Pittsburgh Pirates Final Term Report Card: Grading The Corner Infielders


In this second part of the Pirates grades I examine the corner infielders and how they performed throughout the season. As a note, Andrew Lambo and Brent Morel were not included in these grades.

Ike Davis

The Pirates were looking for a good first baseman and after this season still are. Davis did not provide the consistent improvement the team was looking for. The book on Davis was that he was streaky, similar to Alvarez, and this proved to be correct.

Davis hit 11 home runs on the season. His defensive WAR (-1.4) and Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR) of 2.367 were both career lows. Davis’ best month by far was May when he batted .326. Davis’ other months (in order) for batting average were .204, .183, .234, .214 and .204. This was his job for the taking and Davis failed to accomplish that, to the point that the Pirates slid Alvarez over to first for a three-headed platoon.

To Davis’s credit he tried several approaches at the plate. He started out with an aggressive mindset where he swung at the first pitch. For the first three games, Davis got five hits in 13 at-bats but then failed to get a hit in his next seven games. Davis had an overall WAR of -0.2 which means a replacement player was slightly more valuable than he was.

Second half grade: C-
Overall: C-

Gaby Sanchez

I was led to believe that this first-base platoon situation was because Sanchez was a good defender and could hit well against lefties. The results? A .256 batting average against lefties and a -0.9 defensive WAR.

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Sanchez had good offensive months in May (.302) and August (.282) but struggled the rest of the season (.220, .211, .152, .200, in order).

Sanchez’s effort this season was about as good as the energy bar Russell Martin gave him that ended up being spit out – mostly wasted. What a shame.

Second half grade: D+
Overall: C-

Pedro Alvarez

Defensively, Alvarez picked right back up where he left off and finished with 25 errors, most of them of the throwing variety. Offensively, Alvarez had months of .206 and .208, and also struck out 28 percent of the time.

Alvarez was moved to first base for five games just to eliminate the sloppy play at third base. I believe it’s mental and he will have to beat those demons as he wants to stay at third. Now the ball is in his court to get it together.

Second half grade: D
Overall: D+

Josh Harrison

I was confused about where to put Harrison but since he started the most of his games at third base (72), he fit in the corner infield mold. The only problem I have with Harrison is that he needs to pay a bit more attention on the base paths, as he got picked off a few times. Defensively, Harrison had a WAR of 1.4 and overall it was 5.3.

Harrison hit .345 against lefties and .307 against pitcher. Hitting coach Jeff Branson made him believe in himself as a hitter and the results showed. It would not surprise me if Harrison gets a few MVP votes. His resilience perfectly personifies the Pirates.

Second half grade: A
Overall: A