Pittsburgh Pirates: Goals for After the All-Star Break

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 11: Adam Frazier #26 of the Pittsburgh Pirates in action against the New York Mets during a game at Citi Field on July 11, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 11: Adam Frazier #26 of the Pittsburgh Pirates in action against the New York Mets during a game at Citi Field on July 11, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /
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NEW YORK, NY – JULY 11: Rodolfo Castro #64 of the Pittsburgh Pirates in action against the New York Mets during a game at Citi Field on July 11, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY – JULY 11: Rodolfo Castro #64 of the Pittsburgh Pirates in action against the New York Mets during a game at Citi Field on July 11, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /

Play the youngsters

From the get go the 2021 season was going to be more about the future than the present for the Pittsburgh Pirates. In the second half of the season this will remain the case. A big part of this will be the team’s need to play the youth the rest of the season.

This begins with the starting rotation. Max Kranick, who has pitched well in his two MLB starts with a 3.38 ERA and a 3.91 FIP, needs to be getting the ball every five days. Promoting Mitch Keller back to the Majors is also something the Pirates should look into doing. Not only is Keller pitching well at Triple-A Indianapolis, the Pittsburgh Pirates need to determine what they have in Keller.

Utility man Rodolfo Castro should earn plenty of at-bats the rest of the season. Through his first 15 MLB plate appearances Castro has hit 3 home runs, slugged .923, drawn a walk and struck out 4 times. All of this comes out to a 218 wRC+ for Castro. The switch-hitter can play third base, second base and the outfield. The Pirates need to be finding him at-bats down the stretch.

First baseman John Nogowski could also fit into this discussion. While Nogowski is more of a journeyman than a youngster, with the Pittsburgh Pirates he has gotten his first legitimate extended look in the Majors.

With the Pirates Nogowski is 14-for-28 with three walks and a pair of doubles. He has drawn three walks and struck out five times. It’s possible that Nogowski could be a late bloomer. If nothing else, with him currently swinging a hot bat there is no reason for him to not be in the lineup every day.

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Any other youngsters, such as Miguel Yajure (if healthy) and Oneil Cruz, who are promoted to the Majors the rest of the season should also get plenty of playing time. The rest of the season the Pirates need to be playing for the future.

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