The Pirates are really hard to watch right now. It’s not really anyone’s fault, but with both catchers and Pedro Alvarez on the disabled list, plus Neil Walker, the unholy right field trinity, Lyle Overbay, and Ronny Cedeno all struggling, Andrew McCutchen spends most nights looking like Honus Wagner on the 1908 Pirates.
If the Pirates are going to throw seven of every nine at-bats away, it’s time to at least throw those ABs away with young players in the lineup. I was ambivalent about calling Alex Presley up earlier in the year, but there’s just no excuse to have him in Triple-A right now. In 131 Triple-A games over the last two years, he’s hit .317/.370/.491 with 27 doubles, 10 triples, and 14 homers. I don’t know if he’ll hit .317 in Pittsburgh (I tend to doubt it) and if he doesn’t his stat line will take a hit, but he’s earned a chance to be out there against righties every day. There’s no one playing well enough to keep him out of the Majors anymore.
Same goes for Chase D’Arnaud. When Josh Harrison was struggling last week, I tweeted that I’d rather see Walker at third and D’Arnaud at second than anything the Pirates are trotting out there right now. Harrison’s hitting a bit better in his last few games, though, and I think he deserves a chance to get some at-bats, but D’Arnaud is killing the ball in Indy right now. His season line is up to .286/.356/.437 and he’s hitting .336 since the start of May. He can spell Harrison at third, he can get at-bats at short, he can play second against tough lefties while Walker’s struggling. I’d even say it’s time to get Eric Fryer up, but I think that Huntington has a fair point about him needing to get some time behind the plate.
There’s not really any guarantee that Presley and D’Arnaud will be better than what the Pirates have right now or that either of them will be productive every day Major Leaguers, but with the lineup the Pirates are trotting out right now it’s time to get some young guys up here and figure out what they can do.