Pittsburgh Pirates: 2021 Infield & Catcher Player Grades

Cody Flavell
Sep 26, 2020; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates designated hitter Colin Moran (19) celebrates with catcher Jacob Stallings (58) and third baseman Ke'Bryan Hayes (13) after hitting a three run home run during the fourth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 26, 2020; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates designated hitter Colin Moran (19) celebrates with catcher Jacob Stallings (58) and third baseman Ke'Bryan Hayes (13) after hitting a three run home run during the fourth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports /
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PITTSBURGH, PA – OCTOBER 01: Kevin Newman #27 of the Pittsburgh Pirates hits a two run single during the eighth inning against the Cincinnati Reds at PNC Park on October 1, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA – OCTOBER 01: Kevin Newman #27 of the Pittsburgh Pirates hits a two run single during the eighth inning against the Cincinnati Reds at PNC Park on October 1, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) /

Kevin Newman

GRADE: C

2021 Stats: 148 games, .226/.265/.309, 5 home runs, 39 RBI, 0.7 WAR

The Pirates thoroughly enjoy taking shortstops in the first round of the draft. Between Newman, Tucker, and Nick Gonzales as recently as last season, the Pirates have a lot of pedigree at that spot. The problem is the production hasn’t met that pedigree.

Newman is as sound as they come defensively. He carried a 76-game errorless streak this season despite barely hitting his weight.

Newman’s hard contact rate and other hitting numbers were pedestrian, which is putting it nicely. He had a minor rebound late in the year that quite literally might’ve saved his 40-man spot for next season.

At the very least, Newman was durable playing in 148 games and playing solid defense to give him a positive WAR. He is one of the few on the team that have one.

Newman’s 2019 season had people convinced that they had something with him. His shortened season and then full 2021 season have people down on Newman again. He likely will start at short on Opening Day 2022 unless Cole Tucker or, dare I say it, Oneil Cruz beats him out. Don’t expect him to make his forever home their, though.

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