The Pirates signed catcher Rod Barajas to a one-year deal in November after declining the option of Ryan Doumit. Fans knew what to expect from Barajas: decent power, low OBP, and good defense. However, much of the Pirates fanbase is growing impatient with Barajas, and even calling for backup Michael McKenry to take over as starting catcher.
Barajas is off to a slow start, so we decided to see how his numbers compared to his April statistics from past years. Is he typically a slow starter? Or is he just having a terrible season? Have a look:
|Rod Barajas April Statistics||AB||Hits||HR||RBI||AVG||OBP|
As you can see, Barajas has received his average amount of at-bats. However, he has collected just half the number of hits he usually does (on average), and thus his averaged has dropped way down. He usually hits about 2 HR in April, but the power has yet to show. The RBI usually come with the homers, but Barajas has left a considerable amount of people on base, especially in scoring position. On Friday night in Atlanta, he left 4 on base, including grounding into an inning ending double play with the bases loaded. His OBP has always been a concern, but it has never been as low in April as it is this season.
The biggest concern is comparing Barajas’ April stats of the past three seasons. He played well in those years, and hit for some power (combined 52 HR in 2009, 2010, 2011). However, Barajas has received less April at-bats than in those seasons and all of his totals are way down. This, plus the fact that he isn’t getting any younger, could be reasoning for his recent plate struggles.
The Bucs need Barajas to snap out of it because it is getting to the point where it seems like an automatic out whenever he comes to the plate. Although he is batting at the bottom of the order, he is still faced with many RBI opportunities. With the Pirates lacking offensive production, they need guys like Barajas to come through in the clutch. The way the pitchers have been working, the Bucs could have a totally different record if the offensive was in full force. Hopefully everything clicks at once for the Pirates.