3-24-22 – By Gary Morgan – @garymo2007 on Twitter
We’re quickly approaching the get serious part of Spring Training, you know, the time when you start seeing pitchers try to go 4 or 5 innings or position players start getting 4 or 5 at bats in a game.
Part of this will be the big decisions that have to be made and I’ll be as blunt as possible, most of them aren’t that hard, yet the Pirates have a terrible habit of making them feel that way.
We just learned that the season would begin with expanded rosters, from 26 up to 28 through the month of April. That’s primarily an effort to help the pitching staffs deal with a shortened Spring so instead of the 13 pitcher limit, I think it’s fair to expect they’ll keep 14 or 15. Today, I want to focus on the other 13 or 14 position players.
We’ve all heard the cries for Cruz to stick and whatnot but let’s walk through this roster and really try to figure out the locks vs the bubbles.
- (C) Roberto Perez
- One of (C) Taylor Davis, Jamie Ritchie and Michael Perez
- (OF) Bryan Reynolds
- (OF) Ben Gamel
- (OF) Greg Allen
- (3B) Ke’Bryan Hayes
- (1B/DH) Yoshi Tsutsugo
- (1B/DH) Daniel Vogelbach
- (SS/2B) Kevin Newman
- (SS/2B/RF) Cole Tucker
I can’t think of anyone else who I firmly believe IS a lock, keep in mind that’s different than SHOULD be.
The catching is obvious, one of those 3 has to be the backup and even if they aren’t one will be acquired. Greg Allen get’s lock status in my mind because he has shown pretty well, and unlike Alford hasn’t already had parts of 2 seasons in black and gold to judge his ability.
The controversial ones here are Newman and Tucker, but if you’re honest with yourselves you know I’m right. Newman has proven his glove to be more than just ok and Tucker looks like he’s finally made changes and put in the work to at least potentially show some of that first round pedigree. Now that’s 10, leaving us 3 or 4 spots depending on how they handle the pitching staff, but if I were forced to guess, it’ll be 3.
- (OF) Anthony Alford
- (Utl) Michael Chavis
- (Utl) Hoy Park
- (SS/DH) Oneil Cruz
- (OF) Bligh Madris
- (Utl) Rodolfo Castro
- (SS/2B) Diego Castillo
OK, I’ll admit the team might not be on the same page as me here, but Anthony Alford is done. I’m not saying he has no talent, I’m just saying he’s had enough time to show it now and it isn’t happening. Even if he has a spell in him where he makes contact you can’t afford to keep a bench guy who falls into funks where he strikes out at an 80% clip. Allen won, move on and either trust Tucker as the 4th OF or bring Bligh North. This would be a direct 40 man swap.
I’d say Chavis, Park, Castro and Castillo are all battling for one spot. If I had to guess, Chavis and Park are probably more realistic here. If the Pirates choose to have Tucker act as the 4th OF as well as Middle IF bench player (hell even if that’s Newman) they can choose 2 here.
I know it’s not a very Pirates thing to do, but I can’t see how Oneil Cruz gets sent down. I’m aware that’s very possible, and I’m sure they have plenty of excuses already, but he’s the best player arguably on either list not named Bryan or Ke’Bryan and it’s visibly clear to everyone watching.
So I guess I owe you the 3 I’d pick.
- Oneil Cruz
- Michael Chavis
- Hoy Park
Yup, I’d go with Tucker/Chavis/Park as utility guys and be done messing with Alford.
So, Want a Lineup?
- Greg Allen (RF)
- Bryan Reynolds (CF)
- Ke’Bryan Hayes (3B)
- Oneil Cruz (SS)
- Yoshi Tsutsugo (DH)
- Roberto Perez (C)
- Daniel Vogelbach (1B)
- Ben Gamel (LF)
- Kevin Newman (2B)
1. Michael Chavis
2. Hoy Park
3. Cole Tucker
4. Jamie Ritchie (just because he isn’t Michael.
It won’t look like this by the end of 2022, I could have really spread out that bubble section to show that.
What do you think? Anything you think I’ve missed here?