Just a quick thought while I have a few minutes. At the risk of making far too much out of a spring training lineup, I found it somewhat interesting that Andrew McCutchen is starting in left today while Nate McLouth is in center. I think we can all agree that if Nyjer Morgan is in the opening day lineup, he is simply a placeholder until McCutchen is ready to join the club. Would the Pirates be better off putting Nyjer in center and McLouth in left now, in order to make that transition a bit smoother later in the year?
The Pirates seem determined to keep McLouth in center for the near future, making it McCutchen’s job to force him to a corner. By all accounts, McCutchen is the better fielder of the two. As such, it would seem that moving McLouth is a no-brainer. I don’t think McLouth is as bad a center fielder as the numbers showed last year, but it is unlikely that he could match the defensive value of McCutchen. Take these stats with a grain of salt, but minorleaguesplits.com has rated McCutchen well above average defensively in each of the last three seasons.
However, it sometimes seems as if the Pirates are undecided on what they will do when McCutchen is ready for Pittsburgh. It might be interesting to keep an eye on the defensive alignments in the upcoming season. Maybe management is considering easing McCutchen into the major leagues by initially playing him in left field.