Pirates Claim Infielder Jake Elmore

The Pittsburgh Pirates have claimed infielder Jake Elmore from the Cincinnati Reds. With the move, the 40-man roster now stands at 36 spots full.

Elmore has played parts of the last three seasons in the majors, spending 2012 with the Arizona Diamondbacks, 2013 with the Houston Astros and 2014 with the Reds. In 87 games, the 27-year-old has a .221/.288/.291 slash line. Elmore still has one option left, so if he doesn’t make the Pirates out of Spring Training, he could be an infield depth option.

His main position is second base, but he can also play shortstop and outfield. Elmore has actually played more shortstop in the majors than any other position, but his minor league career heavily favorites second base. He has actually played all nine positions at some point in both the majors and minors. Elmore was drafted twice, signing with the Diamondbacks as a 34th round draft pick in 2008. In 666 minor league games, he has .290/.385/.388 slash line, though those numbers are skewed a bit by spending three years in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League.

At 5’9″, he doesn’t hit for much power, but has more walks than strikeouts during his minor league time and he can steal some bases. Twice, Baseball America has named him as the player with the best strike zone judgement. Once in 2010 for the entire Diamondbacks organization and in 2012 as the best in the Pacific Coast League.

John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.

When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.

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John Lease

More minor league trash, getting an undeserved 40 man roster spot. Some things just do not change for the Pirates. Jake Elmore hit exactly zero home runs all of last year, and after his power had spiked so hugely in 2013, with 5 in AAA and 2 in the majors. Obviously he is just SO valuable the Pirates had to gobble him up.

Lukas Sutton

Heh, using HRs to determine a players value. Nothing flawed with that at all…

John Lease

Right, because he is SO valuable. So, where do you rank players who can’t hit, not even the occasional homer? 40 man roster worthy, evidently.

StevePegues

Well, according to the above, he was twice ranked as having the best strike zone judgment. I’d say that’s a lot more valuable for a backup utility guy than HR’s. Those guys don’t typically play enough for the team to benefit from their power-hitting– assuming they are good at it. Think about it: even the best power hitters don’t usually hit a HR more than every 12 AB’s and a guy like Elmore is probably not gonna have 12 AB’s in a month, if that; however, he might manage to coax a walk or two in those 12 AB’s.

John Lease

Best strike zone judgment gets you what, exactly. A guy who knows how to take a walk. He can’t HIT though, but he’ll take his walks. And do we not already HAVE a AAA backup guy from the Indians? So this is a backup, to a backup. Super valuable there, gee I sure hope he doesn’t get snapped up by the Yankees…

StevePegues

A walk gets your team closer to scoring. It makes the pitcher work more and work from the stretch. It makes him concerned with stolen bases. It’s strongly correlated to increasing team scoring and increased winning. Dismiss it if you like, but it’s been conclusively proven.

Last year, they needed Barmes, Martinez, and Morel all as backups; seems like a smart thing to do is be prepared for that kinda problem, so next year it might be Elmore, Sellers, and even some others.

John Lease

Barmes was paid at least a million bucks last year. If you need the kind of depth beyond him, look to your own farm system. The need to drag these bums in is miniscule. If you have no one in your own farm system who can do this, your farm system is beyond suspect.

A team filled with guys who are trying to work a walk because they can’t HIT, isn’t any kind of recipe for success. Guys who CAN hit, and know how to take a walk, infinitely more valuable than guys who can’t, and yet can walk. Pirates need to get out of the dumpster, and make moves that are going to help the club.

StevePegues

They would look to their own farm system. However, Dean Anna, Chase d’Arnaud, Michael Martinez, Brett Morel, and maybe Rorert Andino aren’t in the farm system in 2015. They will be replaced by Sellers, Elmore, and others. Somebody’s gotta play defense in Indy and be ready to be called up if need be. There will probably be promoted guys from Altoona, too.

The rest of the Pirates lineup slugs quite well. They need complimentary players who get on base well. Maybe Elmore is one of those guys and maybe he isn’t. The idea isn’t that a guy like Elmore would be better if he could hit; no crap– he wouldn’t be minor league depth if he did that; he’d be a starter or a bench player. The idea is that a guy who is gonna get called on to contribute in very small sample sizes is more likely to contribute if he has very good strike zone discipline.

Signing Elmore and Sellers and others are not moves designed to help the club. They’re moves designed to fill spots in AAA that at least are a viable plan C or D in case injuries or something else goes wrong with plan A or B. Again, all teams do these sorts of things. This isn’t diving in the dumpster with the intent to replace Walker or Mercer or one of the starters.

SportOMania

Just because he is on the 40 man today dos not mean he will be at the deadline to protect players from the Rule V draft. They could waive him prior and hope he passes through waivers since all the other teams will also be crunching their rosters.

John Lease

Is he worth a spot? If not, don’t clutter up the roster with him. Gee, this turd should hopefully pass thru waivers. That means, he’s not worth it, to me.

Bob Fish

Wow, calling someone trash. You realize that if you are not the very best at your job we could justify calling you the same thing right?
“Some things just do not change for the Pirates.” You don’t think all teams pick up depth options in this manner?

John Lease

Yes, I was referring to how he treats his mother. Try deep breathing.

Bob Fish

Please, you can’t tell me that you can justify name calling in such a manner just because he is an athlete. Its just an excuse to be disrespectful.

John Lease

Oh dear. Jake Elmore sucking at hitting should bother you for a lot of other reasons. Only someone with panties twisted in a knot would think it refers to anything OTHER than his baseball playing abilities. Untwist, deep breaths, and maybe lower the shades and turn off the lights. I think you are having an attack of the vapors.

Bob Fish

Jake Elmore does not bother me. You bother me by treating his with disrespect in the form of name calling. I can see it is not possible to have a mature converstation with you at this point of your life as you just can’t accept responsibility for your own actions.

John Lease

By treating ‘his’ with disrespect? It should be ‘him’. So, work on your maturity in writing. And since you don’t get sarcasm, try to limit contact with the outside world.

Bob Fish

The ccontext of your statement regarding him as trash was sarcasm. You’re right it should have been him instead of his. Once again you did not take responsibility for your actions.

John Lease

Responsibility for my actions? Want me to change your diaper?

Bob Fish

lol. Riiiiiight, I’m the child. I’m the one spouting insults needlessly and calling people I don’t know names just because I can.

John Lease

Your chin seems to be trembling. Good thing yet another no hit infielder was claimed yesterday, they can all soothe you.

indybucfan

They have to dust off their “Nutting is cheap” talk.

StevePegues

Yeah… I hear every other MLB team has Ernie Banks and Cal Ripken as their AAA depth.

John Lease

And that’s the point I was making? No sarcasm needed.

StevePegues

Unless I missed it, your point was that Elmore is “minor league trash” that the Pirates “gobbled up” and gave a 40-man roster spot to because they’re stupid and/or cheap.

My point is that every single MLB team has minor league utility IF depth players that aren’t particularly good and that none of them have any All-Star caliber talent just hanging out in AAA. So maybe you need a does of perspective to temper the Pirates-are-stupid-for-signing-Elmore schtick.

John Lease

And, the Pirates already got that trash from the Indians. So he’s not even prime trash, more like something stuck on the bottom of the can. Pirates didn’t sign him, btw, they claimed him. Had they gone out and signed him as a minor league FA, no problem. But defending dumb moves schtick is really, really, tired.

StevePegues

He didya see that the Cards signed former Pirate castoff IF depth option Dean Anna to a major-league deal?. I guess the Pirate stupidity must be spreading.

Look around MLB: all teams make moves like this. The Pirates didn’t get Elmore because they’re cheap or stupid; they did it because running a ball club requires that you make these kinds of moves.

John Lease

Are you seriously equating the skill set of the Cardinals front office with the Pirates? Are you still trying to justify a SECOND no hit infield depth guy? You can’t remember the guy from the Indians? If two is great, why not three? See if they can swing a trade for Dean Anna.

StevePegues

I don’t know what you mean by equating.

I’m simply pointing out a concrete example that shows that other teams do, in fact, sign castoff, not-very-good, AAA depth players and give them roster spots– which is something that you think only the Pirates are stupid and/or cheap enough to do.

John Lease

And all straw man arguments aside? How about answering a question. Why have TWO no hit infield depth guys on the 40 man roster, when they are always available for almost nothing? And, are you equating the Cardinals front office with the Pirates? I don’t. They have a heck of a lot more to point to than the Pirates do.

StevePegues

I still don’t know what you mean by equating. I guess I’m not saying that the Cardinals are equal to the Pirates. I am saying that they both recently made a very similar move to acquire a minor league IF and put him on the 40-man roster.

Why have 2 of these guys on the roster? Because these two are available now and there’s room on the roster now, that’s why. IF depth guys are not always available– at least not ones with Sellers’s skillset (very good defense at muliple positions) and Elmore’s skillset (very good strike zone discipline). Not that Elmore and Sellers are anything good or special, but the guys who will later become available probably won’t have the exact same resume. If you want a guy like Sellers or Elmore, you might as well get him when he’s available and when you got space on the roster; if there’s roster space needed later, just outright them off the roster and it’s no big loss.

John Lease

Don’t fill up the roster with multiple copies of the same thing. One of these guys will do. Will both make it thru the whole offseason and remain on the roster thru spring training? I find that doubtful. Make a choice, take the one you like the best(and do your due diligence on their health), and move on. They also have 3 back up catchers on the 40 man roster. At least one will have to go, unless one of them becomes a starter. And since they traded Wilson for Cervelli, he better be at least one that stays.

Lee Foo Young

amazing isn’t it Steve? 🙂 🙂 🙂

dr dng

Ok, remind me again. How many days before we have to protect our key prospects
in the Rule 5 draft?

I would think we need many more than the four spots for players we want to protect from Rule 5 as well as space we need for signing or re-signing of free agents.

Sounds like we better be working on some trades quickly.

lonleylibertarian

How is this an upgrade fro D’Arnaud?

Lukas Sutton

Its an upgrade from Martinez, thus the point. Having more than 1 AAA filler type middle infielder comes in handy if injuries take out a few starters.

Andy Prough

He’s certainly going to have a hard time matching D’Arnaud’s 2012 OPS+ of -100.

db33

He only has a couple hundred ab’s in MLB often times it takes 1000 ab’s for a player to show their potential. He hit well in the minors so maybe he’ll breakout soon

dr dng

Good question….

StevePegues

Well, he was good enough to see 87 games in MLB; d’Arnaud wasn’t.

They’re both just different flavors of “not good enough to play, but maybe useful to have around if someone gets injured.”

I will never understand what d’Arnaud has done to earn this attachment that some fans have for him; the guy is pretty much a career minor-leaguer, but God forbid he gets replaced with some other, nearly-indistinguishable, career minor-leaguer.

emjayinTN

SP: Although he and Mercer were both college Shortstops, d’ was always thought by the Pirates as the SS to replace Cedeno. He was the SS and Mercer would play almost exclusively at 3B or 2B. Then in 2011 d’ had a solid year at AAA at the plate and fielded at .980 at SS. He got his shot in the majors and he bombed badly. At the same time, Mercer was having an excellent year at SS at AA. I think d’ was injured at the beginning of 2013 so Mercer became the starter at SS at AAA and hit over .300 and fielded very well in the first 25 or 30 games. He got his shot in the majors and made the most of it hitting .285 in over 300 AB’s with the Pirates and fielding in the .960’s at SS which was about as good as Barmes. That was really the end for d’Arnaud and it has just taken this long to drive the last nail in the coffin.

emjayinTN

Forgot to mention that in 2014 Jordy Mercer quietly became one of the Top 10 SS in the majors, IMO, when you look at the whole package of hitting and defense – there are a lot of better hitters and a lot of better fielders, but together, he is Top 10

Lee Foo Young

Steve…but d’Arnaud was an AWESOME pinch runner. 🙂 🙂

freddylang

This guy’s name has always killed me. He’s a soul man. I know it’s Elwood but it’s close enough for me.

Lee Foo Young

freddy…I agree.

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