The Pirates made a trade today with Texas, swapping pitcher Miles Mikolas for Rangers 1B Chris McGuiness. McGuiness got his first taste of the big leagues in 2013 collecting 34 ABs during a June call up with the Rangers. He is a left handed hitting 1B who will turn 26 years old at the start of next season. You can add him to the list of suspects along with Travis Ishikawa and Andrew Lambo that will compete to be the left handed hitting platoon mate of Gaby Sanchez.
At this point it seems as if the Pirates are content with addressing the 1B position with quantity instead of quality. They are buying up as many $1 scratch off lottery tickets as they can and hoping one of them hits. If the plan for first base is to find some AAAA poop to stick to the wall they might as well throw more than just three turds at it. So let’s look at some of the other potential turds…I mean targets the Pirates can look at to join this 1B competition.
- Jordan Lennerton: Bats LH/Throws LH – The 27 year old Lennerton has been in the Tigers organization since 2008. The Tigers did add him to their 40 man roster this winter. He has been a consistent performer, posting an OPS over .800 in each of his last five minor league seasons. He is a patient hitter that draws a lot of walks. Lennerton is also said to be good defensively. He was named top defensive first baseman in the Eastern League by Baseball America in 2012. I’d rather have this guy than Chris McGuiness.
- Vince Belnome: Bats LH/Throws RH – The 25 year old Belnome is more of a utility player than a true 1B. He came up through the Padres organization as a 3B/2B. He just started getting playing time at 1B in 2011. Last year Belnome played in the Rays organization at AAA Durham. Roughly half of his playing time last years was spent at 1B. This guy can hit minor league pitching. Not a ton of power but he is an on base machine. His career minor league OBP is .412 with an OPS of .889. At just 5’11″ Belnome is kind of vertically challenged to be playing 1B.
- Jeff Clement: Bats LH/Throws RH – My mistake. These are supposed to be AAAA players, not AAAa players.
- Ben Paulsen: Bats LH/Throws RH – Paulsen is a 26 year old 1B in the Rockies organization. In 2013 he posted a triple slash line of .292/.345/.523 in 123 games with AAA Colorado Springs of the Pacific Coast League.
- Brandon Allen: Bats LH/Throws RH – Brandon Allen is a true AAAA player. He has appeared in the major leagues with three different clubs, last appearing in 2012 with the Rays. In 389 plate appearance at the major league level he has an .665 OPS. Last year he played in the Padres organization posting an .825 OPS at AAA Tucson.