The Pittsburgh Pirates are fighting to finish the season with a winning record this year. However, they will have a very interesting decision for 2019.
If there is one player who raised his stock for the 2019 season it’s Adam Frazier. The Pittsburgh Pirates took advantage of Josh Harrison having an injury and started to play Frazier every day for the last month or so. All that Frazier has done is be the team’s best hitter since the all-star break, hitting over .320 since.
Pittsburgh Pirates General Manager Neal Huntington said that Frazier has earned the chance to play second base every day next season, which makes sense. Frazier has more than earned it with his performance this season. Meanwhile, Josh Harrison has seemed to fall out of favor and has a hefty $10.5 million club option for next season. With that, there is a $1 million buy out connected to Harrison, so the club will essentially save $9.5 million and still upgrade offensively at second base.
The other issue that is at play is that one of the Pittsburgh Pirates top infield prospects Kevin Kramer has been deemed big league ready. Kramer has been up since the beginning of September, and while he has struggled some, he also has shown some flashes of his potential. Meanwhile, Kramer has torn through both Double-A and Triple-A, so really there is not much left for him to gain by starting in the minors next year. For the Pittsburgh Pirates, Kramer has played both second and third base thus far. However, with Colin Moran being a left-handed bat, there likely is not a lot of time at third base for Kramer.
However, if Kramer plays off the bench is he really going to develop to his maximum potential? Most likely not, as young players with upside like Kramer need to get regular at-bats. One can see the difference in players who do play every day. Look at Kevin Newman, since he has taken the everyday shortstop role over from Jordy Mercer he has found himself on base a lot more. The same opportunity needs to be given to Kramer before he is deemed a bench player.
So what the Pittsburgh Pirates should do next season has become fairly obvious. With Gregory Polanco undergoing shoulder surgery he likely will miss the beginning of the 2019 season. The Pittsburgh Pirates should have Adam Frazier be the opening day right fielder. In doing so, you keep his bat in the lineup at a position that he has played. Meanwhile, this will allow Kevin Kramer to be the everyday second baseman and for him to prove if he is ready to be an everyday big league player. If he does not perform, then he can be sent down.