Pittsburgh Pirates: Three Bold Predictions For 2021

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 24: Colin Moran #19 of the Pittsburgh Pirates rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run in the first inning during the game against the Chicago Cubs at PNC Park on September 24, 2020 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 24: Colin Moran #19 of the Pittsburgh Pirates rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run in the first inning during the game against the Chicago Cubs at PNC Park on September 24, 2020 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
2 of 3
Next
Aug 13, 2020; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman Colin Moran (19) reacts as he rounds third base after hitting a solo home run against the Cincinnati Redsduring the first inning at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 13, 2020; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman Colin Moran (19) reacts as he rounds third base after hitting a solo home run against the Cincinnati Redsduring the first inning at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports /

Colin Moran Fills The Power Void Josh Bell Leaves Behind

Speaking of Colin Moran, I think that his 2020 power surge wasn’t just a fluke, but he can continue to build off of it. Moran’s first two years in Pittsburgh were average offensively and poor defensively. He was more of a contact hitter through 2018 and 2019, hitting .277/.331/.419 with a .319 wOBA and 98 wRC+ through his first 968 plate appearances in a Bucco uniform. He didn’t show much power swatting just 24 home runs and posting a .142 isolated slugging percentage.

Then there was his defense at third base. Moran was not just the worst defender at his position, but one of the worst in all of baseball, regardless of position. Moran recorded -32 DRS, a -12.2 UZR/150 and -11.7 range runs above average at the hot corner. With star prospect Ke’Bryan Hayes looking to prove his 2020 wasn’t just a fluke, Moran will move over to the other side of the diamond.

Last season, Moran saw his power output rise significantly. In 200 plate appearances, Moran nearly hit half the total amount of home runs he had between 2018 and 2019, smacking 10 long balls. Overall, he hit .247/.325/.472 with a .340 wOBA, 113 wRC+ and .225 isolated slugging mark.

Moran demolished the baseball when he made contact posting a 91.9 MPH exit velo which was in the top 89th percentile. He also made hard contact 47.2% of the time which was in the top 86th percentile. Moran has an expected slugging percentage of .480 for the season while having an xBA that represents a near identical mark to his actual BA (.255) and xwOBA that nearly matches his actual wOBA (.336).

Moran clearly has the power to become a power hitter. I think that he takes that next step and can fill the power void that the Josh Bell trade is leaving behind. Last season, the Pittsburgh Pirates were among the worst teams in terms of power, but Moran can help boost those numbers.

facebooktwitterreddit