Pittsburgh Pirates: A Big Weekend For Kevin Newman & Other Takeaways From Sweep Of Cincy
By Marty Leap
It was a good – and needed – weekend for Kevin Newman
Entering the weekend Pirate rookie Kevin Newman was in a rut. In the month of August he was slashing .231/.286/.323. He had collected just three extra base hits and struck out in 14.3% of his bats. While this strikeout rate is still below league average, it is higher than his season long strikeout rate of 12.1%.
This weekend, however, Newman appeared to get back on track with a strong series against the Reds. Newman made two starts at shortstop over the weekend and one at second base. Regardless of his position in the field, Newman found himself hitting the ball and getting on base throughout the weekend.
Newman was 5-for-14 with a double and two walks over the weekend. In his 16 trips to the plate he struck out just once. He also stole a pair of bases. Following his weekend performance Newman is slashing .302/.348/.414 on the season with a 102 wRC+. While you would like to see a little more power from Newman, if he can be a .350 OBP player with a speed element to his game and strong defense up the middle of the infield then he will fulfill his billing as a former first round draft pick.
While the Pirates have nothing left to play for over the final five weeks of the season, watching young players such as Newman is what Pirate fan will have to look forward to. Hopefully, this weekend was Newman getting back on track on his way to finishing his rookie season on a high note.