After Jose Tabata's Injury, Pittsburgh Pirates Have Decisions to Make

Ryan GauleCorrespondent IApril 16, 2014

Pittsburgh Pirates' Travis Snider (23) bats during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Chicago Cubs in Pittsburgh Thursday, April 3, 2014. The Cubs won 3-2.(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Gene J. Puskar

Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Jose Tabata left Wednesday's game against the Cincinnati Reds after making a spectacular catch and crashing into the wall. 

Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported through Twitter that Tabata showed signs of a mild concussion, meaning he will likely miss at least a few games for the Pirates. 

With Tabata out, right fielder Travis Snider will likely see more playing time, and now is the time for him to deliver for his team. 

The 26-year-old set a personal high when he played in 111 games for the Pirates in 2013. However, Snider struggled, batting just .215 with five home runs in 261 at-bats. 

PITTSBURGH, PA - APRIL 04:  Travis Snider #23 of the Pittsburgh Pirates breaks his bat in the first inning against the St. Louis Cardinals during the game at PNC Park April 4, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

This season, Snider has already seen a decent amount of playing time, batting .240 with three home runs in 50 at-bats. Those numbers indicate that he may be on track to have another season like he had in 2010 with the Toronto Blue Jays, hitting 14 home runs and 20 doubles in 298 at-bats. 

The Pirates have been struggling mightily on offense in 2014, owning a team batting average of .223, which is good for third-worst in the league. Only the Tampa Bay Rays and the Houston Astros have a lower team batting average than the Pirates do right now. 

With that, Snider can really help his team if he finds consistency at the plate. 

If Tabata's injury lingers and keeps him out for an extended period of time, the Pirates may want to consider calling up top prospect Gregory Polanco from AAA to the majors. 

Gene J. Puskar

Polanco is hungry for big-league action, batting .465 with two home runs and six extra-base hits in 43 at-bats for the Indianapolis Indians

According to Greg Rappaport of the Indianapolis Star, Polanco's former coach Carlos Garcia said "You are talking about the next superstar for the Pittsburgh Pirates. This kid is unbelievable." Garcia coached Polanco last season for the Altoona Curve, the AA affiliate of the Pirates. 

While he is still only 22 years old, Polanco is showing that he is ready to take the next step and has very high potential. 

Now is the time for Snider to show that he can produce every day. If he fails to do that, look out for Polanco, as he has the ability to make a big impact immediately once he is called up. 


*Statistics Courtesy of Baseball Reference and