Top Ten Pirates End-of-Season Topics

There are always loose ends to every season, this one is going to leave more open ended thoughts than most. With only 19 games remaining, they’d be well served to not put more on the plate.

  1. Bryan Reynolds Center Fielder? Before the season it was rumored that Bryan could play center, hell it was even confirmed that the team believed he could do so. The biggest question I had was his arm, but the only part of Bryan’s game that has shown real signs of life happen to be his defense, specifically his arm. That officially takes his ability from rumor to reality. He’s only played two games there but being that they were in succession, I tend to think there is at least an audition going on. Couple that with the ability to keep Gonzalez, Newman and Hayes on the field by giving Frazier a place to play in the outfield and at the very least it has the feel of an angle they might want to play.
  2. Tucker in the Outfield? I’m not ready to call the experiment over, but I am ready to at least believe the Pirates are starting to question the position change. Another way to play this could be that they’ve finally realized learning to play the outfield is not the same as learning to play center specifically. Tucker is a talented athlete, given time and training, I have little doubt he’ll get it, but is that the best use of his talents? Do they have use of his talents? We’ll see.
  3. Is Newman a Defensive Problem Now? He’s never had the best range, but he’s always been steady. Then they move him to second base and suddenly he has holes in his webbing. Listen, you can deal with less than stellar defense if you’re getting a .300+ average and legit offensive output, but not .240.
  4. Colin Moran Starting 1B? Aside from catching pop ups, Moran has outplayed Bell in every aspect of the game. That includes the bat, in fact that one area alone would be enough to say that even if he were as much a disaster as Bell in the field. There is no guarantee that the DH will return next year, just in case, they either need to deal one of them or embrace one of them being a bench piece. And no, before you ask, Bell can’t play outfield, not well anyway. For all we know both will be dealt, but Moran has made the question of which you’d want to retain at least a little more muddy.
  5. Any Positions Locked Down for 2021? If I had to guess, and that’s really all any of us can do right now, Hayes is a fairly sure lock to start at 3rd, Stallings at Catcher, Reynolds in one outfield spot and I know people won’t like this but probably Polanco in Right. The reasons are different for everyone, Stallings has simply earned it, Hayes is the future, we may not all agree as to his ceiling but we can all agree he’s the best in the organization at the position. Reynolds is very unlikely to get traded and despite his issues at the plate this year will be one of the most promising options on the roster to be the star. Polanco will make too much money to move and if he doesn’t start they’ll never have so much as a snowball’s chance in hell of moving him.
  6. Rookies We’ll see Next Season. Blake Cederlind, Jared Oliva, maybe Cruz, maybe Craig. Cederlind is the most likely candidate to join the club straight out of Spring is probably Cederlind, he’s the only real internal option to close games, and while you don’t believe that matters most likely, it sure does make for attractive trade pieces. Mears could also be an option to at least get a shot in the pen but he could certainly use a bit more seasoning. Cederlind could fall prey to Super-2 manipulation but that’s a bit silly for a back of the bullpen role, that comes with a shelf life.
  7. Will Jason Martin Ever Get a Real Shot? Martin could easily get lost in the shuffle, but he has the pedigree and skill set to at least be a very nice third OF option. The Pirates seem to have no interest in what Martin or Osuna can offer, but with Anthony Alford being injured an audition spot could have just opened up. I’ve all but given up hope they’ll give Osuna a shot, even if I was right about him, he wasn’t going to be a 30 home run stalwart starter. Martin is a nice option who adds speed and defensive excellence to the mix of things he can offer, that deserves a chance to show what he can do.
  8. Mitch Keller That’s it, that’s the question. Does he end up playing this season? If he does I’d imagine he’s on an aggressive inning restriction. The single dumbest thing the Pirates could do is assume any risk whatsoever just to have him throw some meaningless innings this season. If anything gets in the way of him entering Spring at 100% would be foolish. Bottom line, don’t expect to learn anything meaningful about Mitch this season, he’ll remain a question with upside in 2021.
  9. Erik Gonzalez’s Future So, let’s first eat some crow together. I thought he was a bum, most of you thought he was a bum, what he’s become is a fairly good major league player. Not a star, at least not yet. Not a young and potential anchor, but a team that just wants a reliable fielder who can hit and bonus he’s cheap and controlled, he could be a very nice option to bring back some talent. Let’s be honest too, they don’t have many guys who are ready made solutions to offer, if they get an opportunity here they must jump on it. Look for Erik to be the locked on starting SS the rest of the way.
  10. Young Arms? Beside Keller there are some believe it or not. Brubaker is the top of that food chain. Yeah, I watched him give up 7 runs too the other night, but has the stuff, failure should be an expected result early on. What’s important is the way he keeps his head up and battles. All part of learning the craft, exactly what a season like this needs to provide. Even if you don’t think he has the chops, brace yourself, I see no way they escape the off season without moving at least one established starter, and truth be told, I’d rather watch a young player learn on the job and fail, than someone established that I know is doing his best and still provides the same result. Another option worth looking at in the Spring is Holmes. Seeing him go down with an injury early on was less than ideal, but if you’re looking for a young guy with a ton of upside who is close to making the jump, he’s one.

Published by Gary Morgan

Former contributor for Inside the Pirates an SI Team Channel

3 thoughts on “Top Ten Pirates End-of-Season Topics

  1. The new Pirate regime have totally disrespected Martin.Obviously, they can’t judge talent. If only he had been given the same rope as Tucker! He’s a better center fielder, better hitter than Tuck, for sure.

    Liked by 1 person

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