Ivan De Jesus Jr.’s Winter Should Warrant Playing Time with Pittsburgh Pirates
Throughout his minor league career, Ivan De Jesus Jr. has always put up good numbers. When he was part of the Pittsburgh Pirates trading of Joel Hanrahan to the Boston Red Sox, many didn’t even see his name. Most just pointed at the bigger name of the trade and didn’t think about the Pirates end of the deal. As pointed out in a previous article here, the Pirates might have gotten a better look on this deal than meets the eye. That seems truer every day with the Winter League numbers that De Jesus Jr. is putting up.
There are other prospects at second and short for the Pirates but De Jesus Jr. deserves a good long look in spring training at the very least. He is batting .364 with 24 RBI and 11 doubles in winter ball. His stats far outweigh that of any other Pirates prospect in the Winter Leagues right now. How can a struggling team ignore a .418 on base percentage and a .503 slugging percentage which makes for a .921 OPS? Answer: they cannot.
He can play short, third and come off of the bench and get on base. Even if he is in a platoon role at first or just a pinch hitter and late inning replacement, he deserves to make the roster with the numbers he is putting up. The Pirates have nothing to lose in taking a chance on the kid. After all what is the worst that could happen? Not much other than a return trip to the minors to work on a few things. What is the best that could happen? Imagine a Pirates team that could put more people on base in front of Andrew McCutchen and Neil Walker. Give him a shot Pittsburgh; you might be glad you did.