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Thread: Tabata will be in the Burgh by June!!

      
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    Default Tabata will be in the Burgh by June!!

    Pirates' Tabata making rapid progress
    Wednesday, November 25, 2009
    By Chuck Finder, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
    Peter Diana/Post-Gazette
    The Pirates acquired outfielder Jose Tabata in a 2008 trade with th Yankees.
    In late March, his wife was arrested and charged with child abduction, which prompted him to announce angrily that she had lied to him and said the child was his. In late April, his hamstring was strained so badly, he missed the next six weeks with Class AA Altoona.

    In late November, his emotional 2009 came to a baseball end in the desert, in the Arizona Fall League, as a Scottsdale Scorpion.

    What's next for Jose Tabata, the Venezuelan acquired in July 2008 as part of the Xavier Nady-Damaso Marte trade with the New York Yankees?

    The way Tabata battered AFL pitchers and played center field, he appears headed on the Andrew McCutchen Path: Start next April in Class AAA Indianapolis, then find an everyday place in the Pirates' outfield come June or perhaps earlier.

    "We are very pleased with Jose Tabata's progress in Arizona," Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said about the burly, future corner outfielder who finished third in AFL batting with a .392 average and first in hits with 47.

    "He has made quality adjustments to his game, and those adjustments are paying dividends. While we are pleased with his progress, we still feel we have some development work left with Jose. As a result, he is likely to open the season in Triple-A, but, like McCutchen this past spring, the door is not fully closed."

    Lastings Milledge is assured of holding onto left field unless he falters there. Garrett Jones is ticketed for right if, as Huntington reiterates, Jeff Clement proves he can handle first base in the majors.

    "Overall, we feel comfortable with our corner options, but that comfort will not prevent us from exploring potential upgrades," Huntington added, referring to potential free-agent pickups in left, right or at first.

    Tabata's performance from mid-June, when he returned after that hamstring injury, through last week has given the Pirates a perspective of promise that could arrive early in 2010.

    "I got to say, that's a tribute to him, how well he's been able to handle everything," said Jeff Banister, the Pirates' minor league field coordinator who served as the Scottsdale manager. "Obviously, there have been tough times, and he's worked through them. I can't be proud of a guy more to work through the situations [he endured]. There were some days that were more of a challenge to him, I'm sure. One thing: He showed up ready to play every day."

    At the time of his injury with Altoona, Tabata was hitting .242 with six RBIs.

    Forty-three games later, he was hitting .303 with two homers, 25 RBIs and a promotion to Indianapolis. Thirty-two games later, he was hitting .276 with three homers, 10 RBIs and a spot in the showcase in Arizona.

    Twenty-eight games later, he was more of an offensive force in suburban Phoenix than such heralded prospects as San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey, the minor league player of the year and a Scorpions teammate, and Seattle Mariners outfielder/infielder Dustin Ackley, the 2009 second-overall draft pick.

    The 5-foot-11, 210-pound Tabata, 21, also played a nifty center field.

    The Pirates continue to position him there not as a possible McCutchen replacement, but rather to improve his defensive skills. In Scottsdale, they asked him to play a shallow center field -- a la McCutchen, who finished fourth in National League rookie of the year voting despite missing the majors' first two months. They wanted to improve Tabata's reads, routes, reactions.

    "He's been challenged quite a bit," Banister said. "All in all, if I had to give him an overall grade out here, I'd have to give him an A-plus in everything he's done.

    "He has taken the challenge and had fun with it. He's in a really good place right now. A very mature approach."

    Once known for a long swing, Tabata worked this season on contact and plate patience. He pared his previously high minor league strikeout totals. In a league-leading 120 at-bats in Arizona, he walked 10 times and struck out 13. He finished third in triples, games and total bases, fourth in runs, eighth in RBIs and on-base percentage and 52nd in strikeouts. He had only one homer, but Banister sounds certain Tabata's power will blossom later.

    "He's got the power," Banister said. "The homers will come when he gets to the point where he says, 'OK, let's get the bat out front.' "

    Banister added that Tabata hit a center field triple recently that would have been a homer in PNC Park.

    On the AFL season's final night, Tabata went 6 for 7 with 2 doubles, 3 RBIs and 4 runs. He hit safely in 17 of his final 19 games. He finished with an 11-game hitting streak (25 for 52, .480).

    "We face some quality pitching out here, too," Banister continued. "It has been very impressive."

    On deck for Tabata: The Pirates asked him to work on his strength this offseason. Then, Banister said, he can "go into spring training on a positive note."

    NOTES -- Donnie Veal, a Rule 5 draftee who spent most of last season as a Pirates reliever, finished 10th in the Arizona Fall League in ERA at 2.14. He went 3-1 and finished sixth in strikeouts, one behind the Washington Nationals' Stephen Strasburg, the 2009 first-overall draft pick. "[Veal has] been as impressive as anybody out here," Banister said. He talked of Veal's tightened throwing motion and consistent velocity, up to 95 mph in his last start Wednesday. He also said Veal showed a good breaking ball. ... Another prospect, infielder Chase D'Arnaud, topped the AFL with 13 steals.



    Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09329...#ixzz0XsfpZbJk


    Encouraging signs on 3 players. Looking forward to seeing them in Pgh.

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    Default Re: Tabata will be in the Burgh by June!!

    Definitely a great sign especially with Tabata. I think all of us want to see some signs of the power but it's also seemed like the Pirates development team as had him doing a lot of other things in regards to his swing, plate discipline and approach etc... that possibly took away his power initially to improve contact and lower K rates, but that the more he gets comfortable with the approach and swing, the more the power will start seeping out over time.

    What happened with Veal? He must've gotten bombed in one of his last couple of outtings to have his ERA blow up into the 2's. He had been carrying an ERA under 1 through his first few starts in the AFL

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    Default Re: Tabata will be in the Burgh by June!!

    It would be nice to see some power from Tabata. It's not a concern yet. Cutch didn't show great power before either. He hit 12 hr's after missing the first 2 months. It looks like he will have 20+ hr power, and I see Tabata having the same.

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    Default Re: Tabata will be in the Burgh by June!!

    Lup -

    Tabata will be here when he gets here.

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    Default Re: Tabata will be in the Burgh by June!!

    I'm not in a rush about this at all. While I'm hopeful of improvements for the team this year, it's really 2011 that I'm excited about.

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    Default Re: Tabata will be in the Burgh by June!!

    If he has a good spring he should be here in April!! Simple as that!!!!

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    Default Re: Tabata will be in the Burgh by June!!

    Quote Originally Posted by smittypipik View Post
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    If he has a good spring he should be here in April!! Simple as that!!!!
    Spring Training is worthless to evaluate players, IMO. You'd be evaluating them against pitchers not throwing their full arsenal, no game planning and video, pitchers working on specific things or trying out specific things and not really in full game mode, filer guys to see what a team might have etc...

    they're going to give Tabata a month or 2 at AAA to allow him to work on whatever specific things they want him to brush up on before a call up and then go from there.

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    Default Re: Tabata will be in the Burgh by June!!

    Tabata dominated Spring Training last year then struggled to start the season at AA. Other Spring Training stars from last year include Brian Bixler, Craig Monroe, and Andy Phillips.

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    Default Re: Tabata will be in the Burgh by June!!

    What is the point if the guy had a good winter league and came in looking good to send him to the minors. So what they can try Jeff Clemente at first base? Go with a young outfield let them take their lumps this year and by 2011 the Pirates will have one of the exciting teams and young teams in the majors with Alvarez at third. I can see sending down if it helps with the contract with the pirates but it makes no sense not to give the guy a look if you think he is the real deal.

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    Default Re: Tabata will be in the Burgh by June!!

    Quote Originally Posted by smittypipik View Post
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    What is the point if the guy had a good winter league and came in looking good to send him to the minors. So what they can try Jeff Clemente at first base? Go with a young outfield let them take their lumps this year and by 2011 the Pirates will have one of the exciting teams and young teams in the majors with Alvarez at third. I can see sending down if it helps with the contract with the pirates but it makes no sense not to give the guy a look if you think he is the real deal.
    I think they believe that Tabata is the real deal, Same as McCutchen but there were a few things to get Cutch ready for the big leagues they wanted him to work on in the early part of the season at AAA first and I believe Cutch mentioned in an interview that whatever those things were (I can't remember off the top of my head) really helped him out. I wouldn't be surprised if the same approach is given to Tabata as well.

    Not like it's going to make a difference next year to start off anyways if Tabata is here or not. We aren't going to contend next year, so IMO let the kid do his prep work against real competition at AAA as opposed to Spring training and look forward to him getting called up early next year

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    Default Re: Tabata will be in the Burgh by June!!

    good point ! I think the pirates are really going to be fun to watch at the end of next year and into the following year!!!!

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    Default Re: Tabata will be in the Burgh by June!!

    I like the approach the Buccos are taking with Tabata. He's still plenty young and another two months in the minors to work on a few things can only help him. If it increases the chances of him coming up and having Cutch like success, then it's the way to go.
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    Default Re: Tabata will be in the Burgh by June!!

    In past years, Tabata would have been penciled in as a starter or there would have been a veteran signed to an awful contract and named the starter. What we are watching is progress.

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    Default Re: Tabata will be in the Burgh by June!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Lup View Post
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    It would be nice to see some power from Tabata. It's not a concern yet. Cutch didn't show great power before either. He hit 12 hr's after missing the first 2 months. It looks like he will have 20+ hr power, and I see Tabata having the same.
    I think this is a concern. Its hard to tell from that article, but apparently he didn't any homers in the AFL. The Bucs need a RF with some pop. I know many say the power will come - I hope they're right. If he doesn't put up any power numbers in the first two months of AAA this season that could delay his arrival in the Burgh, IMO.

    Tabata's apparent lack of power dampens my enthusiasm for him.

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    Default Re: Tabata will be in the Burgh by June!!

    Quote Originally Posted by tocchet92 View Post
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    I think this is a concern. Its hard to tell from that article, but apparently he didn't any homers in the AFL. The Bucs need a RF with some pop. I know many say the power will come - I hope they're right. If he doesn't put up any power numbers in the first two months of AAA this season that could delay his arrival in the Burgh, IMO.

    Tabata's apparent lack of power dampens my enthusiasm for him.
    I agree that it is a concern but they also mentioned how they altered his swing and some other things he does at the plate and from the sounds of it, that stuff has improved his contact and plate present dramatically but he's not yet adjusted it for the power. From other sources I've read, he has the power, the quicker swing that's he moved to is likely to help that, he's just not made the adjustment to the power approach yet while working on other things.

    ...but for a corner OF, he does need to show at least average power, so it's a concern until he shows the power. Might be part of why they will start him out at AAA, to allow him time to work on turning balls and getting that backspin to produce more power against minor league pitching first

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