On Wednesday night in Venezuela, Jose Osuna played his first game at any level of pro ball at third base. It was a quiet night on defense, with just one ground ball hit his way, which he handled cleanly. He has been taking grounders off and on all year, starting back during the early stages of Spring Training and continuing through the end of the regular season. Osuna went 1-for-4 with an RBI single and through four games, he is 3-for-15, with a double and a walk.
Elvis Escobar began the game on the bench, before coming in as a defensive replacement in right field during the fourth inning. He batted twice, striking out and walking. He’s hitting .261/.312/.313 in 34 games.
In the Dominican, Starling Marte went 1-for-4 with a single and an outfield assist. He’s hitting .190/.238/.345 through 16 games.
Pablo Reyes went 0-for-2 with two walks. He has reached base safely ten times in his last four games. Reyes is hitting .260/.345/.329 through 24 games.
Jung-Ho Kang was a healthy scratch the last two days before returning on Wednesday. He went 1-for-4 with two strikeouts. He’s hitting .143/.219/.202 through 24 games.
Anderson Feliz went 2-for-4 with a double. He’s hitting .275 through 21 games, with three doubles, two triples and one homer.
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.
John, how well do you think Osuna projects as a full time 3B man for the Bucs? He plays a good 1B and has a good arm. Could he be a less powerful Sano? What WAR would you project if he won the full time job?
I wouldn’t project him as a possible full-time third baseman. The defense will be below average, he isn’t going to get on base a lot because he doesn’t draw walks and he’s a below average runner. You could get more value at third base from someone like Adam Frazier or Max Moroff because they’re more rounded players. They may not hit for the power, but their flaws aren’t as big.
Except for the below average speed and defense, he’s a much different player than Sano. The walks, strikeouts and homers are all going to be much lower.
I hadn’t thought of Frazier as a 3B candidate. Does he have much of a history playing there? He would be atypical, but it would be nice to see his bat at the leadoff position. Moroff has displayed the more typical 3B power. But if he is a fit why didn’t the Bucs play him there more often last year?
Frazier has a rag arm, forget about it.
I think the Pirates are just looking for a placeholder at 3B and you could see Frazier there occasionally, along with Moroff, Rodriguez and even Harrison. Freese will see the most time. If Osuna is serviceable, then he could play there as well. It all matters how Ke’Bryan Hayes handles this season in AA, but I haven’t seen anything to make me worry about his future. He will at least be Gold Glove caliber and get on base, even if the power doesn’t come.
You want me to answer why Moroff didn’t play 3B more often? I want to know why Moroff didn’t play more in general. Same goes for Osuna and Hanson before they gave him away. Why didn’t Glasnow start every five days after he was recalled? Why didn’t they recall Kingham? I can’t answer those..at least not with acceptable answers that I think make sense.
It is called John Jaso syndrome.
I hear you!
Also John, since Kramer did so well defensively in the AFL at SS, is he a candidate for 3B? His bat might play well there, and we have a lot of other 2B candidates.
I think the Pirates are saving third base for Ke’Bryan Hayes, who could be there during the 2019 season if all goes well. You’re going to see better things from Hayes this upcoming year on offense. He is going into the off-season healthy, which will allow him to fill out some, plus the move away from the pitcher-friendly FSL will make a difference.
You are assuming that the Pirates will not sign a 36 or older year old vet to a 4 year contract so that Hayes will be a “failure”. I understand that Joe Randa is available.
That would be wonderful if Ke’s bat ignites! Certainly his defense is beyond reproach. But the Pirates don’t mind stacking talent and creating competition at other positions, say SS. Why hold 3B for any player?
Kramer isn’t going to get to the majors long before Hayes, so why teach him a new spot for what might be a 1/2 season? He might play some third base eventually, but that would likely mean they see him more as a utility player. Hayes might not be that far away. His defense alone would allow him to slide right in there, but they aren’t going to go that route.
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