
The other to make to create an active roster spot for each player would be to option outfielder Canaan Smith-Njigba to Triple-A. Smith-Njigba returning to Triple-A could happen soon regardless when the Pirates promote Osvaldo Bido to start against the Cubs this week, utility man Mark Mathias or outfielder Josh Palacios could also return to Triple-A. Regardless, there are options there to create a roster spot.
Once they're both on the roster, getting each of them in the lineup on an every day basis would not be a challenge. Hedges would still catch once a week or so, but the other five or six days out of the week one of Rodriguez or Davis can be behind the plate.
Davis could also help provide some much needed offense in right field, while Rodriguez can also play first base. This could help veteran Carlos Santana get some much needed days off as we head toward the dog days of summer.
Now, you may think, what about taking Hedges off the roster? Well, for now at least, that does not need to be on the table. Hedges can serve as a great mentor for Rodriguez and Davis. Also, still carrying a third catcher will make it easier for the Pirates to get both Rodriguez and Davis in the lineup on a daily basis.