Jose Tabata's offensive numbers through the Pirates' first 10 games are eye-popping, but it's not the statistics that impress hitting coach Gregg Ritchie. It's the approach the left fielder and leadoff man has brought to the plate in the Pirates' first few series. "It's his composure during his at-bats," Ritchie said. "He takes very professional, mature at-bats. He controls himself. His ability to make adjustments has also impressed me. Couple days he may get out there and not take the best swings through the ball, then the next day he's right there, right back. His work habits are solid." Tabata's early-season performance ranks him in or near the top 15 in the National League in several categories, including on-base percentage (.457, ranked 11th), slugging percentage (.553, ranked 16th) and OPS, which combines the two (1.009, ranked 13th). Tabata is batting .342 and he has hit safely in all 10 games, the longest active streak in the majors. His 106 hits since the 2010 All-Star break leads all major leaguers, and he also ranks second in the National League with five stolen bases. "He's a great hitter, and it's good because he's always on base and giving us an opportunity to bring him in," third baseman Pedro Alvarez said. "Other teams hate that. They hate that he's such a headache to get out." Tabata hit .299 in 102 games with the Pirates last season after making his major league debut June 9. His on-base percentage was .346 with a .400 slugging percentage and .746 OPS. Most of his at-bats (259) were in the No. 1 slot, where he was a .328 hitter. Tabata hit .255 in 33 games as a leadoff hitter.
Tabata thrives in leadoff spot
Pittsburgh Tribune Review | Apr 12