Predicting The Pittsburgh Pirates Opening Day Roster
For the Pittsburgh Pirates, the bench remains unsettled. Three players are locks to be members of the bench on Opening Day. These three players are Adam Frazier, Chris Stewart (if healthy), and John Jaso.
Adam Frazier will be the Pirates’ top super utility man as Frazier can play third base, shortstop, second base, and the corner outfield positions. John Jaso will primarily be the team’s backup first baseman and go to pinch hitter, however, he can also play third base and some right field. Meanwhile, for the fourth consecutive season, Chris StTewart will be the team’s backup backstop.
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This leaves two spots on the Pirate bench. Currently, the Pirates have six players still in camp that are “competing” for this spot. The reason that competing was put in quotes is because three of these players have no shot at making the team.
These three players are catchers Jackson Williams and Jacob Stallings, and outfielder Danny Ortiz. The only reason these players are still in camp is due to the Pirates taking it easy on Chris Stewart (hamstring) and Gregory Polanco (shoulder) the final week of camp.
Ultimately, that leaves three players competing for two spots. Utility men Alen Hanson and Phil Gosselin, and first baseman/outfielder Jose Osuna are these three players.
In the end, Pirate fans can expect the final two bench spots to go to Hanson and Gosselin. And this is for two different reasons.
First off, Alen Hanson is out of options. Therefore, he can not be sent to Triple-A without first clearing waivers. This combined with a strong spring most likely guarantees him a spot on the bench.
Secondly, the Pirates need a backup shortstop. Out of the three bench players being discussed that can play shortstop (Adam Frazier, Alen Hanson, and Phil Gosselin) Gosselin is the best of the three. For this reason, Gosselin will most likely earn the other bench spot.
Jose Osuna is the best hitter of these three players and has the highest ceiling as a Major League hitter. He will almost assuredly make his Major League debut at some point in 2017. That debut, however, most likely will not come as being part of the Opening Day roster.