Saturday, January 4, 2014
HEY JORDY MERCER, HOW'D YA LIKE TO PLAY IN PINSTRIPES?
Yes, it’s official, folks. I love Jordy Mercer. In case you don’t know who he is, he plays shortstop for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Actually, he is not the official starting shortshop for the Pirates as he rotates with incumbent Clint Barmes. Yet, in late May, skipper Clint Hurdle realized that when Mercer was in the lineup, the team won and when he wasn’t the team lost. “Or, maybe it was the sound and sight of the ball off Mercer's bat. Or the zip on it from deep in the hole. Maybe it was all of it. But, at some point, the Bucs decided it was time, and they crossed that invisible line from Barmes to Mercer,” stated MLB.com last June.
Oklahoma Sooner Jordy Mercer has an arm like a rocket. So much so that his college coach put him in as the team’s closer from time to time according to an interview Mercer gave with MLB Network Hot Stove this week. Could he play shortstop for the Yankees? I say, why not and why have we not considered him? He was a 2008 third-round draft pick for the Pirates and he finished the 2013 season with an batting average of .285 and on-base percentage of .336 after only playing in 103 games. In addition, he played in five games in the post season and had a .250 average with only eight at bats. He’s young and he has a lot of developing to do. Why not do it here in the Bronx?
Could he play second base? Why not? Robinson Cano was known for his rocket arm at second, so much so, that many suggested he move to third. Mercer could fill the hole left by the departing Cano with youth, charisma and a confident spirit. “'Jordy has incrementally gotten better it seems each month,' Hurdle said. 'He's playing with confidence, and I think one thing that has worked well for him is his ability to strike the left-handed pitchers. He's done an exceptional job in the two spot, showed the ability to bunt and hit and run, and he's struck some balls well and rode a couple of balls out of the park. All in all it's a very good confidence-building year for him,'" according an article posted back in mid-September on MLB.com. And he is not overpriced, he is not tainted by the game and he decided to go to college instead of testing his talent early in the MLB.
Boston Red Sox Manager John Farrell, who played for OSU as well back in the 1980s, said in an interview with MLB Network’s Hot Stove that the last formative years of 17-21 are extremely important and you have to take that seriously when you coach these kids who are coming up the pike. He’s right. These young guys are very impressionable and develop habits based on the people they are with day in and day out. Mercer and frankly, Farrell, seemed to fare well with their experiences playing college ball at OSU. And that time is character-building; something many young guys miss out on today when they go straight to the show.
So, Jordy has a young package with all the traits we need here in Yankeeland. I would love to see his fire, new talent and potential on the base paths here in the Bronx. Keep an eye on him, fans. He is someone we should consider as we rebuild our team for the future.
--Suzie Pinstripe, BYB Opinion Columnist
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