Luplow Learns in Return to Majors

The Bucs young outfielder speaks about his one year anniversary in the big leagues.

Noah Hiles
July 28, 2018 - 9:40 pm

© Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

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PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan) – One year has come and gone since Jordan Luplow made his major league debut with the Pirates in a 3-2 loss to the Padres in San Diego, California. The then 23-year old Luplow was called upon to take Gregory Polanco’s spot in the lineup, who was sent to the disabled list due to a strained hamstring. While he dominated in the minor leagues, leading all Pirates' prospects with 23 homeruns, Luplow struggled to adjust to big league pitching.

Now, after starting the 2018 season in AAA, Luplow is back up with the Bucs and is once again getting starts in place of an injured starter. However, for Luplow, his second stint in the major leagues has gone much smoother than it did the first time around.  

“You learn to get a little more comfortable,” said Luplow. “(Last season) I learned a lot from the older guys on how to go about my business and how to play the game right.”

When Luplow joined the Bucs in 2017, they were just four games out of first place in the National League Central division. One year later, Luplow has found himself in a very similar situation as the Pirates entered Saturday just 3 games out of the second National League Wild Card spot.

“I feel like guys in this clubhouse this year are really bonding and meshing really well,” said Luplow when asked to compare this year’s team to the one he made his MLB debut with last season. “We feed off of each other’s energy; I think that’s a big part of why we went on that winning streak and have continued to win games.”

After waiting patiently for his chance to prove himself, Luplow has now been in the Pirates' starting lineup in the last four games. For Luplow, the privilege of getting to start in important games is something that he appreciates greatly.

“It is something that I have always dreamed of,” said Luplow. “It is something that I have worked all my life for and I feel that I have earned it. I am just trying to take advantage of it.”

In three of the Pirates games this past week, Luplow has been placed in an unfamiliar spot in the batting order; leadoff. Despite having little to no professional experience hitting at the top of the lineup, the now 24-year old says that he is comfortable adjusting on the fly.

“It’s a little bit new to me but I am rolling with the punches right now,” said Luplow. “I am learning as I go. I am still going to be the same hitter, just in a different spot.”

Luplow says that former teammate and current shortstop prospect Cole Tucker has been someone that he has spoken to about batting leadoff. Tucker is currently the starting shortstop for the Pirates' AA affiliate, the Altoona Curve, where he also bats leadoff. Luplow and Tucker played together in the minor leagues in the beginning of last season at class high A Bradenton.