Pittsburgh Pirates: Lets Build A Lineup

Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /
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Pittsburgh Pirates Josh Bell
Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

The leadoff hitter should be one of the teams three best hitters according to The Book.  Josh Bell actually projects to be the fourth best, but his .336 projected wOBA is not that much different from Jung Ho Kang‘s projected wOBA of .337, or even Marte’s projected .338 wOBA.

The difference comes in their on-base percentages.  Jung Ho Kang is a power hitting threat, with a low on-base projection (.337).  Kang has posted a .355 on-base and a .354 on-base on prior years, but even if Kang was projected to have a high on-base, he’d be best suited for the middle of the order.

Marte has posted a career on-base of .345, including a .362 on-base percentage last year.  He does not walk often, just 4.7 percent in his career.  He seems to get hit a lot, 3.2 percent of his plate appearances have ended in a HBP, and for reference, only 0.86 percent of plate appearances have ended up in a HBP since 2012.

That leaves us with Josh Bell.  Bell is projected to have a .355 on-base, .425 slugging percentage, and a .144 isolated power.  His projections favor him having more on-base skills than power skills, a 10.0 percent walk rate to a 2.3 percent home run rate.

Bell does not run all that well, even posted a -1.8 BsR in a small sample last year.  But Bell gets on base, does not project to have a higher power rate next year, so putting him as the table setter is best.