PITTSBURGH — The Pirates acquired outfielder Xavier Paul Tuesday — the second waiver move by Pirates GM Neal Huntington in the last week.
Paul appears to be a lot like waiver acquisition No. 1, Brandon Wood, labeled as a guy that can’t translate his consistent numbers in the minors to the major leagues.
From looking at some opinions from LA Dodgers websites and blogs, Paul had to make a quick, positive impression from the start of the season to survive in the Dodgers’ organization.
Unfortunately for him, he didn’t get much of a chance to do so and ended up being optioned down to Triple-A ball, where the Pirates were able to claim him off waivers.
That misfortune could be a positive for the Pirates as they get a highly regarded prospect. Paul has a career average of nearly .330 in Triple-A ball. He hit 12 home runs and drove in 38 runs while scoring 46 himself in Triple-A in 2010 while posting a .325 average, .384 on-base percentage and .579 slugging percentage.
Paul was recalled to the majors twice in 2010. In his first stay he spent from April 24-May 30 with the Dodgers, posting a very respectable .731 OPS. However, his second stint wasn’t as solid, posting just a .466 OPS after being recalled July 3.
Overall, Paul hit just .231 in 121 at bats — that’s just 28 hits, along with no home runs.
Those numbers show what he can do at times and how, at other times, he can drop off the map at the plate. What doesn’t seem to escape him is his strong fielding, strong arm and speed.
It’s going to be hard for him to find any kind of permanent spot in Pittsburgh, it seems. With the likes of Jose Tabata, Andrew McCutchen and Garrett Jones holding everyday spots in the Pirates outfield, it’s hard to believe he’ll earn much regular playing time.
But if he can develop consistency at the plate in the chances he gets he might chip away more appearances, making it hard for Hurdle to keep him on the bench. With more time, you never know.