Pittsburgh Pirates: Bullpen Has Strong Weekend & Other Takeaways From Series Win In Miami

MIAMI, FL - JUNE 16: Gregory Polanco #25 of the Pittsburgh Pirates high fives Kevin Newman #27 after defeating the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on June 16, 2019 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - JUNE 16: Gregory Polanco #25 of the Pittsburgh Pirates high fives Kevin Newman #27 after defeating the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on June 16, 2019 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images) /
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MIAMI, FL – JUNE 14: Kevin Newman #27 of the Pittsburgh Pirates throws to first in the second inning against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on June 14, 2019 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL – JUNE 14: Kevin Newman #27 of the Pittsburgh Pirates throws to first in the second inning against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on June 14, 2019 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

Kevin Newman has locked down the lead off spot in the lineup

Kevin Newman started the season as a utility infielder. 71 games into the season, a Erik Gonzalez broken collarbone combined with Newman’s played as turned him into the team’s starting shortstop.

Additionally, the former 1st round pick has become the Pirate lead off hitter. Batting lead off is a job Newman currently has a stranglehold on.

After another multi-hit performance in Sunday’s victory Newman now owns a healthy .315/.364/.430 slash line this season. His walk rate is 6.8%, his strikeout rate is just 13.6%, and he owns a 109 wRC+. He’s also stolen 4 bases as he’s used his speed element.

At the top of the lineup Newman has consistently given the Pirates good at bats while being a tough out. He has done a great job of seeing pitches from the lead off spot, which gives the rest of the lineup a good chance to see what the opposing pitcher has to offer that day. His shortstop defense has also come a long way this season, as he rates outs positively as a defender.

After struggling mightily in 2018, Newman has been one of the team’s biggest surprises in 2019. He is starting to play the way you would expect a 1st round pick to play.

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