The Oakland Athletics claimed outfielder Andrew Lambo off waivers from the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday. After being activated from the 60-day disabled list, Lambo was removed from Pittsburgh’s 40-man roster. The Southern California native will look to redeem himself in the East Bay — where his limited playing time with the Bucs, has resulted in a career slash line of .191/.232/.298/.530.
In 2013, Lambo recorded 32 round-trippers and 99 RBI in 120 games. That year, the left-handed hitter was promoted from Double-A Altoona to Triple-A Indianapolis. The 27-year-old has had his share of injuries since being drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the fourth-round of the 2007 Amateur Draft.
After getting off to a scorching start in the Gulf Coast League, Lambo was suspended in May 2010, thanks to a positive test for a “drug of abuse”. He was dealt to the Pirates later in the season, along with pitcher James McDonald, in exchange for seasoned veteran Octavio Dotel.
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Once dealt, Lambo struggled with his new ballclub in 2011 and was sidelined for the majority of the 2012 season with a right wrist injury in 35 games. Fast-forward to 2014, and the left-hander was placed on the shelf once again — this time, for two months with a right thumb injury. It proved to be unfortunate because Lambo had an outstanding season for Triple-A Indianapolis, posting a .328/.389/.563 batting line with 61 RBI and 11 home runs.
As a result, the Newbury Park high school graduate made the Pirates’ Opening Day roster in 2014, until a plantar fasciitis injury kept him off the field. That injury struck again in 2015 — limiting him to just 19 games this season.
Nonetheless, Lambo is an extremely valuable asset at both corner outfield positions and can even play first base if need be. His 627 strikeouts in 741 minor league games demonstrates a lack of plate discipline and pitch selection, but he can easily be stored in Triple-A with one option remaining until his services are needed, although he will take up a valuable 40-man roster spot. These characteristics resemble that of former Athletic Brandon Moss — who was promoted to the big league club in June of 2012, and had a breakout season for the green and gold — with 21 home runs, 84 RBI, and an impressive .291 batting average in 84 games for Oakland, strictly as a platoon.
Based on these statistics alone, it wouldn’t be uncommon for Lambo to post similar, if not, better numbers than Moss. Like most of Billy Beane‘s acquisitions, Lambo is simply a reclamation project with a series of injuries, ultimately looking to prove himself in the show. With an increase in playing time, there is no question that Lambo will thrive in an Oakland Athletics organization which has been deemed “the island of misfit toys”.
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