Rum Bunter 2020 Pittsburgh Pirates Staff Predictions: Noah

BRADENTON, FL- FEBRUARY 22: Manager Derek Shelton #17 of the Pittsburgh Pirates looks on during a game against the Minnesota Twins on February 21, 2020 at LECOM Park in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images)
BRADENTON, FL- FEBRUARY 22: Manager Derek Shelton #17 of the Pittsburgh Pirates looks on during a game against the Minnesota Twins on February 21, 2020 at LECOM Park in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images) /
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PITTSBURGH, PA – JULY 07: Kevin Newman #27 of the Pittsburgh Pirates takes infield practice during summer workouts at PNC Park on July 7, 2020 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA – JULY 07: Kevin Newman #27 of the Pittsburgh Pirates takes infield practice during summer workouts at PNC Park on July 7, 2020 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /

Best Position: Shortstop

When you look at the amount of young talent the Pittsburgh Pirates have at shortstop, you can see why it can be their best position on the diamond. For now, Kevin Newman will start out as the team’s primary option at short. Although he lacks the defense, being the 5th worst defender in baseball at the position with -7 DRS, -5.2 UZR, and -4 range runs above average, Newman definitely had a fairly good bat. Through 531 plate appearances, Newman hit .308/.353/.446 with a dozen home runs, 20 doubles, all putting together a 111 OPS+ and 110 wRC+. Newman also stole 16 bases.

But the hope is that Cole Tucker will eventually take over at shortstop. Tucker is an outstanding defender, no question about it. Through just the 318.2 innings he got at the MLB level at short, Tucker had +2 DRS, a 4.6 UZR/150 and 0.3 range runs above average. FanGraphs gives him a 55 future fielding grade with a 70 throwing grade as well. However, Tucker has also shown some promise with the bat at the major league level. Despite his overall sub-par numbers at Triple-A, he isn’t one you should really worry about offensively. Tucker still walked at a strong 10.8% last year at Triple-A, with an above average hard hit rate in the Majors. Along with that, Tucker also looked to get a lot more familiar with major league pitching as the season went on. Through his final 64 plate appearances of the season, the switch hitter had a .294/.359/.517 line.

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