The Pittsburgh Pirates are officially one week into their altered 2020 season. So far, only one player has yet to be moved from his position.
The Pittsburgh Pirates had quite the roller coaster of an opening week. They have put together two losing series so far and have a record of 2-4. Meanwhile, their bullpen completely imploded and blew a four-run lead, they have placed two relievers on the Injured List, and have no real source of offense so far. Even the team’s core players like Bryan Reynolds, Kevin Newman, and Josh Bell have gotten off to slow starts.
With so many players not coming out of the gates hot, Derek Shelton has tried to get other players involved. He has had a steady diet of bench players making appearances, especially infielders. So far, Colin Moran, Jose Osuna, Newman, Phillip Evans, Bell, and Erik Gonzalez have all split time between shortstop, third base, and first base.
This list does not include Cole Tucker, who is likely the team’s best glove at shortstop. Instead, Tucker has had to help fill in the outfield. When Gregory Polanco did not start the year with the team, Shelton took the opportunity to get Tucker at-bats by getting him outfield reps. Still, it was odd to see the team put Tucker in the outfield when he really has no outfield experience and is very gifted in the infield.
Many thought the team would move Adam Frazier to the outfield and put Kevin Newman at second base. This whole conversation actually started in the offseason when Adam Frazier’s name was coming up in trade rumors.
Could that be why Adam Frazier is still getting the starts at second base and, in turn, allowing Newman and Gonzalez to get the reps at shortstop? The team would most certainly be better served with Tucker’s glove at shortstop than in the outfield. Furthermore, Frazier has had experience playing the outfield at PNC which should give him a defensive advantage over Tucker.
What it comes down to is that the Pittsburgh Pirates are likely showcasing Adam Frazier at second base. Frazier, who has been a successful utility man in his career, will be more valuable if he is viewed as an everyday second baseman. Last year he made great strides with the glove and has been around an average hitter for most of his career.
Out of all the players who have been subbed in and out of the lineup, Adam Frazier is one of the few that has yet to sit. Furthermore, he is the only infielder that has not been asked to move off his position. Keep in mind Frazier is off to a 3-24 start, so it’s not exactly like he is hot and his bat needs to be in the lineup. Additionally, Shelton has sat and mixed up the other players who have gotten off to slow starts, so why not Frazier?
There are plenty of teams that could use second base help. In baseball, it is one of the thinnest position groups across the league. Adam Frazier has turned into a very capable defender and he is a left-handed bat that can be plugged into a lineup anywhere. With the Pittsburgh Pirates clearly lacking talent and Adam Frazier likely not being a part of the team’s future window, Frazier very well could be a piece moved this season.
*The Oakland Athletics showed the most interest in Frazier this offseason.