First Pitch: Eight Flow Charts That Show the Pirates Depth at Each Position

I’ve talked a lot this off-season about how the Pittsburgh Pirates have a ton of depth for their starting lineup this year. Last year we saw an emergency situation where the team was left with Michael Martinez, Jayson Nix, and Brent Morel on the team at the same time for two weeks. The Pirates responded this off-season by trading for Sean Rodriguez, signing Corey Hart and Jung-ho Kang, and adding about 500 utility infielders via waiver claims, minor trades, or free agent signings.

The result is that the team has a ton of depth at most positions, and you have to go well beyond Options B and C to get to guys like Morel. After today’s articles on the Pirates’ starting lineup and the Indianapolis roster projection, I wanted to write out the depth options for every position. However, there are so many choices and so many variables that I couldn’t find a way to explain it all without it being totally confusing. So to make things much easier, I created a flow chart for each position, highlighting what to do if the starter at that position struggles, gets injured, or is needed at another position.

Below are the charts for each position, with the projected starter at that position mentioned in the initial scenario. There might be some differences in opinion for the order of some of the Triple-A depth options, but the main focus is showing what has to happen this year to get to those options at each position. I hope you enjoy the charts as much as I enjoyed making them.

(TIP: Click on an image to get a bigger version)



First Base


Second Base




Third Base


Left Field


Center Field


Right Field


**The Pirates Lineup Is Set, But Who Takes Over In The Event Of An Injury?

**2015 Indianapolis Indians: Top Prospects, Roster Projections, And Position Battles

**Draft Prospect Watch: Impressive Debut From TCU’s Alex Young

Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.

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Anne Benson

I love this i need to come up with cool stuff for my blog

dr dng

Tim and anyone else….

Which one worries you the most?

Tristan Pinkster

Thanks for chart, here’s to hoping Kang can hit close .280 with some pop and cover 3 infield spots

Dennis Slavinsky

This piece is among the best works you’ve done. Informative and amusing at the same time. Keep up the good work!

dr dng

I agree, this is really great. The 3rd base one scares me.

Tim, want to try doing the same for the pitching staff
including the bull pen?


Tim ~ You may have even outdone yourself with this one; and that would be tough to do !


Since “if’s and’s or buts” don’t mean much to me, a flow chart does not mean much either, but I do appreciate all the hard work that went into it and understand that there are a lot of people into that type of info, good job Tim, something for everyone.

chuck conner

Tim, These are great flow charts. Loved the center field chart. It seems you used a smaller font for left field. (being old, need larger print) What about a flow chart on the pitchers? I think that is where your AAA team can help the majors the most.


Great work Tim, love this post!


The McCutchen/Clemente Bridge option is my personal favorite. Funny….and true !


THAT was a classic analogy. Tim ~ I always appreciate your writing and insights, but the parallel between the CLEMENTE Bridge and an injury to Cutch is about as true-yet-hiarious as you will find. THAT is actually how important Cutch is to this club.

YET, if Cutch does ….. (won’t mention it), there are actually others who can step up, stand in, and keep the winning ways (across the team). And THAT says it all for this franchise and F/O.

Scott Kliesen

Really cool flow chart Tim. Have to figure if Kang is demonstrating the ability to hit MLB pitching and Alvarez is injured or struggling, moving Walker to 1B and Kang to starting 2B has to be an option.

Lee Foo Young

Great job Tim. Now you’re gonna have to do it EVERY year! 🙂


Hilarious. Injuries to enough outfielders could potentially result in the collapse of the Pittsburgh economy, which in turn may create a global financial crisis. This should be brought to the attention of the Commissioner, so that appropriate suspensions can be levied against opposing pitchers hitting Pirate outfielders.


On the same level of importance as the Greek economy dilemma and it’s effect on the EU ….at least to all of us here.


I’m on IE and every time the recent banner changes the article is bouncing up and down, just about impossible to read.


Have the same problem with firefox, tried everything, can’t fix, never happened with the old format. This is the only site that the page/text bounces up and down.


Time to install a real browser like Chrome.


Chrome highly rated, lousy on my computers, all of them. Firefox has much more to offer.

chuck conner

I’m on Chrome…no bounce


I’m now on chrome and it’s still bouncing. this sucks

Lee Foo Young

or Firefox. heck, I didn’t even know there were people left who actually used IE…. 🙂 :):)


why yes. i DO want to see tabata play CF.


Lol, very cool! Tim, you should forward this to Huntington and Hurdle.


 Tim: So… I take it you’re a fan of the movie Primer?


While the depth across the board is great, it’s interesting that this might be the first year in a while where there isn’t that guaranteed impact player waiting in the wings (though, if Taillon shows he’s healthy, then my point is completely moot!!)

We’ve gotten pretty spoiled:
2009: Andrew McCutchen
2010: Pedro Alvarez
2011: Daniel Moskos, Tony Watson, Jeff Locke, Jared Hughes and Josh Harrison
2012: Starling Marte
2013: Gerrit Cole
2014: Gregory Polanco

Okay, so maybe 2011 didn’t have a lot of anticipation at the time (other than the “well, well, well Daniel Moskos is finally going to get promoted”)


And, I know not to get too depressed about it, because, they’ll pick right back where they were in 2016 with (hopefully) Josh Bell and Alen Hanson (if he’s not already promoted), and perhaps Tyler Glasnow in 2017….


i_i: I think you will see both Nick Kingham and Jameson Taillon in 2015, and that will mean that a trade has taken place involving up to 3 SP’s and 2RP’s. You may even see Bell and/or Hanson in 2015, and Glasnow is coming in June 2016.


emajy, I guess I don’t think of Kingham as an impact player (hope I’m wrong!), but hopefully will be a solid MLB pitcher. I think Kingham will get some spot starts with the Bucs in 2015 due to injury (I can’t imagine Liriano and Burnett both going every 5th day from opening day to the World Series without a possible trip to the DL).

I’m not so sure that we’ll see Taillon. The Pirates seem a bit slower to push their guys through than in the past (don’t forget that both Cole and Polanco came up because of injury).

I’m not sure the appearance of either will necessarily mean that a trade has occurred (like the days of trading McLouth so that McCutchen guy could play.)

I imagine the Pirates want full years in Indy for Bell and Hanson (though a Sept. call-up wouldn’t be totally out of the question.)

Also, I imagine Glasnow gets a full year in Altoona this year and a full year at Indy next year and then, quite possibly, starts 2017 in the Opening Day rotation.


Oh sure, don’t even bother making charts for the each member of the rotation, bullpen, and bench!! (I kid!) Great work, Tim!! I especially love the “Are You Sure?” question posed after asking once and saying yes to the question if you’d consider moving Alvarez back to 3rd.


Tim: Everything at a glance – very nice resource for all levels of followers – it has that Scout look.


As soon as my eyes stop spinning around like marbles in a can I will give this chart two thumbs up and a base hit.

Douglas Byrd

Haha! Awesome chart. I want to blow it up and put it on my office wall.


also please let’s give lambo a legit shot if something comes up


kube: First, the Pirates went to ST in 2014 with Andrew Lambo as our LH hitting first baseman – a very legit shot. He did not take advantage of the opportunity. Back to AAA where he was injured a lot, but still had a very productive year. It is now 2015 and the lineup is set and deep in talent. Therefore, if Lambo gets a legit chance, it means that somebody we were counting on has been injured.

With the Pirates, IMO, he is a placeholder at best and, if another opportunity presents itself, I think it will be for an AL Club looking for a LH hitting OF/DH/1B.

don moore

I think you’r being a bit harsh with Lambo as he’s only had 69 ML ab’s. Took years for Bautista, Moss, and Pierce to get going.


Stan,Guy….First time caller ,long time listener, love the show. And really enjoyed this flow chart. Thanks

Chris Hale

🙂 I like this. It actually does a good job of explaining all the different scenario’s Especially for the casual fan. Good Job Tim

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