With fantasy baseball season just around the corner let’s take a look at what fantasy value some members of the Pittsburgh Pirates could have
With Spring Training officially underway, fantasy baseball drafts are quickly approaching and may have even started for you anxious owners out there. The Pittsburgh Pirates may not have any early round selections in your draft but there may be some sleepers that can help your team come out on top this year.
After finishing with the worst record in all of baseball last season, nobody is going to be looking for a lot of talent from a team that couldn’t even surpass the 20 win mark. However, in a crazy COVID season it couldn’t get much worse for Pittsburgh.
The Pittsburgh Pirates have promising young prospects and some other decent pieces that could surprise baseball fans. Let’s take a deep dive through the Pirates lineup and staff with a fantasy perspective.
Catcher – Jacob Stallings
2020: 13 R, 3 HR, 18 RBI, 0 SB, .248/ .326/ .376
2021 ADP: 356 ( [C] #25)
The catcher position usually doesn’t provide all that much offense and in a lineup like Pittsburgh’s it is only going to make things more difficult for Stallings to be fantasy relevant this year. However, if you’re looking for a catcher that will see the strong majority of starts, Stallings is right up there with the rest. He ranked 13th in all of MLB last year with 42 games played. The Pittsburgh Pirates like having Stallings behind the plate and he is the clear cut starter in Pittsburgh.
First Baseman – Colin Moran
2020: 28 R, 10 HR, 23 RBI, 0 SB, .247/ .325/ .472
2021 ADP: 424 ( [1B] #55)
Moran put together some decent numbers quietly last year. Now with Josh Bell gone, Pittsburgh will look for Moran’s power more than ever. He ended up with the most home runs of all Pirates last year including Bell with 10. If Moran can continue to provide pop for this lineup and can get his batting average close to where it was in years previous to 2020, this first baseman could be a sneaky late-round flier.
Second Baseman – Adam Frazier
2020: 22 R, 7 HR, 23 RBI, 1 SB, .230/ .297/ .364
2021 ADP: 548 ( [2B] #71)
For a guy that appeared in 58 games, Frazier is not getting the fantasy attention he deserves. I’m not saying that he’s a guy that needs to be drafted but he is definitely someone to keep on your radar. Prior to last season, Frazier never batted below .275 but in a wild 2020 he sank all the way to .230. Expect Frazier to find his swing again and raise that number. With trade rumors continuing to swirl around his name, he could end up in a much better offense after the trade deadline which would boost his stock a tad as well.
Shortstop – Kevin Newman
2020: 12 R, 1 HR, 10 RBI, 0 SB, .224/ .281/ .276
2021 ADP: 461 ( [SS] #52)
Shortstop is an unclear subject right now for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Between Newman, Cole Tucker, and Erik Gonzalez, the Pirates could easily ride this season out with a rotation of the three. Newman does have the best bat of the trio and could see the bulk of the workload if he can find his 2019 swing. Before his subpar 2020 showing, Newman batted .308/.353/.446 with 12 bombs and 16 stolen bases. If the 27-year-old can get back to his 2019 self, he may end up as the starter in Pittsburgh, but will have to do even more to be fantasy relevant.
Third Baseman – Ke’Bryan Hayes
2020: 17 R, 5 HR, 11 RBI, 1 SB, .376/ .442/ .682
2021 ADP: 149 ( [3B] #20)
The future of the Pirate organization begins with Hayes. After an extremely impressive showing in 2020, Hayes now is the everyday third baseman in Pittsburgh. One of the top prospects in MLB, Hayes has all the potential to be an All-Star in this league as soon as this year. With only 95 career plate appearances, some may still be skeptical of the small sample size but if you’re going to reach for any Pirate it has to be this guy. Going way later than he should at a 149.4 ADP, this is one of the best values you will find. Hayes is one of the most underrated players in fantasy baseball.
Outfield – Bryan Reynolds
2020: 24 R, 7 HR, 19 RBI, 1 SB, .189/ .275/ .357
2021 ADP: 280 ( [OF] #83)
Arguably the biggest question mark for the Pittsburgh Pirates this season is Reynolds. Are we going to get the 2019 Reynolds that made a run at National League Rookie of the Year, or the 2020 Reynolds that fell well below a .200 BA? These are two totally different players which makes drafting him so difficult. If he is able to get his swing back and play the way he did a couple of seasons ago then Reynolds can find himself as a reliable outfielder in fantasy. Unfortunately, if we get an encore of last year then he may not get drafted at all.
Outfield – Gregory Polanco
2020: 12 R, 7 HR, 22 RBI, 3 SB, .153/ .214/ .325
2021 ADP: 543 ( [OF] #144)
Polanco had all the tools to be a fantasy stud coming into the league but now after seven seasons he has fell short of expectations and in most leagues he will end up as a free agent post draft night. The days of dreaming of a 30-30 season from Polanco are over but he may still hold a sliver of value if he can put the pieces together. He has the potential to hit over 25 homers and maybe even steal 10 bases, but he has to be able to hit over .250 if fantasy owners want to give him a shot.
Outfield – Brian Goodwin
2020: 17 R, 6 HR, 22 RBI, 5 SB, .215/ .299/ .417
2021 ADP: 563 ( [OF] #150)
My guess is as good as yours as to who will win the final starting outfielder job. Goodwin has the best shot of those competing for the position to be fantasy relevant. For Goodwin to actually be discussed in the fantasy baseball stratosphere he has to raise the batting average, hit for a little more power, and be more aggressive on the base paths.
Starting Pitcher – Mitch Keller
2020: 1 W, 16 Ks, 2.91 ERA, 1.25 WHIP
2021 ADP: 393 ( [SP] #114)
There is a lot of uncertainty with the staff in Pittsburgh this season. Keller is going to have to be the ace for the Pittsburgh Pirates this season. He has yet to pitch over 50 innings in a season, but the 2021 campaign will demand more from the righty. Fantasy owners looking to draft pitching out of Pittsburgh, don’t expect too many wins but when drafting a Pirates pitcher look for other categories. Keller can still be an asset.
Starting Pitcher – Steven Brault
2020: 1 W, 38 Ks, 3.38 ERA, 1.19 WHIP
2021 ADP: 576 ( [SP] #174)
Brault had a career best in both ERA and WHIP last season. If the lefty can keep his numbers close to what they were in 2020, Brault holds some value in both categories in deeper leagues. The Pirates will look for a large number of innings from him.
Relief Pitcher – Richard Rodriguez
2020: 4 SVs, 34 Ks, 2.70 ERA, 0.86 WHIP
2021 ADP: 206 ( [RP] #27)
Every fantasy team needs saves and Rodriguez was able to provide that in the few chances he had last season. Unfortunately, Pittsburgh isn’t expected to have a plethora of save opportunities. Rodriguez does have some great stuff and has shown consistency out of the bullpen over the last few years. If the Pirates can present their closer with more opportunity then the Pittsburgh closer could be a nice addition to fantasy teams.