The Pirates have gotten off to a good start this year, largely thanks to the entire starting rotation hitting the ground running right out of the gate (starters’ ERA: 3.12).
The offense however, still needs some work. Hard-hitting catcher Ryan Doumit is going to be out for a while following wrist surgery, and several other hitters, notably 3B Andy LaRoche and SS Jack Wilson, are battling through early season struggles at the plate.
But if the Pirates want to take advantage of a surprising young pitching staff, they are going to need to find a way to sneak some better bats into the lineup. It’s probably too early to give up on Wilson and LaRoche, but there is one glaring hole with an obvious in-house solution: rightfielder Brandon Moss (.597 OPS)
It amazes me that the Pirates still think Brandon Moss can hit in the major leagues. Nothing about his minor league record even remotely suggests that he will put up anywhere near the numbers expected of a corner outfielder in the big leagues.
Which means it’s time to dump Moss and bring up Andrew McCutchen, who is posting a .985 OPS at triple-A Indianapolis.
McCutchen, long touted as a top prospect, has seen his star fall a bit of late due to scouts’ disappointment with his failure to develop the power they expected of him. But McCutchen is still only 22 (compared to Moss’s 25), and still has time to develop some power.
Meanwhile, he has already shown some other useful tools, such as a good batting eye, gap power, 30+ stolen base speed, and plus defense in the outfield.
Granted the Pirates could really use another power hitter in their outfield rather than another speedy gap hitter (another team that should have signed Adam Dunn), but in the meantime there is no excuse to keep running a Brandon Moss out there when they have a major-league ready, vastly superior option like McCutchen languishing in AAA.