Rum Bunter’s 2019 Pittsburgh Pirates Staff Preview: Nitti
Team MVP – Adam Frazier
Ambitious? Yes. Impossible? No.
With Josh Harrison out of the picture, Adam Frazier will open this season as the Pirates leadoff man and starting second baseman.
In his first three seasons, Frazier has served as a valuable commodity for manager Clint Hurdle, serving mostly as a utility man. So far in his young career, the Georgia native owns a .280 batting average and a .345 on-base percentage in 966 plate appearances.
Will Frazier be the best hitter on the team in 2019? Unlikely. Will Frazier be the best fielder on the team in 2019? Doubtful. Will Frazier be the best base stealer on the team in 2019? No. What he will be is a crucial table-setter for a Pirates team that has several capable run-producers in the middle of the lineup.
Like any team, the Pirates will probably have their fair share of injuries throughout the season, and with Frazier’s ability to play all over the infield, as well as all three outfield spots, he can shift around to wherever the team needs while remaining at the top of the order day-in and day-out. Plus, with his success hitting against left-handed pitchers as a left-handed batter (.286 vs LHP in 147 ABs), the 27-year-old could play close to the full 162 games in 2019.
Coming off a spring training in which Frazier hit .346 with a .419 OBP in 12 games, as well as only six strikeouts, don’t be surprised if the former sixth round pick plays the most integral role in the Pirates success moving forward.