If you missed it, and I’m sure you have not, the Pirates made it official today that Andrew Lambo would be joining the club in time for the start of this week’s series against the St. Louis Cardinals.
We all know the breakout season Lambo has had this year and when you couple that with the fact that the Pirates right fielders have combined to produce the worst offensive numbers of any right field combination in the National League, it leads to some pretty giddy fans.
But let’s take a step back here and actually look at Andrew Lambo. What should actually be expected from him?
There are a lot of things to like about Lambo. First off, he just turned 25 years old on Sunday. He is practically the same age as fellow Pirates Starling Marte and Tony Sanchez. It isn’t like we’re dealing with a 29-year-old minor league journeyman who is just having a career year mashing the ball. Lambo is still very much a prospect.
Second, Lambo has put up some very impressive numbers this year in ball parks that aren’t exactly “hitter friendly.” Altoona has a Park Factor of .962 (1.000 being average) and Indianapolis has a PF of 1.001. Lambo is doing what he is doing in ball parks that you normally don’t see this type of production in.
Third, Lambo comes from a good pedigree. He was a highly regarded prospect, ranking as high as 49th in all of baseball in 2009 and was a fourth round pick in the 2007 draft. He is someone who was expected to put up numbers like this.
There are also some red flags for Lambo.
So far this year he is striking out about 25% of the time. If you take someone who strikes out once every four at-bats in the minors and throw him into the majors, odds are that number is going to go up.
There are a lot of things that can be said about the time Lambo has spent in the minors. He may have been rushed to Double-A, where he debuted as a 19-year old. Surely, a 50-game suspension for testing positive to marijuana didn’t help his development when he was 21 and neither did injuries last season to his hand. The fact remains it took Lambo part of six seasons of Double-A ball before he mastered it.
As far as Lambo being a part of this club, I am 100% behind the decision to promote the guy. He has done what it takes to earn his spot in Pittsburgh and I certainly hope he can help the club because some production in right field sure would be nice. But I would also like to challenge you to find one single person in the history of baseball who played parts of six seasons in Double-A and ended up having a successful Major League career.
But let’s not worry about the career and future of Andrew Lambo right now. Let’s just hope he can continue his breakout season for another couple of months.