|Born: March 24, 1989
Height: 5′ 11″
Drafted: 3rd Round, 84th Overall, 2009
College: Hillsborough CC
Agent: Reggie Jefferson, SFX
WTM’S PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES
|Chambers is one of the more interesting players in the Pirates’ system. His signature skill is extreme patient at the plate, which leads to very high walk totals but also a lot of strikeouts, as he often gets behind in the count. He’s strong and stocky, has at least decent power, and runs well, all of which draws the inevitable Kirby Puckett comparisons. Baseball America thought his speed might be good enough to allow him to stay in center as a pro, although his arm is just adequate. When I’ve seen him he’s run good routes in center and he had 12 assists in 2010. Chambers originally attended the University of Florida, but after getting only eight at-bats in 2008, transferred to Hillsborough. BA rated him #181 overall among draft prospects, stating that some scouts considered him more of a 6th to 10th round pick. Like several other early round Pirates’ choices, he appears to have been a little overdrafted.
Chambers was the regular in center at State College. His BB (one every five plate appearances) and K (40% of his ABs) rates were both off the charts; he put the ball in play in fewer than half his plate appearances. He struggled early, with an OPS of .631 in July, but improved to .881 in August.
Spent the year as the centerfielder at West Virginia, missing some time late in the year after getting beaned. Chambers continued to take large numbers of pitches, which led to easily the highest walk total in the SAL, but also lots of whiffs. His K rate was, however, much lower than in 2009, only about one every four and a half ABs. His hitting was up and down throughout the year, although oddly, K and walk rates stayed fairly constant. His BA by month, from April to September, was:
The September BA obviously resulted from only a few games. Unfortunately, he also missed half of August due to the beaning, so he may have missed out on a hot streak.
Chambers mostly struggled at Bradenton. Prior to the FSL All-Star break, he hit just 191/319/301. He started hitting partway into June, posting an OPS of .809 that month and then .968 in July, but he had his worst month of the season in August with a .527 OPS. For some reason, Chambers struggled against LHPs, with an OPS of only .572 against them and .785 against RHPs. His walk-to-strikeout ratio decreased from 79% in 2010 to 53%, and he continued to steal bases with a low success rate.
Chambers returned to Bradenton, playing both right and center. He continued drawing a lot of walks, but his hitting otherwise collapsed. The Pirates moved him up to Altoona in late June, not on merit but for the purpose of moving him to a backup role. He played only sparingly in July and August, and didn’t hit at all.
The 2012 season was a second consecutive backward step for Chambers, and he ran into another when he broke his foot in the spring. The injury will cost him roughly the first two months of the season. He’ll probably move into a backup role at Altoona, although he showed no ability to handle the level.