The Pittsburgh Pirates have made a point of emphasis in improving one of their biggest holes from 2022, first base. Through trades, waiver claims and a free agent pickup, the Pirates addressed their statistically worst position, and invested into making it better.
With that in mind, what could the Pirates look to add the rest of the offseason? I took a look at FanGraphs and pulled up how each position performed when it comes to WAR and wRC+ and how they ranked against the rest of the league.
|Position||WAR (Rank)||wRC+/xFIP (Rank)|
|Catcher||0.1 (21st)||52 (30th)|
|First Base||-3.0 (30th)||59 (30th)|
|Second Base||0.6 (25th)||78 (24th)|
|Third Base||3.2 (19th)||90 (23rd)|
|Shortstop||2.5 (16th)||92 (15th)|
|Left Field||1.9 (16th)||85 (27th)|
|Center Field||3.2 (13th)||119 (5th)|
|Right Field||0.0 (28th)||81 (28th)|
|Designated Hitter||-0.9 (25th)||84 (28th)|
|Starting Pitcher||7.7 (23rd)||4.26 (22nd)|
|Relief Pitcher||1.8 (24th)||4.45 (29th)|
A deeper team thanks to the additions of Ji-Man Choi, Carlos Santana, and potentially Lewin Diaz should in turn help the DH position by default and that’s even before they look at potentially bringing in anyone else.
Catcher was the worst producing unit when it comes to wRC+, and while it remains the only hitting position where defense is still the priority, finishing last isn’t ideal. Despite lack of production offensively, they still finished on the plus side of WAR. It isn’t a big secret that the Pirates would like to bring back Roberto Perez, as a bridge to a couple of their top prospects.
That could certainly help both categories.
Center field was a strength for the team, backed by Bryan Reynolds, but even with his help the outfield as a whole ranked in the bottom third in both WAR (3.2, 24th) and wRC+ (91, 23rd). The sheer number of options the Pirates have currently on their 40-man makes it seem that bringing in outside help is unlikely, unless the right player comes along.
That could be the same with second base, although it graded as one of their worst positions, there is a current log jam on the 40-man that could prevent them from adding to the roster.
The next logical choice would be for the pitching staff. The bullpen should get some added help internally with David Bednar an offseason to get back to 100%, plus the return of Yerry De Los Santos and Colin Holderman. That’ll go a long way in helping a bullpen that finished 29th in xFIP last season.
The Pirates took a good step forward, committing over $10 million to fix one of their biggest glaring holes. Ben Cherington said that the payroll should go up this season so there is more work to be done. In year four of their ‘rebuild’ this is the time that would be perfect to dip into free agency and spend to sure up some weak spots, with them saving on the cost-effective prospects on pre-and-early arbitration deals.
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First Pitch goes up on Monday at noon, recapping the previous week and previewing what we’ve got ahead on the site this week.