As the Pittsburgh Pirates start to look to put together their 2023 roster this offseason, one thing to keep in mind is playing better defense behind their pitching staff.
Obviously they are going to want to improve on an offense that scored the fourth fewest runs in baseball, but something else to keep in mind is how that impacts the defensive side of things.
The Pirates rank among the worst when it comes to Outs Above Average (OAA) on Baseball Savant. Their team -20 OAA ranks 26th in all off baseball, and that’s with one of the best defenders in the game in Ke’Bryan Hayes.
Bryan Reynolds has the seventh worst OAA among all qualified outfielders with a -7 mark. While he has made some fantastic players with his length and incredible arm, Oneil Cruz also sits at an -8 OAA.
Outside of Hayes, the only other Pirate with a positive OAA among qualified fielders is Jack Suwinski at a +1.
The offense needs to get better, absolutely, but the defense can’t be ignored as well. Whether it’s bringing in from outside the organization or taking an extra focus on what they have internally, any wins added by the offense taking the next step forward, will be taken right away on the defensive side.
Bryan Reynolds Moved From Center
It was a move that you almost had to figure was coming, but didn’t really want to acknowledge. Reynolds played great in center field in 2021, but has really taken a step back in 2022.
Reynolds playing center field up to now was really ‘we didn’t have an ideal candidate until now’ move, but the Pirates are hoping that guy is going to be Ji-Hwan Bae. He’s already shown that his speed can be a game changer offensively, he will now look to make his mark in the field in center field.
Bae started seeing time in the outfield last year, and while his speed takes away some of the margin of error, there is still some room to grow overall.
As for Reynolds moving to left, long-term I always thought this was the better move for him. Easier on the legs, maybe extends the career a bit more, which could help him at the plate (he did go 2-for-4 with two walks). As they said on the broadcast as well, it does help having two centerfielders playing at PNC Park. With Bae’s speed and Reynolds experience, that could play in the Pirates advantage next year.
Highlight of The Day
Miggy 2 Bags!! pic.twitter.com/ySuqsUlS91
— Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) October 4, 2022
It looks like Miguel Andujar is making himself comfortable in the Pirates lineup, hitting another double, this one to left center field.
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Anthony began writing over 10 years ago, starting a personal blog to cover the 2011 MLB draft, where the Pirates selected first overall. After bouncing around many websites covering hockey, he refocused his attention to baseball, his first love when it comes to sports. He eventually found himself here at Pirates Prospects in late 2021, where he covers the team’s four full season minor league affiliates.