Mystery Player

I’m going to cover a mystery player here today. A Pirates player who has receive a lot of grief this season, a lot of it deservingly so, but who has been overlooked and is thought to be performing far worse than he actually is. For the past couple of months this has been my argument about Clint Barmes but I have a new player to discuss today. This player since June 1st has hit for a line of .273/.364/.373/.737. Admittedly the slugging percentage leaves a lot to be desired and the sample size we are talking about here along with being fairly arbitrary is a small 189 PA. However that .364 number sticks out to me. The Pirates have very few players who are capable of psoting an OBP like that over a sustained amount of time. In fact I would argue it is only two. One of them is the face of the franchise and MVP candidate Andrew McCutchen and the other is the much maligned, despised, criticized and basically hated Jose Tabata.

Look I’m a Tabata advocate and I’ll freely admit there is a whole lot wrong with Tabata’s game. He appears to have lost a step even though I beleive how much he has lost has been greatly over exaggerated. He is not the best base runner, specifically base stealer but really this can be said about essentially every Pirate and hios defense this year at times was poor to say the least. I believe the base running/stealing is a coaching issue which will hopefully be addressed this offseason (but that is another discussion) and I beleive the defensive problmes he showed early in the season were a result of playing hurt or gingerly (ie his head had him convinced the injury was still there and going to act back up). Tabata has problems that require a lot of work to fix but one thing he can do and do rather well is get on base. Prior to this year Tabata had two seasons with an OBP over .340. This may not sound like much but the one thing the Pirates offense is really lacking are table setters, guys to get on in front of McCutchen, Jones, Alvarez and even Walker. Starling Marte and Travis Snider don’t fit this description and quite obviously neither does Clint Barmes.

For the last couple weeks (months really) I’ve been considering ways to improve this team and I cam up with a few (I’ll discuss later) but one of the first things that came into my head was that this team needed to be deeper. It needed an outfield with on base skills who could do a good job off the bench and who was good enough to hold down a starting position should an injury arise. My search led me to a few names but the one I liked the best was Reed Johnson. Upon digging a little deeper and realizing Johnson has been rather lucky the past 2 seasons with a high BABIP and after sitting down and giving it some critical thought I’ve determined that Tabata is more suited to the 2013 Pirates than Reed Johnson or an outfielder of that ilk.

Now should the Pirates decide to not move forward with an outfield of Marte-McCutchen-Snider with a little bit of Jones sprinkled in and pursue a higher level outfielder (a possible move I will discuss later on) the issue of cutting ties with Tabata (through a trade of course) becomes much less but as of now I expect the Pirates to keep that outfiled alignment and in the likely event they do I think the perfect 4th outfielder for that group is already with the team in Jose Tabata. He can spell Snider against lefties and help ease in Marte, meaning he should play about 3 days a week and in those days will be able to solidly fill the leadoff spot.



  1. Cappy

    There is NO mystery here…

    ” …there is a whole lot wrong with Tabata’s game.”

    No shit? Really? I hadn’t noticed. Much like you can’t notice grass growing.
    (and at a painfully similar speed.)

    “He appears to have lost a step.”

    Probably from carrying all the money he stole from the Pirates by way of the extension he signed (right before he decided to go into the 21st century version of Derek Bell’s “Operation Shutdown”.)

    He’s overweight, moody and devoid of hustle and focus….

    If “still waters run deep” Jose Tabata is the Marianas Trench. (Which rhymes with “Stench”) which fills the air every time he takes the field.

    The further the Pirates can get from him the better…

    Jose Tabata (and those of his ilk) are NEVER going to be a part of a Championship team: Here OR elsewhere!

    • burghfan66

      So a player who can get down the first base line in 4.0 to 4.1 seconds even this season, post a .360+ OBP over his last 4 months has no place on the Pittsburgh Pirates? So we should get rid of McCutchen too by that logic. The Pirates need people who can actually get on base at a better than .320-.330 clip and sadly Tabata is one of the few that can. Until such a time he isn’t he can have extreme value to the Pirates.

      As far as not being part of a championship team I bet I can find quite a few teams that have multiple players capable of posting .340+ OBP on very good teams, sadly we can find only 2 on the Pirates.

      The whole lack of hustle thing is insane, several times this season I’ve seen him make good “hustling” sliding catches plus I recall him going from 1st to 3rd on a BUNT! Imagine if he hustled I bet he could have scored.

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