Will Alvarez and Tabata Follow McCutchen's Path?

Andrew MeaseContributor IFebruary 8, 2010

DENVER - AUGUST 13: Andrew McCutchen #22 of the Pittsburgh Pirates hits a run-scoring sacrifice fly in the fifth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on August 13, 2009 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

June 4, 2009, the debut of Andrew McCutchen.  A lot of things happened for that to take place last season.  First and foremost, at-that-moment centerfielder Nate McLouth was moved. 

McLouth was sent to the Braves in a deal that angered quite a few Pirates fans who became high on Nate after one above average season.

The deal was actually a very good deal for the Pirates, as Charlie Morton outside of one performance looks like a very good pitcher.  Yes, Gorkys Hernandez and Jeff Locke didn't necessarily "impress" in their short time with the organization, but they still have talent. 

Of course, the point of this isn't to debate the trade it's to talk about the effect it had on the organization.

Many may wonder as to WHY we didn't move Nate to the corner and quite frankly I do not have the answer to that question.  Many may wonder why we didn't call up Andrew to start the season as he had a very productive spring training, again I do not have the answer.

I'd assume it had to deal with his arbitration clock and allowing his call-up to be productive in many ways.  It allowed Andrew to develop more before his debut and allowed the organization to have more years of control.

Could we, as Pirate fans, see a similar situation with Jose Tabata and Pedro Alvarez?  We very well could be.  I highly doubt we will see Jose or Pedro in our starting lineup immediately out of spring training, but I do believe it will happen by the end of June. 

The reason?  Once again, the arbitration clock.

Are Pedro and Jose even READY for the show?  While I'm not certain they are "ready" they certainly aren't not ready.  The big test for each of them will be this spring when they likely will see a lot of time with the big league team to get at bats against major league quality pitching.

If Pedro comes up, what happens with Andy LaRoche?  I don't have an answer for this, but I feel that Andy's production along with new acquisition Akinori Iwamura's production will define just how long Pedro Alvarez stays in the minors. 

If one of those two falter and are having disastrous seasons by mid-June expect the slumping player to hit the bench and for Pedro to hop in.  Obviously you wouldn't stick Alvarez in there at second base if Iwamura falters.  Logically I could see LaRoche making that switch.

There's been a lot of controversy lately as to Jose Tabata's age as many believe he is at least 24-years-old.  I for one, am with the Neal Huntington camp in the fact that regardless of his age he is still a very young player with tremendous upside. 

How much of an upside can be changed simply due to his age.  Based on what Huntington said I have no doubt that Tabata is 21-years-old, but hey if Miguel Tejada lied, then I'm sure Jose Tabata can lie too.

I think Jose is a long shot to appear on the Bucco's major league squad before the July trade deadline.  His power has yet to develop, and that is one of the few major holes in his game, much like McCutchen going into camp last year. 

If Jose impresses at Pirate City, like Andrew did last year, he will only improve his chances of joining the team by the end of June.

The Pirates have a bright future, and based on the way they handled Andrew McCutchen, they are not ready to rush a prospect to the majors until they prove they are ready.  That bodes well for the Bucco faithful that anticipate a successful 2012 season.