In the midst of another miserable season for the Pittsburgh Pirates, it’s often tough to find real bright spots to talk about, but the Pirates have one in outfielder Jose Tabata.

Neil Walker gets the press, being the hometown kid, and he’s deserved it. Walker is having a tremendous rookie campaign and has cemented himself as part of the future core of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Pedro Alvarez also gets a ton of attention paid to him. Coming up as “The Savior” of the Pirates hasn’t been easy for Alvarez, but he’s handled it well and has shown at times what type of major league player he has the potential to become in the upcoming seasons.

Having said all of that, is it possible that Jose Tabata is the best of the three future Pirates stars?

Since his June 9th call-up, Tabata has been nothing short of outstanding for the last-place Pirates. He’s definitely been the most consistent.

Tabata has settled in very nicely in the two-hole in the Pirates lineup. What separates him from the others is his approach at the plate, which is the best on the team. Tabata is the one guy on the team that simply hits the ball where it’s pitched. He’s a very good situational hitter as well. 

He’s even shown some pop. The power will come. He’s shown he has it. He’s never going to be a 30-plus-homer type guy, but with time he has the ability to hit 15 to 20 a season.

Add to that outstanding speed and solid defense, and Tabata could be a future All-Star.

His 2010 numbers are very good. In 70 games, Tabata is hitting .312. His four homers and 21 RBI are modest numbers, but Tabata has shown he can hit well at the MLB level. 

He’s also stolen 14 bases. He’s been caught seven times, but that percentage is likely to go up as he learns the pitchers around the league.

Other impressive numbers for Tabata:

. His .312 batting average ranks second among all rookies with at least 300 at-bats, behind only the Giants’ Buster Posey.

. He reaches base consistently, reaching base safely in 58 of his 70 starts.

. He has 59 hits since the All-Star break, ranking him second to only the Cubs’ Starlin Castro.

. Tabata’s 87 hits since his call-up rank him second in baseball behind only Albert Pujols (88). That’s great company to be in.

That’s quite the early résumé for Tabata. He will only get better with experience. He deserves some votes for Rookie of the Year. While he has no chance to win the award, he should be recognized along with some of the other great young players in the game.

While he won’t win the Rookie of the Year, Tabata should win another award, and that’s the team MVP. He’s definitely the Pirates’ MVP at the moment. No one else has stood out to make a strong case this year.

Maybe it could go to relievers Joel Hanrahan or Evan Meek, who have both had outstanding seasons out of the Pirates bullpen. However, if you are giving the award to the guy that’s had the best season, then Tabata has to be considered the Pirates’ Most Valuable Player.

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