Let’s Build the Pirates Lineup

This season the Pirates along with all their National League friends will be building lineups differently. They have a new factor, the DH. Sure, they’ve all dealt with it as interleague play has been around for some time but planning for more than 3 games with one is much different than knowing it’s here all season.

I could just list off my proposed lineups, but I thought, maybe it would be nice to go through the options and talk a little bit about why we, or the coaching staff, would want to put them in each slot.

Leadoff
The Options: Adam Frazier, Kevin Newman, Guillermo Heredia, Jarrod Dyson, Cole Tucker, Jason Martin

Well, we have a window into how two of them have handled the spot, Kevin Newman did a great job setting the table last season and Adam struggled. So, here’s the rub, did Adam struggle because he was simply struggling in general or because of the pressure of leadoff? I’d say the former personally, but there is no discounting that Kevin was better. Dyson and Heredia have the speed, but their track record says their OBP isn’t up to snuff. Tucker and Martin are unproven and unlikely to start.

My Pick: Kevin Newman, every day against left and right

Two Hole
The Options: Adam Frazier, Guillermo Heredia, Jarrod Dyson, Cole Tucker, Jason Martin, Bryan Reynolds

Here is where we have a real lineup formation decision to make. And I almost have to start from the bottom. See, I assume some combination of Heredia, Dyson or Martin will play CF and most likely land in the 8 or 9 spot of the lineup. Adam Frazier would handle this position well and it gives you a Right-Left start to the lineup. Bryan Reynolds is probably the best contact hitter on the club, having him hit 2nd could ensure Bell has more meaningful at bats early on.

My Pick: Bryan Reynolds, every day against left and right

Three Hole
The Options: Gregory Polanco, Josh Bell, Colin Moran

Traditionally, the three hole has housed your most consistent hitter. I’d typically tell you that would be Bryan Reynolds but until he shows it, his power plays better in the two hole for me. There are too many ifs for Polanco and as he may or may not hit left handed pitchers I’d prefer dropping him a bit. Moran has a solid bat but also many of the same issues Polanco possesses.

My Pick: Josh Bell, every day against left and right

Clean-up
The Options: Gregory Polanco, Colin Moran

Once you take Reynolds and Bell off the board, these are the two biggest power threats left. Early reports are that Polanco looks healthy, so I assume he’ll start most games in RF.

My Pick: Gregory Polanco, and I’d start with seeing how he handles pitchers from both sides.

Five Hole
The Options: Adam Frazier, Jose Osuna, Colin Moran

Very often the five hole is almost a second lead-off spot, but there is a very real need for run production here too. Colin has handled this position well, but I think the consistency and speed of Frazier could play very well here.

My Pick: Adam Frazier, every day against left and right

Six Hole
The Options: Colin Moran, Jose Osuna, Erik Gonzalez

Ok, this is arguably the hardest spot for me to pick. I’d still like some power here so I’m inclined to go with Moran, but Jose could provide pop there too. Gonzalez could very well find himself getting starts at 3B and if he hits like he did late last season he’ll be a welcome addition.

My Pick: Colin Moran, every day against left and right, at first. If he doesn’t handle lefties, one of the other two filter in.

Seven Hole
The Options: Jacob Stallings

I’d give you options here, but it’s just a perfect place to stick Stallings. He can keep the lineup moving and not slow it down as the lineup turns over.

My Pick: Jacob Stallings, every day against left and right

Eight Hole
The Options: Guillermo Heredia, Jarrod Dyson, Cole Tucker, Jason Martin, Jose Osuna, Ke’Bryan Hayes

Let’s start with this, I don’t believe Hayes will make the club out of camp. It will be a control decision and he’ll be on the MLB roster before too long. When he does, this spot could be his as the starting 3B, but for now I’d like to see Jose Osuna get some AB’s as the starting 1B. On the other hand, Jason Martin could be a nice fit as his speed and sneaky bat could play.

My Pick: Jose Osuna, every day against left and right. I’ll call him the 1B but I’d be ok if he was the DH too.

Nine Hole
The Options: Guillermo Heredia, Jarrod Dyson, Cole Tucker

This one is pretty simple to me. VS Right handed pitchers, Dyson. Left Handed, Heredia.

My Pick: Heredia against L, Dyson against R

So, here is our final Lineup:

  1. Kevin Newman – SS (R)
  2. Bryan Reynolds – LF (S)
  3. Josh Bell – DH (S)
  4. Gregory Polanco – RF (L)
  5. Adam Frazier – 2B (L)
  6. Colin Moran – 3B (L)
  7. Jacob Stallings – C (R)
  8. Jose Osuna – 1B (R)
  9.  Dyson/Heredia – CF (L) (R)

Now, part of me thinks we could be using the DH wrong here. I think Moran is more of a defensive liability than Bell but if I want Osuna in the lineup I’d rather play him at first. Another way we could go here would be to put Gonzalez at 3rd in the eight hole and push Moran to DH and put Bell back at first.

Another thing I’m not a huge fan of there is having three left handed bats 4-6. Do I hate it enough to change the lineup? Yeah, maybe.

Let’s try this:

  1. Kevin Newman – SS (R)
  2. Bryan Reynolds – LF (S)
  3. Josh Bell – DH (S)
  4. Gregory Polanco – RF (L)
  5. Jose Osuna – 1B (R)
  6. Adam Frazier – 2B (L)
  7. Jacob Stallings – C (R)
  8. Colin Moran – 3B (L)
  9. Dyson/Heredia – CF (L) (R)

Now my biggest issue is putting someone I’m not convinced will make the starting lineup in the five hole.

Maybe I’m overthinking this whole thing, something I felt Clint Hurdle was guilty of regularly.

How about I take my “this is what I think they’ll do” hat off and just suggest what I’d like to see based on who the Bucs have.

  1. Kevin Newman – SS (R)
  2. Adam Frazier – 2B (L)
  3. Bryan Reynolds – LF (S)
  4. Josh Bell – 1B (S)
  5. Gregory Polanco – RF (L)
  6. Jose Osuna – DH (R)
  7. Jacob Stallings – C (R)
  8. Colin Moran – 3B (L)
  9. Martin – CF (L)

There are so many ways you could go, and every variable creates a new lineup. I’d love to see your ideas. How did I do? Where did I mess up?

Published by Gary Morgan

Former contributor for Inside the Pirates an SI Team Channel

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