2019 Pittsburgh Pirates Depth Chart
The acquisitions the Giants made in the 2017 off-season set the table for a deep squad heading into 2018. Evan Longoria and Andrew McCutchen joined the team in hopes of bolstering a more complete offensive attack. Longoria and McCutchen were both seasoned players that came onboard as franchise talents at their previous organizations. McCutchen would eventually be traded to the Yankees and Longoria would never get the ball rolling in 2018. The Giants might finish with a 10-game increase in the win column in 2018, but their down-trotted numbers will leave them near the bottom of their division.
|Catcher||Francisco Cervelli||Elias Diaz*||Jacob Stallings|
|1st Base||Josh Bell||Jose Osuna*|
|2nd Base||Adam Frazier||Kevin Kramer|
|Shortstop||Erik Gonzalez||Kevin Newman|
|3rd Base||Jung Ho Kang||Colin Moran|
|Left Field||Pablo Reyes||Corey Dickerson*|
|Center Field||Starling Marte||J.B. Shuck|
|Right Field||Gregory Polanco*||Lonnie Chisenhall*||Melky Cabrera|
The most traded position within the organization comes at the pitcher role. Gerrit Cole and Tyler Glasnow were two arms that made up the youth movement of the Pirates. Both were dealt either this season or the past season, making room for Chris Archer and Ivan Nova. While the trade off seemed to cover the things that Glasnow and Cole did well, adapting to a new organization would prove tough for Nova and Archer. Nova has adapted to a starting role that switched the pace of his relieving duties. This transition has been hit or miss as the 31-year-old only favors 9 wins on the season and a mid-4.00 ERA. Archer has had his share of struggles and this came in large part due to an unexpected transition. He was brought in to fill the ace role, creating a buzz of pressure on the 30-year-old. He hasn’t held his own at the mound, losing elements of control and consistency he was known for. An off-season of adaptation can hopefully revive this player to be a talented arm in this system for the foreseeable future. Jameson Taillon and Trevor Williams both stepped up to long-term starting roles this season. Both play ownership to 14 wins on the season and trend their ERA to the 3.00-marks. Without these consistent arms in the rotation, the Pirates would fail to contend for an above .500 season.
Josh Bell has spent his entire career working through the Pirates farm system. He has shown glimpses of productivity, but often mirrors these performances with slumping down stints. His .262 average lends a helping hand to the batting order and his bat speed allows for him to put the ball in play. A full off-season at the major league level will hopefully calm the nerves for this 26-year-old. The remainder of the infield is comprised with consistent defenders and minimal plate producers. Guys like Adam Frazier and Jody Mercer aren’t going to wow the competition with power, but they are guys who get on base. The combined batting average of the infield does little to show the plate presence this trio possesses. The return of Jung Ho Kang is also a welcomed sign for the team as they turn their focus to off-season work.
Chris Shaw finally broke the ranks of the minors to climb to the big-league level. Shaw was a late-bloomer being drafted in the first round of the draft by the team in 2015. His best minor league numbers came in the 2017 season where he produced at the plate above the .300 batting level. Shaw spent half of the season in the minors, barely eclipsing the .250 batting mark before being called up to face heavy duties. This high usage rate has handcuffed his production on the big stage, which is a development that must takeoff in the off-season. Hunter Pence is another outfield talent that continues to hold this group in place. His roles have changed from everyday player to a relief option and pinch hitter. He is at the stage in his career where heavy usage diminishes his effectiveness as a batter and defender. The Shaw move bodes well for the future rebuild of this outfield with the loss of McCutchen.
With transactions, injuries, and suspensions limiting the player pool for this team to choose from, the Pirates have adapted by filling with role players. Guys like Corey Dickerson and Jordan Luplow have created match-up advantages or relief options when days of rest aren’t available. Marte continues to slot into the 3 or 4-hole to clean-up the base runners, with a mix of Moran, Mercer, and Frazier near the top of the order. The team usually has more options at the top than they do the bottom, which lends them the capability to create a solid order near the bottom. Their 5-7 hitters are adapted to getting on-base, but the lack of offense extending from the catcher and pitcher position creates for a high percentage of players left on base. The team will work with batting order combinations this off-season in hopes of increasing the run production in areas where they have struggled.