The Pirates made a pair of moves today after seeing how well Stephen Strasburg could decimate a team in his debut, calling up a few of their own top prospects in Jose Tabata and Brad Lincoln. Tabata, an outfielder, was Kevin Goldstein's pick for the #3 prospect in the organization (with four stars) and the right-handed Lincoln was #6 (and a three-star prospect).
Tabata has hit well in the minors this year, though the 21-year still has not shown much power. A .308/.373/.424 line is attractive though, given his age and the fact it came in Triple-A—let's not forget he's already swiped 25 bases this year (and been nabbed just six times) and could develop more power down the line. By looking at his True Average (TAv), which is translated in the minors to represent their equivalent major league production, we can see that Tabata was amongst the top 10 hitters in the International League, and ranked #2 in equivalent runs—ahead of #1 Pirates prospect Pedro Alvarez and behind only Carlos Santana.
He's definitely worth a look, even without any power. If he can keep the batting average at a respectable level and continue to draw walks, he'll score some runs and steal bases. He may be more of an NL-only option out of the gate, but assuming he doesn't fall on his face, he could be a candidate in mixed leagues down the line.
Lincoln may have a future as a pretty solid starter—not a star by any means, but as someone who is going to do more good than bad. He has a very good curveball, and average-to-plus velocity. He doesn't induce a lot of groundballs—he's average-to-below as far as G/F is concerned, and may lean more towards being a flyball guy. He will need to strike some batters out though, given the way the Pirates defense works (or doesn't work, rather). The Pirates rank #28 in Defensive Efficiency, so Lincoln needs to keep his 7.2 strikeout per nine rate right around where it is—the last thing he (or the Pirates) need is another below-average strikeout guy putting too many balls in play.
Lincoln may be worth a look in deep leagues and NL-only, but he's not the kind of guy who is going to win a league for you.
On a related note, Tabata may be able to improve the defense as long as he's in the lineup consistently, which he should be given the team moved Jeff Clement to the minors and shifted right fielder Garrett Jones to first base in order to make room for him.
As for Clement's fantasy value, it's been nonexistent for awhile now given he was hitting .189/.230/.331 in 137 plate appearances, so this is no big loss unless you somehow got stuck with him in an NL-only league. Even then, at least your nightmare is over.
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