A widely held belief in major league baseball is that anyone can play first base. The Pittsburgh Pirates have been doing an excellent job of disproving that theory for more than a decade. Pedro Alvarez is the latest butcher to don a 1B mitt for the Bucs. Alvarez switched positions to 1B this offseason. He is off to a very rocky start defensively. Pedro has already been credited with -5 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS). If Alvarez continues to play the position this poorly it will extend a long stretch of seasons in which bad 1B defense has cost the Pirates runs. Here are the number of Defensive Runs Saved by the First Basemen employed by the Pirates over the last 10 seasons:
Adam Laroche was a fairly competent 1B gloveman in his tenure with the team from 2007-2009, but otherwise the franchise has been plagued by brutal defense at the position. Maybe it is true that anyone can play first base, but that doesn’t mean they can play it very well.