Hague is simply taking Pedro's roster spot.
-Hague 9 for 21, .429 2 HRs, (3 HRs if you include B-game) -Alvarez 4 for 18, .222 2 HRs ( 6K's v. Hague's 3 K's, still 33% of all Pedro's ABs are K's)
It's still early in ST, but if this trend continues Hague should be on the roster on opening day.
Just wondering what your thoughts are about Alvarez and Hague both coming north. My thinking is you have the platoon at 1B so there is one bench guy. The back up catcher and middle infielder takes us to three. Nate is four.
If Hague and Alvarez both come north, against lefties, you can have McGehee and Hague start at the corners. Obviously that leaves Alvarez and Jones against RSP. But since Jones can technically play 1B and RF, leaves Nate to spell Cutch and Pressley.
Unless Alvarez goes 0-20 with 15 k's the rest of spring training, I don't see him going to Indianapolis.
Good question. And the answer is he$$ no. My theory is he had a pretty blah start to the spring. But after that start, he is appearing to showing signs of having a productive spring. Of course, I am going off of local published reports from people who are actually down there.
If he has to be part of a platoon, so be it. To be quite honest, I don't want him in the lineup against some of the tougher lefties the Pirates are going to face early on. May as well stack the lineup with as many right handed bats as possible.
Regardless, unless Hague bombs the rest of the way, bring him north. Hence, we will probably get the company line: "Matt is better served playing full time at AAA where he is just a phone call away."
I like Hague, but it's hard to jump on his bandwagon, when Jones is having such a good spring, as well. Plus, Jones is 2 for 5, vs. LHP, this spring. As a contrast, Jones only had 10 hits vs, LHP, all last season.
If Jones can figure out LHP even a little bit, enough that he gets the lion's share of the 1B starts, he could still be a 30 HR/100 RBI guy. Of course, that's a big if, and 5 ST ABs doesn't tell us a thing.
Still, if Jones gets some hits vs. LHP early this season, I could see Hurdle possibly trusting him enough to keep him in there vs lefty starters, until he stops hitting them, again. A power bat in the middle of the Pirates order could make a big difference. And Jones could be that bat - if he can hit well enough to earn the playing time.
"he could still be a 30 HR/100 RBI guy."
Yeah, he very well could be. Especially with the speed in front of him. Wouldn't two lefty thumpers be lovely? I'd rather the 4/5 hitters be Jones/Walker. In a perfect world, Alvarez hits and drops Walker to the 6 hole. In that scenario, things could be interesting for 2012.
"Plus, Jones is 2 for 5, vs. LHP, this spring. "
Talk about completely meaningless.
"If Jones can figure out LHP even a little bit"
So players can only improve if you think they can? Even if the probability of that happening is zero.
0 for 2 today. Of course, he was facing Cliff Lee. And Alvarez is never going to be good against LHP, even if he does get it all together. Ryan Howard is a .231 career hitter vs LHP.
You hope, though, like Howard, Alvarez can eventually hang in there vs LHP well enough to avoid a platoon situation. And to that end, I think he could benefit from some more time in AAA. I think the Pirates would be better served by suspending Alvarez's service clock, while gettting him full-time PT in Indy, vs. platooning him with McGehee this year.
You might be right about him needing more AAA time but i dont think they will do it.
""suspending Alvarez's service clock"
I might be wrong but i think he would need to be there a good while for that to come into play.
""I might be wrong but i think he would need to be there a good while for that to come into play.""
Well, the 6 year contract Alvarez signed in September of 2008 expires after the 2014 season. After that, Alvarez will need to be resigned, based on his service time - as a 0-3 guy, or an arb1, or an arb2, whatever he is, at that time.
So, by suspending his service time while he still has an available option, the Pirates could save millions, in a few years. Plus, whenever Alvarez reaches 6 years of service time, he's outta here - Boras clients almost invariably head to free agency, as soon as possible. So, the longer he's in Indy this season, when his MLB production may not be up to par, the longer he's a Pirate down the road, when he's fully blooming.
I think the Alverez situation is a mess. There's room for blame on both sides.
I think the Pirates rushed him being desperate for something positive to happen after all the purges. I also think they over hyped him for the same reasons.
For Pedros part he didn't take the job seriously and is just now understanding what it takes commitment wise to play ML baseball.
I also think the pressure of being "the savior" had a negative effect on him. That and a lack of options in the lineup, protection wise, lead to his struggles.
Hopefully he has that protection now and will get better.
But i don't think he is ever going to be the guy we thought he was going to be and I dont think he was ever that guy in the first place.
I too had Nick Evans ahead of Hague for the platoon at 1B. His career OPS v. LH-pitching is over .800, but Evans has not performed well this spring. Hague has looked good at the plate, but has not looked good at 3B.
There are still a few more weeks of ST, but as of right now I have an opening day platoon of Jones/Hague at 1B and McGehee at 3B based purely on performance.
I have earlier posts on this board that contradict the previous sentence. Hague is not an ideal platoon candidate and has never hit LHs better than RHs. Hague will probably need to get more reps at 3B at sometime in his career to increase his value. But, Hague is the best option right now.
"not favorable to Pedro with 4 lefties Lee, Hamels, Capuano, and Kershaw in the first 6 games."
Good point. May well play a factor into the decision making.
""Hague is not an ideal platoon candidate and has never hit LHs better than RHs. Hague will probably need to get more reps at 3B at sometime in his career to increase his value. But, Hague is the best option right now.""
Well, let's see:
If Alvarez comes north in April:
McKenryMcLouthMcGehee2 of Navarro/Harrison/Fox
If Alvarez goes to Indy in April, that puts McGehee in the starting line-up, at 3rd. And opens a spot on the bench for Hague.
So, I'd say the real choice is between Alvarez and Hague.