Once again, Colin Moran has found his way to the injured list.
After taking a pitch to the wrist earlier this week, Moran is headed back to the injured list, however the Pirates could also face the issue of losing Erik Gonzalez, who experienced pain in his hip in Thursday night’s game against Milwaukee. This now leaves Phillip Evans as the only option to man the hot corner… at least for now.
Should Gonzalez be placed on the shelf with Moran, someone will likely need to be called up to platoon first with Evans. That person should be Brendt Citta.
Citta, whom the Pirates drafted in the 38th round of the 2018 MLB Draft, is tearing it up with Altoona with a .306/.354/.421 line with a .775 OPS. He spent 2019 with West Virginia (Low-A) and Bristol (Rookie), and while he didn’t post numbers similar to this year, he posted a .446 slugging percentage – a second-best in his career.
His hitting stats aren’t the only thing that stands out, however, as he’s only committed two errors this season – none of which came while he manned first base. Only once in his career has his fielding percentage gone below .930, and that was in 2016 when he was in the West Coast League according to Baseball-Reference.
Before asking about why Will Craig and/or Mason Martin aren’t on the list of call-up candidates, consider the following:
Will Craig is… bad. He’s been given multiple chances to prove his worth after everyone sang his praises throughout his journey in the minors, and every time he was up in the MLB, he underachieved. His only crowning moment was the infamous rundown against the Cubs, which we aren’t going to revisit.
Mason Martin, while he is also a good option, is the first baseman of the future. He needs to continue his development so he can be valuable for years to come. His power goes unmatched and his clutch factor is something out of a different universe, but that would be better saved for when the Pirates are ready for contention in the future.
Citta can at least hold us over for now and, if he exceeds expectations, he could be called upon again down the road when Moran returns to the injured list or he can be a sneaky trade piece down the road.
While there is a chance Citta could fall just like Craig did if he gets called up, I’d rather give him a chance then let Will Craig choke again in the big leagues.
Get on the phone, Cherington, and get Citta to Pittsburgh.