Rum Bunter’s 2018 Pittsburgh Pirates Preview: Marty

PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 03: Starling Marte
PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 03: Starling Marte /
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Team Rookie of the Year – Colin Moran

In my opinion, this was the easiest prediction of them all. Partially due to the lack of rookies on the projected Opening Day, and partially due to the fact that I believe Colin Moran will be really good for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The prized jewel of the Gerrit Cole trade, Moran is a top-100 prospect and former 6th overall selection in the draft. Prior to the start of the 2017 season, Moran changed his swing and it worked wonders for him. These swing changes led to the slugging third baseman posting a .323 ISO, .390 wOBA, 133 wRC+, and slugging .543 while accumulating 34 extra base hits in 338 plate appearances at Triple-A.

Additionally, Moran continued to show a great eye at the plate and be a strong on-base player in 2017. Moran posted a .373 on-base percentage at Triple-A in 2017, raising his career on-base percentage in the minor leagues to a healthy .350.

This spring, Colin Moran has continued to look like the new and improved hitter he was a year ago. He has had a great eye at the plate, he has been stinging the ball, and he has been hitting it to all fields. This had led to Moran posting a .360 on-base percentage while collected 3 doubles in Grapefruit League action.

Last season Moran seemed ready to break out at the Major League level. However, he hit a ball into his face causing multiple breaks and fractures that led to him spending over two months on the disabled list. In his 12 plate appearances with the Astros he had 4 hits including a home run, a triple, and he drew a pair of walks.

Not only do I expect Colin Moran to the Pirates’ rookie of the year, it would not be a surprise to see him compete for the National League Rookie of the Year Award either.