With Oneil Cruz set to miss at least two more months, Tucupita Marcano has been seizing the shortstop job for the Pittsburgh Pirates
When the Pittsburgh Pirates lost budding superstar Oneil Cruz to a fractured ankle in early April, things looked bleak at the shortstop position. With Cruz set to miss four months the Pirates were left scrambling at shortstop.
In recent weeks, Tucupita Marcano has started to emerge as the guy at shortstop. Even though the Pirate staff seems non-committal with Marcano starting at shortstop against left-handed pitching, he should be the guy at shorstop. For now at least, Marcano has seized the job.
In 105 plate appearances this season Marcano is hitting for a .269/.333/.473 slash line to go with a 118 wRC+. He's walked 5.7% of his trips to the plate, struck out at just. 13.3% rate, and has collected extra base hits at a strogn 11.4% clip.
Marcano has been a spark plug for the Pirate offense. He has used his speed to cause problems on the bases and force the issue with opposing defenses. Marcano has stolen 3 bases and has been able to use the bunt as a weapon as well.
This season Marcano has made an adjustment with his hands in his batting stance and it has paid off. The adjustments made by Marcano has helped lead to him posting a 7.3% barrel rate, 42.7% hard hit rate, and an average exit velocity of 89.9 MPH, all of which are above league average.
The one thing you would like to see more of moving forward is Marcano getting opportunities against left-handed pitching. Marcano has just 16 PAs against left-handed pitching this season. While he has struggled, without addition opportunities against lefties he'll never get the chance to improve.
Defensively, he has been far from perfect at shortstop. Marcano owns both a -2 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) and Outs Above Average (OAA) at the position. However, he's commited just one error in 146.2 innings at the position. He has also flashed good range at shortstop.
Even with some defensive struggles at the position, Marcano has been good enough to hold the position down until Cruz returns from the IL. Especially with the way Marcano has been hitting and the Pirate offense slumping.
Until Cruz returns, Marcano needs to be the primary shortstop for the Pirates. It should not matter if the opposing team is throwing a right or left-handed pitcher, until Cruz is back, Marcano has earned the right to be the guy at shortstop.