First Pitch: Off-Season Additions Haven’t Been That Bad Lately

I was going to talk about some of the free agent signings and update their stats. I was going to mention how Casey McGehee has shown occasional value with his bat lately, how Clint Barmes continues to struggle, and how Rod Barajas has been doing about what was expected out of him. But somewhere in the process of looking at the numbers my opinions changed on those three guys.

First of all, McGehee hasn’t shown occasional value. He’s been very consistent with his bat this month. McGehee is hitting for a .292/.358/.514 line in the month of June, which doesn’t include today’s game. That’s after he had a .190 average and a .531 OPS through May, mostly due to a bad month of May. He had a .710 OPS in April, and had that horrible .339 OPS in May, so we can’t assume this is legit. But for now it definitely kills any talk of bringing up Jeff Clement to replace McGehee in the lineup.

Barajas has been about expected, with a low average, low on-base percentage, some power, and an OPS near .700. On the defensive side he’s a leader that works well with the pitching staff. There’s no stat to quantify that, unless we want to go with CERA, but it’s hard to argue against the impact Barajas has made with the pitching staff this year, especially young starters like James McDonald.

Then there’s Clint Barmes. On the season he’s hitting for a .200 average and a .519 OPS. That is well below the numbers he’s put up in previous years. His defense has actually been good, after getting off to a slow start. He currently has a 9.4 UZR/150, which is just below his 10.8 UZR/150 from last year. I was going to talk about how poor the bat has been, but I noticed he’s got a .630 OPS in June. That’s still bad, but not as horrible as his .465 OPS through the end of May. If he can bump that OPS up a bit more, and continue playing strong defense, he could help as expected. He won’t help the offense much, but his defense will provide some value in the field.

Of course it was only a month ago that I was suggesting the Pirates bring up Jordy Mercer for a few starts a week at shortstop, cutting Casey McGehee, and giving Jeff Clement a shot. A lot has changed since then, and a lot can change between now and next month. So I won’t assume that these numbers are legit, and are what we’ll see the remainder of the season. But they are nice to see right now.

Links and Notes

**The Pirates beat the Phillies 5-4.

**Pirates Notebook: Tabata Getting Closer to Being Demoted.

**Prospect Watch: Starling Marte Has Another Big Night.

**Three Hit Night For Alen Hanson; Hafner Touches 94 MPH.

**Pirates Sign Jimmy Rider.

**Pirates Release Miles Durham.

**Cabrera, Cumpton, and Holt Named Eastern League All-Stars.

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About Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He is a credentialed media member with every team in the Pirates’ system, including the Pirates themselves. He’s a regular guest on Extra Innings on 104.7, and makes regular appearances on ESPN 970, 93.7 The Fan, and TribLIVE Radio in Pittsburgh, as well as ESPN 1430 in Altoona and ESPN 1450 in State College.
  • yepperbobknepper

    I have a hard time believing you wrote this with a straight face. Or if you did write it with serious intent, I have a hard time believing anyone takes you all that seriously.

    • http://www.piratesprospects.com Tim Williams

      Excellent counter analysis.

      • yepperbobknepper

        Credit the FO with a fine pitching staff. The hitters that have been acquired for 2012 have been awful.
        McLouth – terrible and gone
        Barmes has a .536 OPS thus far. Pre-ASG numbers in 2011 for Cedeno and Wood were .657 and .607
        Barajas has a .659 OPS. Pre-ASG numbers for Snyder and Doumit were .772 and .774.
        McGehee has .686 while playing primarily first base. Pre-ASG Jones was .768 in 2011 (.755 in 2012) and Pearce was .721.
        Offensively, this team downgraded at four positions – 4th OF, SS, C and 1B.

        • http://www.piratesprospects.com Tim Williams

          I agree with most of that. The one exception is that Barajas doesn’t have the offense of Doumit/Snyder, but his defense has been much better, which I’ll take.

          But I think you’re missing the key word in this article: Lately. I was pointing out that in June, these guys haven’t been that bad. Nothing beyond that.