The Pittsburgh Pirates have six left fielders without having one

PITTSBURGH, PA - JULY 16: Adam Frazier
PITTSBURGH, PA - JULY 16: Adam Frazier /

After recent additions the Pittsburgh Pirates have six options for left field, but do they really have one at all?

An old football adage says ‘if you have two quarterbacks, you don’t really have one.’ Well, in the case of the Pittsburgh Pirates this applies to left field and instead of having two, the Pirates have six.

Despite having six left fielders, do the Pittsburgh Pirates even have one? Well, right now, it appears that the answer to that question very well may be no.

When Spring Training began the left field position for the Pittsburgh Pirates was a battle between Adam Frazier, Jordan Luplow, and Sean Rodriguez. Since the start of Spring Training, the Pirates have signed Daniel Nava and Michael Saunders to minor league contracts while also trading for Bryce Brentz.

These moves have thrust Nava, Saunders, and Brentz into the battle for left field. Nava, however, has been sidelined the past few days due to back discomfort.

Despite having six players battling for the left field job, the Pittsburgh Pirates lack a true starting left fielder. This is an issue that the team could have, and quite frankly should have, addressed by signing a free agent such as Jarrod Dyson, Carlos Gonzalez, or Seth Smith.

While Dyson is now off the board to the Arizona Diamondbacks, there is no reason to expect the team to pursue Gonzalez or Smith. Signing a free agent of that caliber simply would not fit with what the Pirates have done this offseason.

When looking at the team’s six internal options, things are less than rosy.

The odds on favorite to win the job would be Adam Frazier. However, Frazier is an average at best hitter, owning a lifetime .325 wOBA and 100 wRC+, who is best suited as a bench player. Jordan Luplow probably needs more time at Triple-A and Sean Rodriguez is a career utility man.

When looking at the new additions, Daniel Nava has always had health issues and already is battling back problems. Also, like Frazier, he is an average at best hitter with a lifetime .329 wOBA and a wRC+ of 104. While Michael Saunders was an American League All-Star when he belted 24 home runs to go with a .358 wOBA and a 117 wRC+ in 2016, he was horrible with the Phillies in 2017 and had to settle for a minor league contract this offseason for a reason.

That leaves Bryce Brentz. The former top-100 prospect from his days with the Boston Red Sox has great power potential. In his minor league career owns a .468 slugging percentage and 127 home runs. This includes having hit 31 home runs at Triple-A last season, while also winning the Triple-A Home Run Derby.

This issue with Brentz, however, is that he has never seen extended playing time in the Major Leagues. He owns just 90 career plate appearances in the Majors, with none having come since 2016.

If it were my call, I would roll with Brentz in left field. He has the highest ceiling and greatest potential of any of the players in the mix. Brentz could potentially be a long-term fix for the Pirates. He might be Brad Eldred, Jose Bautista, or somewhere in between, like Garrett Jones, in that he just needs a chance to play on a daily basis. The only way to find this out though is to give him his opportunity.

Next: Pirate news & notes: February 21

The other player in this equation is top hitting prospect Austin Meadows. However, there is no chance Meadows will break camp with the team. For a variety of reasons, he will start the season at Triple-A. While Meadows very well may be the team’s left fielder at some point this summer, the Bucs still should have addressed the position better this offseason.

Currently, the Pittsburgh Pirates have six options to be their starting left fielder. These six players consist of two utility bench players, a fourth outfielder, an over-the-hill outfielder with a bad back, and a pair of unproven prospects. Despite having six players competing for the left field job, the Pirates very well may not even have one left fielder.