Pittsburgh Pirates: Notable MiLB Free Agent Signing Performances

VENICE, FLORIDA - MARCH 09: Todd Frazier #99 of the Pittsburgh Pirates stands at the plate during the first inning against the Atlanta Braves during a spring training game at CoolToday Park on March 09, 2021 in Venice, Florida. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)
VENICE, FLORIDA - MARCH 09: Todd Frazier #99 of the Pittsburgh Pirates stands at the plate during the first inning against the Atlanta Braves during a spring training game at CoolToday Park on March 09, 2021 in Venice, Florida. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images) /
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BRADENTON, FLORIDA – MARCH 02: Todd Frazier #99 of the Pittsburgh Pirates reacts after hitting a solo home run during the fourth inning against the Detroit Tigers during a spring training game at LECOM Park on March 02, 2021 in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)
BRADENTON, FLORIDA – MARCH 02: Todd Frazier #99 of the Pittsburgh Pirates reacts after hitting a solo home run during the fourth inning against the Detroit Tigers during a spring training game at LECOM Park on March 02, 2021 in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images) /

The Pittsburgh Pirates signed a handful of minor league deals this winter. So far, how have some of their more notable minor signings performed this spring?

The Pittsburgh Pirates signed a handful of players to minor league contracts. Some of which were some pretty notable veterans gunning for semi-regular or even regular roles for the 2021 Pirates. So far, we’re almost three weeks into Spring Training and some of the Bucs’ minor league deals have gained some traction in their quest to make the Pirates’ MLB roster out of camp.

Today, we will take a look at a few of the Pirates’ most notable minor league signings and how they’ve done in Spring Training so far. These can range from veterans to former prospects. Keep in mind all of the players have very small sample sizes and 2021 Spring Training has been nothing like we’ve seen before. We will not be including Clay Holmes though as despite being brought back into the organization on a minor league deal, was formerly part of the organization.

Corner Infielder Todd Frazier

Todd Frazier was formerly part of one of the Pirates’ biggest rivals, which was the early-to-mid-2010s Cincinnati Reds. Frazier was quite the hitter earlier in his career, making two All-Star Games in 2014 and 2015, won the 2015 Home Run Derby, and hitting 35 and 40 home runs in 2015 with the Reds and 2016 with the Chicago White Sox.

Frazier is coming off a rough 2020 season. He appeared in just 45 total games and stepped to the plate 172 times for the Texas Rangers and New York Mets. All told, he hit for just a .684 OPS, .300 wOBA and 89 wRC+. He also walked just 6.4% of the time to combat a strikeout rate of 24.4%.

However, he’s only a year removed of a much more solid season with the Mets. Throughout 2019, Frazier served as one of the Mets’ primary answers at third base and put up a .251/.329/.443 with a 21 home runs, .328 wOBA and 106 wRC+ in 499 plate appearances. While he was a below average defender at the hot corner with -3 DRS and a -1.1 UZR/150, his overall 1.8 fWAR represented a solidly average player.

Throughout Spring Training, he’s mainly gotten work at first base with consensus top 10 prospect Ke’Bryan Hayes locked down at third base. So far, he’s collected four hits in 18 plate appearances, two of which have been home runs and a third was a double. He also has drawn two walks to oppose just four strikeouts. He’ll likely make the roster given the Pirates’ need for a right-handed bat to occasionally spell Colin Moran and to help give a guy who can field first base to an average or better level.

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