The two and three spots
The second spot in the lineup could be the most exciting spot for Pirate fans in 2021, as it could be occupied by rookie phenom Ke’Bryan Hayes. After being called up in September of the 2020 season, Hayes started a few games in the seven spot for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
It didn’t take long though for manager Derek Shelton to realize that Hayes needed to be hitting higher in the order. After moving Hayes to the two spot, he went on to hit .442/.510/.767 over a 12 game stretch. There is little doubt in my mind that Hayes should be a lock to continue hitting in the two after posting those numbers.
Hayes is the only player on the current roster that should be a lock for being part of the next winning Pirate team. My goal for Hayes is to see a solid year of growth and development at the Big League level – while maintaining his outstanding glovework.
Third in the lineup could then be outfielder Bryan Reynolds who struggled at the plate in 2020, slashing .189/.275/.357/.632. On a better team, Reynolds might be forced to earn back a spot at the top of the lineup. But the reality is Reynolds is arguably the best pure hitter on the current Pirate roster. In 2019 he put up considerably better numbers, slashing .314/.377/.503/.880 while batting predominantly within the top three spots in the lineup.
Much like Newman, Reynolds is in an interesting spot contract-wise for the Pirates. Signed through 2025, Reynolds provides Cherington with a wide range of options during a multi-year rebuild. Cherington will want to see as much of Reynolds as possible in 2021 to determine if the 2019 Reynolds can resurface. My hope is that Reynolds can replicate some of his 2019 magic and forces Cherington to consider making Reynolds part of the winning club through an offseason contract extension.