Pittsburgh Pirates: Projecting the Team’s Bench

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PITTSBURGH, PA – SEPTEMBER 24: Erik Gonzalez #2 of the Pittsburgh Pirates in action during the game against the Chicago Cubs at PNC Park on September 24, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA – SEPTEMBER 24: Erik Gonzalez #2 of the Pittsburgh Pirates in action during the game against the Chicago Cubs at PNC Park on September 24, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) /

Utility infielder Erik Gonzalez

One of the final trade Neal Huntington made as general manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates saw the team acquire Erik Gonzalez from the Cleveland Indians in November 2018. When the move was made, the Pirates were in the market for a new starting shortstop. Well, that job would eventually be won by Gonzalez in Spring Training, largely due to his glove.

As you know, things did not work out for Gonzalez. After breaking his collarbone on April 17 last season, the door was opened up at shortstop. Eventually, Kevin Newman took the bull by the horns and the job became his. Now, Gonzalez will be looking to make his impact as a utility infielder.

While his bat is not as a poor as Riddle’s, he is still a glove first player. He has hit for a .260/.295/.354 slash line to go with a 71 wRC+ and .104 ISO in 431 plate appearances at the MLB level. But he does make solid contact owning a league average 87.3 MPH exit velocity for his career and an above league average 36.4% hard contact rate.

With the glove, Gonzalez is a very valuable player.  He has a lifetime +4 DRS and +1 OAA at shortstop, +1 DRS and +2 OAA at second base and a +1 DRS and an OAA of 0 at third base. If necessary, Gonzalez can dabble in the outfield as well.

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