The Pirates web site is running an article about Brian Bixler, Perry Hill calls him the most improved player on the team. Hill has worked with Bixler this spring on getting into better position and shortening his arm movement on throws. From what little I have seen of Bixler this spring, he is starting to look like the guy I saw in college games.
When the Pirates drafted him in the second round, I was quite happy. I have always though he was the better prospect between he and Brent Lillibridge who was traded in the Adam LaRoche deal.
I have had discussions at The Buccos Forum about whether Bixler would be a good MLB shortstop. I say he will be, most players struggle on their first trip to the majors. One of the responses I received was that is true with the bat, but it shouldn’t be with the glove.
While that is somewhat true, Bixler developed some bad habits since turning pro. Somewhere he picked up the idea it was better to get rid of the ball quick rather than having the good form he showed in college. That bad habit led to many throws with his weight on his back foot, causing the ball to sail, thus so many throwing errors.
Reading the article had me thinking about what the Pirates may look like towards the end of 2009, especially after September call-ups. Barring injury, the entire infield could have a distinctly different look as well as an overhaul in the outfield.
Bixler and Ford could be playing up the middle.
Pearce could be manning first, or Andy could be moved across the diamond to take the place of big brother.
Walker or Alvarez could be playing third, or either may have a first baseman's mitt on. I fully expect Alvarez to destroy A ball pitching and be in Altoona quickly. The way he has looked this spring, he could make Indy by July.
Tabata and McCutchen could be manning the corners in the outfield.
Bottom line, by the end of 2009, we could be seeing the Pirates team for the next three or more years taking the field.
That makes this 2009 season even more interesting in my book.
Which lead to the poll on the right asking, “Which Pirate will be the first to be traded?”
BTW March Madness:
The time is coming for March Madness. As in past years, BTW is running a March Madness Pool. I am working on a gift certificate deal that will go to the winner of the bracket. More details to come, but it will be at least a $20 gift certificate if things pan out. Join other BTW readers, The Buccos Forum regulars and random bloggers from around the interweb in an intense battle for March Madness Supremacy!!!
Here is the Link:
IF it requests a password: pirates