Who heads north on March 28th?
When the regular season begins the Pirates could always carry four bench players and eight relievers as they did last season. But, it is tough to envision that happening if they carry three catchers. If they do risk losing Stallings on waivers, though, then it becomes a stronger possibility.
That said, right now signs point toward the team carrying seven relievers and five bench players to start the season. The team having a better, deeper, and more reliable bullpen than this team a year ago is a factor, too.
As the season progresses the Pirate bench, like the bench of every team across baseball, will change. Injuries, ineffectiveness, and players forcing the door open at the Triple-A level will lead to changes throughout the season. The team may even make additions to the roster between now and Opening Day that could change the makeup of the bench as well.
However, to start the 2019 season, look for the Pirate bench to consist of the below prediction.
Opening Day bench prediction:
C – Elias Diaz, Jacob Stallings
UTL – Kevin Newman
3B – Colin Moran/Jung Ho Kang
OF – Melky Cabrera