Three Potential Pirate Players That Could Be Cut When Rosters Downsize
By Noah Wright
Utility Man Erik Gonzalez
Erik Gonzalez was acquired by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 2018-2019 off-season, and he was their starting shortstop to open the 2019 season. But aside from defensive utility, which is something the Pittsburgh Pirates have a lot of, Gonzalez could potentially be on the chopping block soon.
Gonzalez last year batted just .254/.301/.317 with four doubles, a triple and a home run in 156 plate appearances. All told having a 65 OPS+ and 59 wRC+. A hard collision with former center fielder Starling Marte caused Gonzalez to miss a good chunk of the 2019 season recovering from injury. However, in the final month of the season, Gonzalez did hit for a much more palatable .322/.349/.407 line and 100 wRC+ in his final 63 plate appearances of 2019, overall being a league average batter.
Gonzalez was a help defensively though. At shortstop, the primary position he played in 2019, Gonzalez had +3 DRS, a 1.3 UZR and 1.1 range runs above average. Plus he was in the top 85th percentile of sprint speed with a 28.6 feet/second dash. He also has experience at third base, second base, first base, and could even play some left field.
But Gonzalez doesn’t really do anything that neither Cole Tucker or Phillip Evans can’t do and provide more value doing. Both Tucker and Evans can play wherever on the infield, and occasionally in the outfield as well. With Evans getting off to a hot start in 2020, and Gonzalez only having one single through six plate appearances/at bats, he could be one of the Pirates to be considered to be cut very soon.