Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Making a Case for Jose Tabata

I am not a big fan of Jose Tabata. Like most Pirate fans I have been extremely disappointed in his play and not playing to the contract and salary he has... or.. is he?

Probably the most often issue with Jose is his defense. It isn't very good.... or.. is it?

Since 2012 Jose has played over 3,300 innings with 676 defensive chances and 3 errors. His career fielding percentage is .992. For a comparison, Mike Trout's fielding percentage is .991, Andrew McCutchen's is .988 and Starling Marte's is .968.

Jose can't hit!... or can he? Maybe?

Jose hit .299/.346./.400 his first year in 2010, in that year he struck out 57 times out of 441 plate appearances and 28 walks. Of his 121 hits that year only 29 where extra base hits. So yeah pretty much a singles hitter that makes some contact.

2011 and 2012 (especially 2012) where not nearly as good partially due to injury but also a typical 'sophomore slump' that happens to many young players. Jose hit .243/.315/.348 in 2012. Andrew McCutchen went .259/.364/.456 in his third full season and was named an All Star. Not as big of a drop off Jose had, but Andrew did play nearly everyday and didn't have any major injuries.

2013 Jose showed he was still the same as his rookie year at the plate getting going .282/.342/.429 and in 2014 a little worse because of much less playing time he did .282/.314/.333

In 2015 Spring after getting some tips from Marlon Byrd he was (and still is) driving the ball instead of dribbling and beating out throws. This will eventually lead to more extra bases for him. So far this spring at AAA Indianapolis he is hitting .338/.404/.388 but still only 3 extra base hits. Still a fairly small sample. But also shows he is not far off from where we extended him at and is still working to improve.

Jose cannot run... well he cannot run as fast as Marte.

This should say Jose cannot steal, at least much. Whatever happened he isn't as fast as he used to be. He still has some good quickness but clearly the speed isn't there any more. This shows in his steal attempts and range in the out field.

Jose's effort is just not there

I'm not sure if it is that or if it is something else.. but yeah he does have some mental lapses. Short hoping balls he should have caught, not running out plays, getting kissy lips tattooed on his neck all are pretty big mental lapses in my book.

Personally I think it has something to do with playing for a losing team, getting paid and just not caring. Ever since the Pirates started winning I noticed the way he approaches the game is a bit different.

There is no room for Jose on the Pirates roster.

But there is room for Andrew Lambo? The only reason Lambo got the roster spot is that he has played a few games at first base (he is not a first basemen) and he bats left. Interesting Fact. Jose hits righties better than lefties over his MLB career. It would be a true statement that the Pirates have the best starting out field in baseball and there is very little chance for him to get any significant playing time.

Jose is a Cancer in the dugout.

I cannot speak to this fact but there was talk about in spring. If true this would a good reason to just cut ties.. pay him his money and just get him out of the system. Similar to what happened to Jerry Sands after he was suspended for allegedly going after some fans in the stands. Interesting fact, Jerry Sands can hit for power and has played quite a few games at first.

Jose huge Contract is cumbersome... or.. no?

Jose's extension would be a great deal if he actually played. Through the 2014 season he has made roughly $9.2 million. He is making $4 Million this season and next season $4.5 Million. A total of around $20 Million for 6 years of work assuming the Pirates buy him out of his final 3 years. For you and I that is a lot of money. For a MLB out fielder who gets on base, it isn't horrible. For a 4th outfielder it isnt' very good and they 'grow on trees' but if he where starting it would be about right. $20 Million for the production given for 6 years was/is an acceptable risk.

Bottom Line

There is no place for Jose to start in Pittsburgh with out some massive injuries hitting the team. Pirates fans have a bad taste for Jose in general. He IS better than we give him credit for and probably should be on someone's 25 man if not starting left fielder (he plays better in left). If the Pirates eat a few million off the remaining 2015 and 2016 salary a team in fair need should at least give Huntington a call.