Pittsburgh Pirates: MLB.com Projects Opening Day Roster

Saturday afternoon, MLB.com reporter Jake Crouse took his stab at predicting the Opening Day roster for the Pittsburgh Pirates

Before we get into the meat and potatoes of why I’m here, we need to discuss all of the recent support I have received since joining Rum Bunter again. As some of you know, I got into a deep depression and honestly thought about leaving writing behind. Thanks to some of you guys and my family and friends, I’m here and couldn’t be happier with the love I’ve received now that I am writing about the Pittsburgh Pirates again.

With the first game of spring quickly approaching for the Pittsburgh Pirates and every other MLB team, it’s only natural that sites try to predict Opening Day lineups.

Last week, I gave my opinion on Bleacher Reports crack at guessing the Opening Day lineup for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Now, we’ll take a look at MLB.com’s projected Pirate Opening Day lineup, written by Jake Crouse.

MLB.com’s Prediction:

C-Jacob Stallings, Tony Wolters

1B- Colin Moran

2B- Adam Frazier (Still think he will be dealt before the season starts)

SS- Erik Gonzales, Kevin Newman (It’s extremely frustrating not seeing Cole Tucker’s name, but I get it if Frazier isn’t dealt.)

3B- Ke’Bryan Hayes (pretends to be shocked)

LF- Bryan Reynolds

CF- Anthony Alford

RF- Gregory Polanco (for now)

Utility- Brian Goodwin, Phillip Evans

Roatation- Steven Brault, Mitch Keller, Tyler Anderson, Chad Kuhl, JT Brubaker

Bullpen- Richard Rodriguez, Kyle Crick, Chris Stratton, Sam Howard, Michael Feliz, Geoff Hartleib, Chasen Shreve, Luis Oveido

Initial Reactions

Looking at this lineup, I can’t help but be a little frustrated, if I’m being honest with you. Seeing Frazier in the lineup frustrates me. This is no knock on Frazier, he is a good player, I just think he needs to be shipped off for several reasons, but the main one is to clear up that log jam up the middle in terms of depth.

I understand their reasoning for having Newman and Gonzales at shortstop, but if Frazier is moved, I need to see a guy like Tucker at shortstop and not in Indy, even though Crouse said this in regards to Tucker not making the roster, “Cole Tucker could factor in here, but it may be worth getting him reps at Triple-A at the plate to build his confidence.”

I just believe Triple-A will hurt Tucker more than help him at this point.

I love giving Alford a chance in center field here. It is short time with the Pittsburgh Pirates last fall he was electric. Unfortunately, Alford fractured his elbow in early September, and we didn’t get the chance to see him a ton. Other than shortstop, the center field position will be the biggest competition in 2021 between Goodwin, Alford and Jared Oliva.

Polanco will be the starter in right field when the season begins. If you ask me, his days are severely numbered with the Pittsburgh Pirates, and it’s sort of bittersweet to me. Polanco could never stay healthy and when he was healthy, he could never seem to stay consistent.

In the past, I was a big defender of Polanco, but I think his time has come and gone, and those injuries just prevented him from living up to his potential. Hopefully, we see Oneil Cruz or maybe Hudson Head patrolling right field in the near future.

The more I think about Brault being the Opening Day starter, or at least the first in the rotation, the more I get it and like it. There’s no question that Keller will have to prove his worth this season, but I think as of now, Brault has earned the right to be the head man in the rotation. The only question mark I have in the rotation is the fifth starter. I personally would like to see Miguel Yajure in that role, but we could also see Wil Crowe in that role.

Crouse had this to say about the starting rotation:

“Brault made exceptional strides down the stretch in 2020, including his first career complete game. Keller also could be the ace by year’s end if he takes what he learned in his first two short seasons and puts together a strong full campaign. Anderson and Kuhl returned from injuries to pitch the full season in 2020, and JT Brubaker will battle with other starting candidates like Cody Ponce and Wil Crowe for the fifth spot.”

One more thing before I go, If Stallings gets snubbed again for a Golden Glove except for injury, I will personally riot! Stallings got robbed last year.