The Pirates are promoting competition all over the diamond, and that’s great, but if we’re honest, most of these competitions have a logical outcome and it’ll take some pretty stellar performances to change the landing spots.
I’m all for the environment the club is creating, but we also need to keep our eyes on what makes sense beyond right now.
So let’s take these battles one by one, assess the situation and talk through them.
Interesting spot here. There are two players who will absolutely make this club. Bryan Reynolds, and Gregory Polanco. After that you can assume the club will keep two or three more and that will come from the group of Anthony Alford, Brian Goodwin and Dustin Fowler.
I’m taking Jared Oliva off this list, if only because he has options, and I think the club has made it pretty clear with the acquisitions of Goodwin and Fowler that they aren’t comfortable with what they had in house.
Alford still is dealing with his arm recovering from surgery he underwent last season. But he’s been able to hit, and he’s shown some power too, which on this club might be like me catching a shot of Bigfoot from my back deck.
4 outfielders might be necessary should the club decide they need an extra utility guy or want to go with 14 pitchers rather than 13.
The big problem here is between those 3 players I mentioned, only Goodwin could start in AAA without the risk of losing him, but he also represents the most experienced by far.
The Pirates can make this an open competition all they like, but Kevin Newman is making the decision easy. He’s the one that really needed to win this spot and he’s actively doing that. Cole Tucker was nicked up early and while he’ll be back and still has a chance, I truly believe he is less likely to make this club than any of the outfielders I just mentioned.
This battle was supposed to be a three man battle with Newman, Tucker and Gonzalez. Since the club already said there is nothing to be learned from watching Gonzalez play there, in other words, they know he’s good at the position, it was really going to be Newman and Tucker, and make no mistake, Newman will win this spot, primarily with his bat. He’ll ultimately wind up being a second baseman I believe but for this spring, with these circumstances, he’ll come out of it as the starting short stop.
They have a lot of infield depth as rosters trim it might be tough to make a spot for Tucker. The very best way to assure all three of them make the club would be to move Adam Frazier, but he too is being held out of competition with a nagging injury.
We may not get to see them physically battle for this spot, but someone winning it with their bat was always going to happen.
This isn’t a battle. Todd Frazier can hit 35 homeruns this Spring and Colin Moran will still be the starter. Todd isn’t at the stage of is career where he can play 5 games a week for any stretch of time. Sure he could get you through a 10 day IL spot or even take a week while Colin slumps but he needs to be used in moderation.
Additionally, Todd Frazier won’t be here, possibly past July, while Colin has two more years after this. He too could get traded, but that takes playing time to pull off.
Also, if Frazier makes the club he’ll be the logical backup at third too, so he’ll play, just not as a starter.
You can toss Phil Evans in there as competition, but he’s going to struggle to make it. The club would have to have an injury and/or move a player out to grease the skids here. My dark horse for super utility man is Wilmer Difo. He can do just about anything in the field and relatively well.
Either way, don’t fool yourself, Colin Moran would have to break his hand to not start.