The Legend

The Legend

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Jordy Mercer

Is Jordy Mercer the shortstop of the future?  Unfortunately, it's still probably too early to answer this question.  But, there was reason for optimism last season.  In 365 plate appearance, Mercer was able to hit .285/.336/.435 to go along with 8 homeruns and 22 doubles which actually stacks up well against NL shortstops with a minimum of 350 plate appearances (as seen here).  A promising start, but given the small sample size, can he sustain over a full season of play?  His BB% was considered below average and his .330 BABIP might suggest some regression is on the horizon.  Perhaps due to some of these factors, the projections for 2013 are not terribly optimistic.  But despite a less than favorable outlook for the upcoming season, I still think there is a case to be made for Mercer as a viable option at short for the Pirates going forward.  For comparison, we are going to look to the right side of the Pirates infield. 
In 2010, Neil Walker made his debut as second baseman for the Bucs after spending nearly six years in the minors falling from top prospect to a guy who was being looked at as super utility player.  After being called up, Walker went on to hit .296/.345/.462 in 469 plate appearances (seen here).  Like Mercer, his BB% and BABIP suggested regression, and many were unsure if Walker could sustain his early success.  But, as Matt wrote just the other day, Walker has continued to build on his early success and has become a solid if unspectacular player, and big part of the Pirates lineup.  Let's say Mercer is able to improve his BB% as Walker has continued to do since his rookie season, he too may be able to ease the regression that may come in other areas of his game.   
Now, this isn't a perfect comparison.  After all, Mercer was never considered to be the caliber of prospect that Walker was. But, considering how pricey a free agent shortstop can be (see Jhonny Peralta), the Pirates might do well to see what they have in Mercer, and if Mercer's upside turns out to be a poor man's Neil Walker, the Pirates could certainly do a lot worse.   

The above card is from the new Panini America's Pastime set and is numbered to 10.


  1. I'm worried about his defense. He needs to earn some goodwill amongst the management in order for him to get more at bats. Right now he will continue to sit with our groundball pitchers on the mound.

  2. That's definitely the one part about his game I left out of this post. His defense is holding him back, but hopefully he can follow Walker in this aspect of his game as well.

  3. Our starting infield has to be one of the worst in baseball. Puts in perspective how much our defensive shifts help.

  4. I have one of those /10 Mercer cards too. I think he's going to be a great part of the Pirates improved offense in 2014. I also think Lambo is going to provide more than GI Jones did last year. 2014 season will be Buc'N awesome!!!

    1. I'm pumped for some baseball. Jordy is a tough guy to predict. My buddy Micah wrote this post and looked into it pretty hard. He came out being a little worried, but was hopeful he would develp in a Neil Walker type. As long as we don't have to watch Clint Barmes hit we will be ok.