I’ve been finishing up the profiles in the 2015 Prospect Guide over the last week, getting ready to send the book to the publisher on Friday. In the process, I’ve noticed a bit of a roster crunch in the upper levels when it comes to first base. The Pirates currently have more first base and outfield options than they have positions in Altoona and Indianapolis. A few of the prospects who will play in the upper levels are Rule 5 eligible on Thursday. And with the news that the Sean Rodriguez deal will be completed on Thursday with a Rule 5 eligible guy likely going the other way, I can’t help but wonder if one of these extra guys might be on the move by the end of the week. Here is the rundown of each position.
Indianapolis: Stetson Allie, Andrew Lambo
Altoona: Josh Bell, Jose Osuna
Bell should get time at first base in Altoona, while Osuna is expected to move up from Bradenton, especially with Edwin Espinal moving to Bradenton. Osuna could get time as a designated hitter, or play in left field to get regular playing time. He doesn’t have a future in left field, but that gives him potential at-bats.
Bell and Osuna should push Allie to Indianapolis, despite strikeout issues and a low average in Altoona. Andrew Lambo could also factor into the first base role, since the outfield projects to be crowded. Designated hitter isn’t really an option, since that will probably be taken by either Elias Diaz or Tony Sanchez, depending on which hitter isn’t catching that day. As for the outfield…
Indianapolis: Mel Rojas, Gorkys Hernandez, Jaff Decker
Altoona: Keon Broxton, Willy Garcia
The Pirates currently have Rojas, Hernandez, and Decker projected for their outfield, with Broxton and Garcia pushing from Altoona. Of the two, Broxton looks to be more likely to make the jump to Indianapolis. There’s not really room for Lambo in the outfield, and there’s not room for him and Allie at first base/DH due to the catching situation.
As I mentioned above, Osuna could move to a different position or play DH, which would allow everyone to get playing time in Altoona. As for Indianapolis, if the Pirates decide to carry five outfielders (which means no first base platoon), they could call up one of Decker, Lambo, or Rojas and everyone else would have a spot.
This is just speculation, but it seems like the easiest solution would be to deal one of the Rule 5 guys from this crunch. There are more options than roster spots, and none of the Rule 5 eligible players are close to untouchable. I had Osuna, Allie, Rojas, and Broxton as guys who were notable from the eligible players in the draft. Osuna and Allie are limited to first base, and are behind Bell on the depth chart. Rojas and Broxton have fourth outfield upside, which is the same upside as Hernandez and Decker. These are the types of guys you deal to get an upgrade at the Major League level.
We’ll see how it plays out on Thursday, but as I was writing those profiles over the last week, I couldn’t help but think that something has got to give with the playing time for all of the above players.
Links and Notes
**The Prospect Guide will be sent to the publisher on Friday, and will be released at some point next week. In order to guarantee that your copy goes out in the first shipment, your order needs to be placed by Friday morning. You can pre-order the book here.