Jack Suwinski Working to Prove He Belongs in the Majors

When Jack Suwinski was rushed to the majors by the Pirates on April 26, it was not clear how long he would stick in the big leagues. Suwinski was brought up in a bit of an emergency situation with Bryan Reynolds and Cole Tucker going on the COVID injured list just hours before the contest.

However, in just two and a half weeks, Suwinski has provided a steadying factor, continuing to get starts in the outfield.

While the overall numbers may not indicate his value to the team, Pirates manager Derek Shelton has seen Suwinski’s worth to be well beyond his years and experience.

“I don’t think his numbers indicate how well he handles his at-bats,” Shelton said. “I would be hard pressed to say that there have been more than two at bats where he has been off balance or looked like he hasn’t belonged. They have been consistent.”

With just over 500 plate appearances and 134 games above High-A, the 23-year-old Suwinski is a bit short in the tooth. However, as Shelton stated, he has not hinted at that at all between the lines.

Much of the quality in his at bats comes from pitch recognition and sticking to what he knows works.

“I feel good,” Suwinski said. “I feel like I am putting some pretty good swings on the ball. Pitches that I want to hit, I am swinging at, and laying off some of the ones that I don’t want to. I am going up, sticking to my approach, and following my plan to put together some competitive ABs.”

This is not always the easiest discipline to stick to for such a young player. At the Double-A level, Suwinski certainly saw some top prospect pitchers. However, he had not seen anything close to the seasoned hurlers that he faces on a daily basis now.

For Suwinski, this has been one of the larger adjustments in skipping over Triple-A and joining the Pirates at such a raw age.

“You come here, and everyone is a great player,” Suwinski said. “All of the pitchers are really sharp, they know what they are doing with what they have…It has been an adjustment seeing them. They are not going to make many mistakes. It’s about just being able to take advantage of that, trusting your plan, and trusting your abilities.”

In the last week, this trust has paid off, as Suwinski has popped his first two Major League home runs.

In the beginning, it didn’t seem that Suwinski would remain long in the big leagues. His play and veteran-like outlook should continue to get him more time to develop his game at the highest level.

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jedeweese

If he starts jacking over and thumping the Clemente wall…

NMR

Short in the tooth, love it Ryan.

Discipline/approach seems like almost certainly the defining factor for whether or not a kid is well-suited to make quick jumps from the upper levels to the big leagues. Vast difference between Suwinski and Cruz, for instance.

mpg43952

Waiting for and swinging at pitches you can actually hit, what a development!

chappy

I mentioned this in passing in another thread, but this is the perfect place to ask: how and why does Fangraphs have Suwinski’s fielding rates at a 20? I haven’t been able to watch any games with him in it yet, but when I have, I have seen nothing to suggest this is a fair grade.

Mblee24

Yeah I’d would say he has fielded well so far. Only thing I can tell is his arm does look weak. But other than that appears he gets good reads on the ball. And he appears to be above average speed.

Danatural08

Good question, same with a really low speed rating, yet FG has Suwinski with a positive .1 WAR, carried by his .6 Defensive value, &.2 Bsr values

MWT

I think this is the great debate between new school and old school. The “data” and analytics don’t suggest that he’s a good fielder and cite him having limited range/weaker throwing arm/etc., but fundamentally he’s done everything right since he’s been called up.

Mblee24

I’m encouraged by what I’ve seen. Numbers aren’t pretty but I think he’s still figuring it out. I’d give him a couple more weeks to see if he can start to get that average and ops up. If he doesn’t I’d turn to Mitchell, they gotta give that man a shot to see if he can stick. I like what I’m seeing from Mitchell in triple a.

omarvelous

Mitchell really should be getting the shot with the Pirates right now, not Suwinski.

Mblee24

I agree, but the issue is he isn’t on the 40 man. But I think they have plenty of dead wait to DFA to add him.

PiratePrimate

I’d give him a couple hundred more AB’s rather than a couple weeks before any kind of evaluation is made.

Mblee24

He was in double A. I wouldn’t be done with him I’d just have him work on what he needs to succeed in the bigs. A 570 ops is not gonna do it and Mitchell deserves a shot soon. And I don’t want them splitting time. But if he gets hot here I’m all for him sticking around. You can hurt a guys development by letting him struggle too much in the bigs.

jedeweese

He was my dark horse candidate to start the season. I am happy for him.

emjayinTN

With Alford no longer in the picture, and Swaggerty, Fraizer and Smith-Njigba dropping back, Suwinski and Mitchell look like the 2 OF’s to be with the team at the trading deadline. Gamel is a hot ticket right now and may just be traded a lot earlier than the deadline. Suwinski has some CF capabilities, and after those two, Connor Scott, another kid with CF capabilities, may deserve a look

RAS TN

He needs to play every day at a set outfield position(RF) and see what he can do…

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