February 26, 2011

2011 Position Preview: Left Field

After he was called up from Indianapolis in June, Jose Tabata started 102 of the 104 remaining games for the Pirates. Barring injury he'll be in left field virtually every day again in 2011.

In his age 21 season, Tabata proved he can hit major league pitching and play a great left field. That earned him a seventh place finish in Rookie of the Year voting. He needs to work on plate discipline, and it would be nice if he developed a bit more power. Still, it was a very impressive debut for one of the better prospects we've seen in recent years.

2010: 102 games, .299/.346/.400, 61 Runs, 4 HR, 35 RBI, 19 SB

Those are fourth outfielder numbers for a player in his prime, but they're absolutely great for a 21-year-old. I'm not sure Tabata will be a lot better in 2011 - there's almost always a continuing adjustment period in the second year - but Tabata has hit at every level of the minor leagues so I don't see why he can't put up similar numbers over a full season. I am also expecting a bit of development in power. Between AAA and MLB he had 47 extra base hits last year, only seven of which were home runs.

For 2011 I am looking for Tabata to hit .290/.350/.420 with 100 runs, 9 home runs, 55 RBI, and 35 steals. That's a good #2 hitter and a great age 22 season.

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