Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Jose Tabata and Brad Lincoln Bolster the Bucs

posted by Jon Williams
Today the Pittsburgh Pirates may be taking a significant step into their future. Outfield prospect Jose Tabata and long-time pitching prospect Brad Lincoln will make their 2010 Major League debuts today against the Washington Nationals. Pirates fans deserve some good news after suffering through the much-hyped decimation of their lineup by Stephen Strasburg during his Major League debut last night.

Jose Tabata became famous as a New York Yankees prospect. It is quite possible that no one would recognize his name without that claim to fame. He was sent to Pittsburgh in exchange for Xavier Nady in 2008. Though he has not developed the power the Yankees expected he has strengthened other areas of his game. In 217 triple-A at-bats Tabata has a line of .323/.384/.442 with three homeruns. Tabata hits the ball on the ground more than 60 percent of his balls in play. That should explain his lack of power numbers. You cannot hit the ball out of the park if it rolls through the infield. He has 25 stolen bases this season and only 6cs so speed has become his game as far as fantasy owners are concerned. He still owns the power potential but it will take some serious re-working of his swing mechanics to bring it out. I expect the Pirates are not very interested in that kind of project. I expect Tabata will soon be owned in most leagues for his stolen base potential.

Brad Lincoln has not been the same pitcher since undergoing Tommy John Surgery in 2007. However, he has returned as a different but still effective pitcher. He has decent strikeout numbers in the minors (7.17 K9) but is far from elite. He is not a groundball pitcher (42.6 percent) but has done a decent job keeping the ball in the park. Lincoln was once considered a potential ace. He has not regained that sort of projection but it remains a possibility. I would suggest fantasy owners pick him up only if they are desperate for a good starter or have the room to stash him if he struggles.

The Pittsburgh Pirates are getting better by small degrees. They still have a long way to go.

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