Projecting the Pittsburgh Pirates Opening Day Lineup

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PITTSBURGH, PA – SEPTEMBER 18: Colin Moran #19 of the Pittsburgh Pirates in action during the game against the Seattle Mariners at PNC Park on September 18, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA – SEPTEMBER 18: Colin Moran #19 of the Pittsburgh Pirates in action during the game against the Seattle Mariners at PNC Park on September 18, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) /

Third Base

While it’s not what most fans of the Pittsburgh Pirates wanted to hear, new manager Derek Shelton stated Colin Moran will get the majority of the nods at third base for the team in 2020. That means he’ll be the Opening Day third baseman unless an injury occurs.

This is a bit of a disappointing statement. Moran only batted .277/.322/.429 with 13 home runs and 30 doubles in 2019. He also had a 23.3% strikeout rate to go with a weak 6% walk rate. All told, he had a 97 OPS+ and 94 wRC+. That might have been passable production at the plate if Moran was a good fielder, which he isn’t.

Moran had -21 DRS, a -8.8 UZR and -5.2 range runs above average. Among players with at least 800 innings at the hot corner, he ranked last in DRS, second to last in UZR and third to last in range runs.

Like with Newman, Moran might open the season as the team’s primary answer at third base for now, but I say for now because it’s more than likely that they’ll only stick with Moran until Ke’Bryan Hayes can be called up. For now, Hayes will probably be optioned for service time reasons. However, Hayes could easily replace Moran’s offensive work, and is already one of the best professional third basemen defensively.

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