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Thread: D'Arnaud shows promise at shortstop

      
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    Default D'Arnaud shows promise at shortstop

    D'Arnaud shows promise at shortstop
    Tuesday, May 24, 2011
    By Colin Dunlap, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

    INDIANAPOLIS -- Most of the players in a Class AAA game in downtown Indianapolis last week fell into one of three groups.

    There were the ones who have been to the big leagues and are hanging on, trying to get back. And the ones who have never been there and are destined to spend their days stuck in baseball purgatory as career minor leaguers. Then there are the rising prospects, players of whom much is expected now and, someday, in the big leagues.

    Chase d'Arnaud falls in that final group.

    And in this game, he stood out.

    On one pitch, he stole second.

    Two pitches later, he stole third.

    On the next pitch -- a swinging bunt -- he never hesitated and drifted through the commotion near home plate to score; his baseball acumen told him he would be safe as soon as the ball was softly chopped straight down into the dirt and tumbled forward onto the grass.

    "There's some things you can't think about," said d'Arnaud, the 24-year-old Class AAA Indianapolis middle infielder. "You just know what to do. Like on that play, you just have to get there."

    For the Pirates, it might not be a case of d'Arnaud having to get there as the everyday shortstop with the big club, but it sure would be a pleasant event for the organization that has had so much trouble internally producing talent at that position.

    The last internally produced Pirates shortstop who has made a real difference? That might have been Gene Alley.

    He was signed as an amateur free agent in 1959.

    Chase d'Arnaud was born in 1987.

    As it is now, Ronny Cedeno -- acquired in a trade July 2009 with Seattle -- is the everyday shortstop, but with a contract that has a club option for next season (and the fact that management pursued free agents this past offseason), Cedeno isn't necessarily viewed as the long-term solution.

    Neither is Brandon Wood nor Pedro Ciriaco, shortstops currently on the big league roster for a club that recently has marched players such as Luis Rivas, Chris Gomez, Ramon Vazquez and Bobby Crosby out there with a glove between second and third.

    But to talk to people in the organization is to quickly understand that d'Arnaud, a fourth-round selection in 2008, is viewed as a long-term fix at shortstop -- or at least will be given that opportunity.

    "I understand the responsibility," d'Arnaud said. "I know what they want from me and I know what I have to do. I think everyone in the organization will tell you it's their ultimate goal to get to Pittsburgh, and people can talk about the situation that I'm in, but I just really focus on making myself better every day."

    That opportunity is on hold for now as d'Arnaud was placed on the minor league disabled list Monday because of a groin injury.

    Before that, d'Arnaud had been impressive with his bat. Through 44 games this season, he was hitting .272 with three home runs. In a 10-game span from May 13-22, he was 15 for 42 (.357) with a double, a home run, six RBIs and five stolen bases. Compare that to last season in Class AA Altoona, when he struck out 102 times in 132 games and hit .247 with six home runs.

    Jeff Branson, the Indianapolis hitting coach and a former big league player for the Reds, Indians and Dodgers, has worked closely with d'Arnaud.

    "In the past, everything was a push to the ball for Chase," Branson said. "Now I'm seeing aggression. He's letting the bat head work. That wasn't always the case and now it's more with a purpose. That can be the difference on just getting to the big leagues and making a difference in the big leagues. It's a stronger movement right now with what he does at the plate."

    Certainly, in baseball parlance, "the bat plays" for d'Arnaud at the big league level.

    But what about the glove?

    This season, he also has played some second base for Indianapolis, but d'Arnaud admitted he's more comfortable at shortstop, and that is where his future appears strongest in the organization.

    During spring training, d'Arnaud spent time in big league camp, enough to show some striking flashes in the field.

    "When you look at him, you see a natural shortstop," Pirates second baseman Neil Walker said. "He's fluid, he's got a strong arm, he turns the double play well. And he's moved quickly through the organization. He's a shortstop, definitely."

    Infield coordinator Gary Green also has worked with d'Arnaud and he believes the 24-year-old will help the Pirates sooner rather than later.

    "There's a difference in playing in the big leagues as an everyday player and just being in the big leagues," Green said. "People want to be that guy, people want to play every day. No one wants to just be another player. I see that in Chase. And I see that a lot in Chase.

    "We know what the long term goal is, and that's always there. But the short-term goal is to take care of what you can every day. If you don't, the long-term goal will slip away. He's a young man who really understands that. He's got what he needs to get him there, that's for sure."

    http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11144/1148715-63.stm
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    Default Re: D'Arnaud shows promise at shortstop

    I like d'Arnaud but he might be a little short on talent. Don't know if he is going to hit well enough to play 2nd or if he can play SS in the ML's.

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    Default Re: D'Arnaud shows promise at shortstop

    Quote Originally Posted by PittFaninVa View Post
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    I like d'Arnaud but he might be a little short on talent. Don't know if he is going to hit well enough to play 2nd or if he can play SS in the ML's.
    so you're thinking he might be "group 2" afterall?

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    Default Re: D'Arnaud shows promise at shortstop

    I really wish he had the range of Mercer...I like Mercer's D profile better than D'Arnaud...but I like D'Arnaud's SS bat better.
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    Default Re: D'Arnaud shows promise at shortstop

    Quote Originally Posted by just_ridin View Post
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    so you're thinking he might be "group 2" afterall?
    No, not at all. He will definitely get a shot and probably stick at some point. I just don’t know how good a ML’er he will be.

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    Default Re: D'Arnaud shows promise at shortstop

    Quote Originally Posted by PittFaninVa View Post
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    No, not at all. He will definitely get a shot and probably stick at some point. I just don’t know how good a ML’er he will be.
    He's not more talented than Cedeno...he might be more consistent which would be a plus.
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