Last week when General Manager Ben Cherington spoke with Jason Mackey of the PG, he talked about the desire to acquire at Fourth Outfielder ; a possibility our own Gary Morgan addressed just a few days ago. As Gary mentioned, it is clearly a need going into 2021; and how he manages this situation could very well give some indication as to the direction Cherington is leading his so-called build. Last year Guillermo Heredia and Jarrod Dyson were the low-cost choices from the Free Agent Market, and at least they got back some international bonus pool space. However, as I have before, this is not an option during the upcoming signing period. So, unless Cherington decides to go the route of signing a more impactful outfielder with higher potential trade value, it is feasible that he turns to the Rule 5 draft to fill that need.
If he were to do this, in order to provide depth while giving Anthony Alford and Jared Oliva some healthy competition in Spring Training, there are a few options that I would mind kicking the tires on to see if they can break the lineup next year. As it was with the pitching options I provided over the weekend, I doubt any of these guys are on the top of your lists; not because they aren’t worthy of the spot, but more of the effect caused by not being on a top 30 prospects list.
Originally drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the 6th Round of the 2017 MLB June Amateur Draft out of the University of Arkansas, Spanberger was acquired first by the Toronto Blue Jays a part of the Seungwhan Oh trade in 2019; only to be traded once again to the Milwaukee Brewers in the acquisition Chase Anderson. Primarily a First Baseman in his collegiate years, as well as the beginning of his professional career, he has now spent the majority of his time in the Outfield. In his most recent Minor League season, back in 2019, Spanberger saw some of his power return after the position adjustment; hitting 13 homers, with a .162 ISO. However, his OBP took a hit, dropping from .348 to .308, while his K% jumped 18.5% to 24.4%. Of the three candidates he is the least likely to be acquired, however, I couldn’t ignore the ties to Assistant GM Steve Sanders and Cherington, who saw the potential in this kid after he hit 22 bombs and slugged .579 in Low A, before they acquired him from Colorado.
DeLuzio is a former 3rd Round pick for the Miami Marlins from The First Academy in Orlando Florida. He went on to play at Florida State University before being signed as an UDFA by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2016. A career .297 hitter in the minors, he excelled following his promotion to AAA-Reno in August of 2019; slashing .357/.421/.563 with a 139 wRC+ over 39 games and 145 plate appearances. In his four years in Arizona’s Farm System. DeLuzio has played al over the outfield, showing range at each position.
Lund has spent his entire professional career in the Minors for the Los Angeles Angels after being drafted in the 11th Round of the 2016 MLB June Amateur Draft from BYU. Currently he is blocked at the MLB level by the likes of Mike Trout, Jo Adell, Justin Upton and Taylor Ward; with Brandon Marsh climbing the MiLB ranks, Lund finds himself in a tough spot. Barely 26 years old, he most recently appeared in 2019 with AAA-Salt Lake, where he hit. 284 with a .805 SLG and a slightly below average 94 wRC+; although most of his numbers have remained consistent or eventually rebounded following a promotion. In his time with the Angels he has played all three outfield positions, with most of his time coming in centerfield.
As it currently stands the Pirates 40-man has two open spots, so it is extremely likely, if not all but guaranteed that Cherington is going to select a player tomorrow in the Rule 5 Draft. He has discussed the need for pitching depth and another outfielder, which I would see as the two mostly likely outcomes. However, he could always surprise us and throw another infielder into the mix of Newman, Gonzalez, Tucker, Frazier and Evans.