With Ke’Bryan Hayes on the injured list let’s examine which players have stepped up and raised their fantasy value with the Pittsburgh Pirates
After nearly three weeks of Pittsburgh Pirates baseball, Pittsburgh fans should be encouraged from what they’re seeing. Expectations were not all that high before the season started and the Buccos have been competing even without young star Ke’Bryan Hayes.
Coming off of a series victory over the Milwaukee Brewers, the Pittsburgh Pirates have managed to put together a 7-9 record through its first 16 games. So what pieces could potentially be useful in your fantasy leagues? Let’s run through a few names in Pittsburgh you might want to consider adding.
First baseman Colin Moran: Colin Moran is off to a strong start this season. The Pirate first baseman has started the 2021 campaign with a .298 batting average, 4 home runs, 4 doubles and 13 RBIs. His 13 RBIs is third in all of MLB at the first base position. Moran also ranks fourth in hits. In ESPN leagues, the 28-year-old is still only rostered in 23.4% of leagues which is much lower than someone with those stats should be.
In shallower leagues, it may be hard to find someone to drop for a guy that has been effective in such a small sample size. In deeper leagues though, Moran is a must add at this point. Can Moran keep up with these numbers? It would be a surprise but why not at least ride the hot hand and see where it takes you.
Second baseman Adam Frazier: Pirate fans love to see Adam Frazier perform well because that is only going to add value when the trade deadline comes around. Frazier will most likely not be a Pirate all season long but that could end up helping him down the road if he finds himself in a better lineup. At least right now Frazier has been hitting the ball extremely well.
For those of you in point leagues, Frazier has only struck out five times in his 59 at-bats. He’s putting the ball in play consistently which is part of the reason he has 9 RBIs which ranks seventh from the second base position. Expect Frazier to continue to hover around the .300 batting average line. Point league or rotisserie league, the Pirate second baseman is going to be an asset.
Utility man Phillip Evans: Phillip Evans has been a pleasant surprise for the Pittsburgh Pirates. When Hayes was placed on the 10-day IL it opened the door for Evans and he has made the most of it. The 28-year-old has been steady at the plate and a key contributor in run support for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Evans has forced Derek Shelton to find other ways to keep him in the lineup when Hayes returns. Shelton has been rotating Evans in the outfield since Hayes will go back to being the everyday third baseman for Pittsburgh when he is removed from the IL. The Pirate outfield lacks plate production and hopefully Evans can help with that. He has put together a .275 batting average, 3 homers and 5 RBIs. Keep an eye on Evans in your deeper leagues.
Outfielder Bryan Reynolds: It appears that Bryan Reynolds is back to his 2019 self. Many were skeptical heading into the season if he was the real deal or not. Well, Reynolds has answered the question. The Pirate left fielder has 19 hits to start off the season which ranks fourth of all outfielders. He has provided a little bit of pop too with the two home runs he has added so far.
There aren’t many Pittsburgh players that are a must start across all leagues but Reynolds is one of them. Even the shallowest leagues should have Reynolds as a starting outfielder. Three outfielder, eight team, it doesn’t matter because Reynolds is back and he is going to a key contributor in your fantasy season this year.
Starting pitcher JT Brubaker: Pirate starting pitchers are scary to play with, but if I am going to have confidence in any it is definitely going to be JT Brubaker. Pittsburgh starters have struggled to start the season, especially early on in games but Brubaker is the only Pirate starter to have yet allow a run in the 1st inning.
Off to a 2-0 start with a 1.76 ERA, and 1.04 WHIP, I think Brubaker could be a sneaky find in deeper leagues. He won’t have a huge strikeout rate but could absolutely help out your team in other categories. The Pirates stud has followed each start going deeper into his next game. Looking for a replacement, Brubaker could be your guy.