Pittsburgh Pirates Need to Stay Hot until the All-Star Break

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Pittsburgh Pirates
CHICAGO, IL – SEPTEMBER 25: (L-R) Starling Marte #6, Pablo Reyes #15, and Corey Dickerson #12 of the Pittsburgh Pirates celebrate their win over the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on September 25, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. The Pittsburgh Pirates won 6-0. (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images) /

Managing the Outfield

The Pirates have an excess of players that can play in the outfield. Recently, it does not seem like  there is a wrong choice for Hurdle to make when choosing who to start in the outfield. But, this mindset can easily lead to the team losing close games. Hurdle should be starting Bryan Reynolds, Cory Dickerson, and Starling Marte in the outfield everyday. There are a few reasons for going this route.

To start, having both Reynolds and Marte hitting in the 2nd and 3rd spot for the Pirates gives the team a beautiful combination of speed and on-base percentage ahead of Josh Bell – who is currently heating up again. Starting Melky Cabrera, a reinstated Gregory Polanco, Jason Martin (if he is called back up), or even Jose Osuna creates a void in either the 2nd or 3rd spot that is better filled by Marte or Reynolds.

In addition, with Dickerson’s early season injury, it is easy to forget the caliber of Dickerson’s play. Dickerson is by far the most accomplished outfielder on the Pirates roster as he has hit 25+ home runs in a single season, hit for .300 in a full season, and has earned a gold glove. He is also immune to the typical right/left splits. Dickerson hit .293 against LHP and .302 against RHP last season. Dickerson would be the best outfielder on many MLB rosters and needs to be starting every day for the Pirates.

As good as the Melkman has played this season (.308/.342/.431/.774), Cabrera has especially shined as a pinch hitter (.429/.556/.643/1.198). With the team getting healthy, Cabrera should become Hurdle’s go to pinch hitter and should not be starting key games in the outfield. Just like Felipe Vazquez should be used in the highest-leverage inning every game, Cabrera should be taking the highest leverage pinch hitting at bat every single game.