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Andrew Lambo gets the call. What took so long? And what can we expect?

SOUTH HILLS COMMAND CENTER – I can hear the collective calls echoing in the South Hills today. The chorus goes something like this: “It’s about time.”

 

Many of you have wanted to see Andrew Lambo on the Pirates’ roster. Many have wanted to see someone, anyone, other than who the Pirates have played in right field this season. The Pirates right fielders have combined to produce a .662 OPS this season, which ranks ahead of only lowly Houston in baseball.

 

Well, he’s arrived. The club announced today that Lambo will be called up Tuesday for the St. Louis series. (The Pirates have not announced a corresponding roster move, that is expected to come Tuesday.)

 

The Pirates face three right-handed Cardinals pitchers in the series: Adam Wainwright, Shelby Miller and Lance Lynn. 

 

Lambo is left-handed.

 

Welcome, to The Show, kid.

 

Lambo is tied for the minor league lead with 31 home runs. He’s tied for third in RBI (97) and extra-base hits (60). Yes, he strikes out (123 Ks in 117 games), but he walks and he can even hit lefties: .908 OPS vs. left-handed pitching in Triple-A, .953 OPS vs. right-handed pitching.

 

So what took so long?

 

I think one of the Pirates’ primary concerns are the strikeouts. If a player is striking out in 24 percent of his at bats at the Triple-A level, he could be pushing 30 percent at the major league level.

 

The walk rate and averages will tick down against the highest levels of competition.

 

If Alex Presley is sent down. If Travis Snider doesn’t get right. If Lambo were to become platoon fixture, the Pirates are likely concerned about adding more swing-and-miss to a lineup that already has too much swing-and-miss. He’s probably not a defensive asset either, though PNC Park’s smaller right field hides that to a degree. Speed is not part of his game.

 

I get that.

 

I understand the flaws.

 

This is a player who has spend parts of six minor league seasons at the Double-A level.

 

But at some point,the power has to get a chance to play, especially with the short right-field porch at PNC Park.

 

Thirty-one home runs are 31 home runs. Perhaps only Pedro Alvarez and Andrew McCutchen will have more power with Lambo is in the lineup. The Pirates need more punch in the lineup and there’s no one else who can provide immediate help, internally. Check back on Gregory Polanco in June 2014. But for now, Lambo is the only real internal option who can provide legit power.

 

Lambo deserves a shot, but expectations should be curbed. This was his preseason weighted PECOTA forecast: .229 AVG, .283 OBP, .359 SLG

 

That will curb your enthusiasm.

Lambo is not the kind of guy who is going to solve all of the Pirates’ offensive woes. But he has enough power in his bat to change a game or two with one swing, and that’s worth taking a chance on in a season where one or two games can mean a lot.

 

- TS

Comments

  1. Jerry Bevil says:

    I will take it. What I see in RF now is junk. Nothing wrong in trying another option.

  2. Chuck H says:

    You didn’t mention how good he is with RISP, but we couldn’t get any worse than what we have right now. I don’t know what Pedro’s strikeout percentage rate is but I’m sure it’s worse than Lambo’s. And it is good that Lambo can hit the leftys. It is unfortunate that he wasn’t brought up sooner so that he could have progressed a little further before the Cardinal series. GO, LAMBO & BUCS!!!

  3. Chuck H says:

    I’m sorry, he must be pretty good with runners on base because he has 97 RBIs.

  4. displaced bucco says:

    Any ideas where to bat lambo? Play sanchez more @ 1st – bat him 5th & lambo 6th – then martin & then the shortstop? Currently we are batting martin 5th & he is not a #5 hitter.

  5. RobertoForever says:

    After enduring the #FreeHague last year and #FreePresley, #FreeJHay and #FreeSanchez this year, my expectations are tempered. And Andrew gets to faced St Louis on the road right out of the gate.

    Hope he succeeds, planning on nothing.

    Go Bucs!

  6. RobertoForever says:

    haha, true enough. Actual stats for Triple-A was .358 for RISP.

  7. leefoo says:

    Unlike those other guys, Lambo actually has some pedigree. He was once the Dodgers’ #1 prospect, and if not for his maturity issues, would probably still be a Dodger.

    So, there is that.

    Foo

  8. leefoo says:

    Lambo is gonna be great!!!

    I hear Bill Bratski tells Andrew Lambo stories!!!

    :)

    Foo

  9. NorthPirateFan says:

    Here’s a slightly different take on the question(s) hmmm, what should we expect? Well given Clint Hurdle’s track record we might reasonably expect Andrew Lambo to spend most of whatever time he’s up with the team sitting on the bench, maybe getting a pinch hit opportunity or two and not much more.

    No reflection on Lambo mind you, he might very well provide some power from the left side that the Pirates need but Clint Hurdle hasn’t really shown with his lineups thus far that he understands that need or the value it provides.

    Really it’s kinda funny to hear the Pirates expressing concern over Lambo’s strike outs when they have no problem with a leadoff hitter who has virtually the same number but half as many walks and not nearly the power. Oh yeah I forgot, his defense makes up for that 1 : 4.9 BB to K ratio and the .716 OPS against RHP. /sarcasm

  10. buggee says:

    Give him an honorary shuttlecock and laud him as the new savior of the franchise

  11. Nate83 says:

    You are correct in saying Hurdle has not thrown many into the fire when brought up but when injuries play a role he has. Holt played almost every game last year when Walker was out. Presley got sent down today so I have to imagine until Marte is ready it will be Tabata and Lambo everyday and then Lambo still gets the nod over Tabata after that. I like Tabata but I think right now they want somebody hitting for extra bases. Lambo has done that 60 times this year with 31 going over the fence. I think he gets 8-10 games to show he can do it up in the majors.

  12. John Diulus says:

    2 thoughts about the Bucs from yesterday:
    1. I AM glad to see Lambo in a Bucs uni. He deserves a shot. Unfortunately for him, however, most of us need to remember that Lambo is not a vet who was acquired via trade to boost our sub-4/runs/game which – in my opinion – could have the Bucs with close to 80 wins TODAY,based upon our outstanding pitching, if the team avg runs per game was just at 4! But back to Lambo…we gotta remember that this guy has been in minors so long, my feeling is that his emotional status is going to be even more unstable than most “prospects.” He has got to asking himself what we are all asking ourselves: will his minor league hitting translate to the major league level. With this written, we may have to wait 20 or 30 AB till he even begins to gain some confidence. And yes, this may be 30 games that we don’t have, but there really is no way around this short of a Bucs suitor finding a way to get a legit bat all the way to the Bucs position in the waiver “line” for us to pull off a much needed trade (more on this in a moment). Lambo WILL need some time, but I’m betting that if we give it to him w/o pounding him in the social media and blogs it will pay off come September. But in the mean time, the Bucs desperately need to acquire a legit bat – and soon. One often hears the term “heart breaking loss” used in sports. I’m suggesting that the Bucs loss last night to the Cards was the real deal: A TRUE HEART HREAKING LOSS! The kind if loss which can send a team on the verge of a division win spinning off in to losing more games than it wins for weeks!! The Bucs need to pick themselves up from last night – and fast – or we may be leaving St. Louis tied for 1st place instead of leading the Central. I am one believer who feels that Alex Rios was on his way to the Bucs – a deal in place – till the Rangers surprised both the Bucs and CWS and claimed him off of waivers. I can’t believe that CWS would have ever planned to give Rios up for a mere 1 mil and a PTBNL! No way. If not for Rangers, I’m betting Rios would have been in RF for Bucs last night. This is not to say that I was ever in favor if the deal. Rios numbers pretty much mirror G.Jones numbers. I think that it would have been a bad move and if the Bucs are going to give up a prospect this August, it should be for a bat which is much better than the one belonging to Rios. I hope that something can still be worked out – somewhere, with some team. This trade season has me so off balance, I can’t even predict clearly who would be best fit for Bucs of the players who could be available bi am just sure that the Bucs NEED to find an available bat – and soon. If that heart breaker last night does indeed send the Bucs reeling, we will need a boost as soon as we can get it. THE BUCS MUST RAISE THEIR RUN PRODUCTION TO AT LEAST 4/runs per game for remainder of season. Our outstanding pitching staff DOES have what it takes to carry us in to off-season, but anyone following Bucs can see that it is begining to show signs of getting a but winded. A few more runs per series would take CONSIDERABLE pressure off if this staff and put the Bucs right back on track for a possible Wirld Series appearance. If we remain at sub-3.5/runs/game, I really do fear that this 1st heart breaking loss of the season may lead to a few more!

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