Now that Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman Neil Walker has returned from the disabled list, Pirates’ manager Clint Hurdle is faced with a tough decision.
Who is going to be his everyday shortstop?
On the surface that would be an easy call as Jordy Mercer appears to have done enough to keep getting a long look, but don’t forget about Clint Barmes.
Now that’s not exactly what most Pirates’ fans want to hear, but Barmes has done enough as of late to earn more time in the starting lineup.
Overall Barmes is still struggling with the bat, hitting only .220 on the season with a paltry .558 OPS. But in the month of July Barmes has performed rather nicely, hitting at a .303 clip with an OPS of .774 (before action on Tuesday night).
Mercer on the other hand hasn’t exactly been lighting the world on fire since being handed the starting job.
His overall numbers look a little nicer, hitting .267 on the season with a .713 OPS. He also has the ability to drive the ball and has a little more power than Barmes. But this month he is only hitting .228 and that OPS has dropped to .553.
Mercer has heated up as of late going 5-for-12 in his last three games, but he must keep hitting to make any case of staying in the lineup.
Barmes brings a better glove to the table and if he’s hitting then it is almost a no-brainer that he should be given more starts.
Hurdle indicated that we could see a little bit more of Barmes in the near future, which is likely a smart move.
How much more we will see of him will likely be dependent on Mercer. He still has the opportunity to hold onto the job for now. We will see if he takes advantage of it.
At any case, if he is performing well, it is nice to have a guy like Barmes to turn to in a pinch if he is needed.