The Pittsburgh Pirates got very little from their shortstops to begin the 2014 season, which helped lead to a horrible start to the season. There were many questions about why the Pirates didn’t go outside of the organization to acquire an upgrade over Jordy Mercer and Clint Barmes. Lately, however, Mercer has been tearing the cover off the ball, shutting a lot of people up.
In April, Mercer was one of the worst offensive players in baseball, hitting just .167/.222/.182 in 73 plate appearances. In May, he is a completely different player. In 47 trips to the plate, Mercer has a .273/.304/.455 triple-slash line. His April batting average may have been a result of horrible luck, as he had a BABIP of just .204; his BABIP in May is .297.
Over the last 14 days, Mercer has been even better, hitting .324/.359/.541 with a home run and five doubles in 40 plate appearances. It is clear that he is a major factor for whether the Pirates win: in wins, Mercer has hit .255/.327/.298 with a .625 OPS, while in losses, he has a .175/.197/.286 line with an OPS of just .483.
Now that Mercer has been on fire lately, the Pirates have been winning more frequently than they were in the beginning of the season. After winning three of their past four series, the Pirates are clearly back on track, thanks in large part to the improved performance of their starting shortstop.