Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Whoops, Here Comes Another Bucco...

-- Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports tweeted that "Pirates claim Xavier Paul, source says." He's a 26 year-old AAAA-lookin' OF'er, plus speed, plus glove, left-handed hitter, but with .233 BA in the bigs.

He didn't get much chance to prove himself in the show as the Dodgers only batted him 146 times in three years.

Paul hit .291 with a .360 OBP in the minors and 93 stolen bases, but is a big strikeout guy for a top-of-the-order kinda hitter, K'ing on 21% of his plate appearances.

The OF'er can play all three positions and has a strong arm, but unfortunately for him, had a staph infection of his foot in 2009, a neck injury (bulging disc) in 2010, and was out-of-options on a team that's loaded with outfielders in 2011. Guess the Bucs have finally found their McCutch/Tabata backup.

The Bucs will have to do some roster shuffling to clear a spot for Paul.

The first move was putting Scott Olson on the 60-day DL to clear a spot on that roster. That move makes it likely that Pearce, who has an option, will get sent to Indy to clear a spot for Paul on the major league roster, although John Bowker remains a dark-horse candidate to go.

Paul becomes arb-eligible after the 2012 season as a Super-Two player.

-- Charlie Morton goes against Matt Cain at 7:05 PM tonight. The game will be televised on Root Sports.

The lineup is: Andrew McCutchen CF, Matt Diaz LF, Lyle Overbay 1B, Neil Walker 2B, Garrett Jones RF, Ryan Doumit C, Pedro Alvarez 3B, Brandon Wood SS, Charlie Morton P.

If you're keeping count, it took Wood three games to take Ronny Cedeno's spot, and Jose Tabata gets a day off. And if there's a more unlikely pair to bat 2-3 than Matt Diaz and Lyle Overbay, we would hate to meet them.


WilliamJPellas said...

Paul has good speed and I would normally be in favor of this move except that we have Alex Presley in Triple A and he is absolutely tearing the cover off the ball and has nothing left to prove in the minors. Why grab this guy as a potential fourth OF when we already have a player who projects as a better hitter (though not as fast)? Is Paul really that much better than Presley? I suppose it's possible, but it doesn't seem to make sense as a definitive upgrade. Further, 'twould seem that Bowker made the team because he can play infield in addition to the corner OF spots. Paul, like Presley, is purely an OF, so again, we're adding a player who is equivalent or nearly so to what we already have on hand, and who doesn't offer Bowker's versatility, such as it is.

I don't get this one, sir.

Ron Ieraci said...

I'd guess they like the upside, Will, thought Indy is filled with those OF'ers - Presley, Wimberly, Hernandez, and Marte on the way.

Another thought is that they're trying to stockpile guys to deal down the road.

Whatever the reason, I'm glad to see a bona fide center-field type on the Pittsburgh roster. There is no top of the order cat now to give McCutch/Tabata a blow; Diaz and Overbay are hitting 2-3 tonight, and should be at 5-6.

WilliamJPellas said...

I just looked up Presley's stats, and he is on some kind of tear over the past season and a quarter, Ron. Did you know that last year in the minors, he had 53 extra base hits?! FIFTY THREE. Only 12 were over the wall, but he hit well over .300 and his OPS was over .860. That's really, REALLY getting it done, even if part of the year was at Double A.

He's picked up right were he left off, and is one of the top hitters in the International League, which unlike its Triple-A counterpart, the Pacific Coast League, is NOT known for inflating offensive statistics.

In short, while I was skeptical prior to last season, I am now a convinced believer in Presley. I think he deserves a shot as no worse than our fourth outfielder in Pittsburgh.

Ron Ieraci said...

Presley was a better choice, even from camp, than Bowker was, Will, as far as filling team need. Paul has plus speed and I gather that was the deciding factor.