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Keeper Lenses: Rookie Swashbucklers

The Pirates have promoted four players this year who will play a big part in their future. How have they done so far, and what is their keeper value going forward? Below are my rankings of the four, from the best keeper to the worst.

Pedro Alvarez | 3B | First Game: June 16th
Alvarez has been mashing this week, hitting four homers in the past two days, including a grand slam on Tuesday. He has admitted that he needed to get in a groove, and it looks like he’s done it during July. His LD rate for the month is much better than it was in June, and while striking out 30% of the time isn’t good, it’s better than the 47.8% mark he put up in June. Sure, his BABIP is high this month, but he’s not a .340 hitter, either. I see Alvarez as a .275-.280 hitter who provides good pop, and that’s good enough for a spot on my roster. If you didn’t believe me on Tuesday morning, you lost out on some great games, but you can still pick him up for the rest of the season and hold onto him.

Neil Walker | 2B | First Game: May 25th
Walker has performed very well since being called up, but still has many things to work on. While his BABIP is 60 points higher than we’d expect, he’s still mashing the ball (23% line drives), leading to a .314 batting average. He hasn’t shown the power production that he had in the minors, but is continuing his recent minor league trend of stealing a couple of bases. He won’t be an empty average guy for long, and could push for your 2B slot in standard leagues next year.

Jose Tabata | OF | First Game: June 9th
Tabata’s numbers have been pretty close to our expectations, and he should only get better. His BABIP may be over the .300 mark, but should actually be 35 points higher thanks to his speed and tendency to keep the ball out of the air. He’s already flashed good speed on the basepaths, stealing 9 bases (13 attempts) in 158 plate appearance. He doesn’t strike out much, and has shown an above-average walk rate. I like him a lot as a steals guy, but I’m not a fan of keeping guys just because they can steal bases.

Brad Lincoln | SP | First Game: June 9th
I’ll be blunt; Lincoln has not been good. Not at all. He’s not striking guys out or getting ground balls, making him a sitting duck. No one has been fooled by his stuff, and he needs to go back to the minors. Not a viable keeper unless you are in the deepest of leagues.

Thanks to Evan Lynch for this article’s inspiration.