Expect Kang to Get Time at Shortstop; Don’t Expect Mercer to Lose His Job

Day two of the pitchers and catchers portion of Spring Training is in the books. These are workout days, and nothing is really going on of great importance on the field. Most of the discussions with Clint Hurdle at the end of the day are either reviewing what happened the previous year with specific players, or talking about the role the new guys will play. I took a lot of photos today, which can be found here. As for Hurdle’s comments, here are the highlights, with the video below.

**Hurdle talked about how the Pirates got to the point where they became a good fastball hitting team. As a result, they’ve seen fewer fastballs from opposing teams. “It goes by the numbers. People stop throwing you fastballs for a reason.” The Pirates saw 34% fastballs last year, which was 22nd in the majors. Only three NL teams saw fewer fastballs.

**For the second day in a row, Hurdle was asked about Jung-ho Kang. This time around he added a very important note about Jordy Mercer: “We had a shortstop that played very well last year in Jordy Mercer.” If you’re thinking Kang has a shot to win the shortstop job, then you’re ignoring how much the Pirates like Mercer. Most of the arguments in favor of Kang only consider his offense, which means those arguments are also ignoring how much the Pirates favor defense at shortstop. The only way I see Mercer losing the shortstop job is if his defense seriously declines from last year, or if Kang’s defense is much better than advertised.

**Hurdle recapped what went well for Josh Harrison last year. He noted that Harrison could still move around the field to refresh. As I pointed out in my depth charts earlier in the week, that will probably depend on how well Kang is playing, since there aren’t many other options who can play third base if Harrison goes to another position.

**Hurdle declined to go into depth about Tyler Glasnow, noting that it was too early in the process to give that type of opinion. He did say that entrance interviews will start on Monday.

**For Hurdle’s comments on Francisco Cervelli, check out my video feature on Cervelli.

Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.

Support Pirates Prospects

Related articles

join the discussion

Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

“Most of the arguments in favor of Kang only consider his offense, which means those arguments are also ignoring how much the Pirates favor defense at shortstop.”

-Said about a thousand people before Jordy Mercer took over for Clint Barmes.


said by more than that- but that was before we realized Mercer COULD play better defense and we came to grips that Barmes is one of the worst offensive shortstops in the game who played more than 50 games per year since 2010


My point exactly.

I find it a bit odd that folks are assuming Kang will be a downgrade defensively from Mercer because of scouting reports from people who also said Mercer couldn’t play the position.


Learning how to cope with a reduction is fast balls seen will be important for Alvarez.


We already saw it- he can’t hit. He might as well start broadcasting school IMO unless he magically learned pitch recognition during the offseason


Makes too much sense to spot Starling Marte in front of him. 50 stolen bases wouldn’t be a surprise with all the deep counts and breaking balls Alvarez will see.


I think I agree with your logic but here’s why I’m not totally sure: it might be a waste of martes speed to have the guy behind him be a power hitter who doesnt put the ball in play a lot. Doesn’t matter how fast you are when it’s a home run or strike out.


here is what i expect


this lineup works and sandwhiches a guy who cant hit lefties with players who CRUSH lefties, it makes teams run through bullpens fast. If a pitcher brings in a lefty to face walker, he can’t leave him in to pitch to marte unless they are crazy. which means they leave a righty in to pitch to walker, bring in the lefty for alvarez, then have to bring in another righty for mercer. Its genius

Joe Sweetnich

The only way jordy losses his job is if mercer is really bad.


1st time opening one of the videos. Love it!


Phillies need a shortstop


So, now that Snyder is gone, does he become Murcer?


Who is Murcer? We have Mercer.

Lee Foo Young

Snider is gone…we never had Snyder. 🙂


…or Murcer.


It’s spelled schnydyr!!!


The Phillie need just about everything including a GM.

Lee Foo Young

A new GM is the most important.


Comment of the day. 🙂


Why can’t rodriguez play third? He doesn’t hit well enough to be a great option there but I don’t see why he can’t fill in for a few games if needed. I’d imagine he hasn’t played there before because tampa had longoria there.

Lee Foo Young

SeanRod can play all over the field. Last year, he played every position but CF and P.

Share article

Pirates Prospects Daily

Latest articles

Pirates Prospects Weekly

MONDAY: First Pitch

TUESDAY: Article Drop


THURSDAY: Roundtable

FRIDAY: Discussion

SATURDAY: Pirates Draft Report

SUNDAY: Pirates Business

Latest comments