The Pittsburgh Pirates had two really good rookies this year, despite the overall underwhelming season.
This was a big year for the Pittsburgh Pirates rebuild. Entering the 2020-2021 offseason and eventually the 202021 season, it was all about out with the old and in with the new. We saw the GM Ben Cherington really strip down the roster in an even more aggressive way than expected. He has moved plenty of veterans over the last year or so, adding a lot of talent to the team’s farm system.
However, the second part of the phrase above talks about “in with the new”. Yes, the team brought in a lot of new prospects, but it also allowed new players to get opportunities. The first two young players who were given these legitimate opportunities were Ke’Bryan Hayes and David Bednar.
Hayes was expected to be the team’s starting third baseman. However, that was a move that force another player out of their position in Colin Moran, who shifted to first base. Hayes was given the opportunity and while he did not take it by storm like many expected, he still put together a productive first season.
David Bednar also had a stellar rookie season. He quickly showed why the Pittsburgh Pirates wanted to acquire him as part of the Joe Musgrove trade. Bednar quickly showed closer type stuff with an upper 90s fastball and wipeout breaking pitch. He quickly worked his way up the Buc’s bullpen pecking order and should be in line to serve as the team’s primary closer in 2022.
Because both had such strong rookie seasons, both have been recognized on MLB Pipeline’s All-Rookie Team for 2021. Hayes was listed on MLB Pipeline’s all-second team. Chicago Cubs breakout rookie Patrick Wisdom earned the top spot. Meanwhile, Bednar also found himself on the 2nd team. Obviously, the “all-bullpen” can be a tough one to crack when pitching for a bad team.
Either way, this is excellent to see multiple young players be highlighted. The thing about it, however, is that the team still has a lot of prospect talent that will be debuting over the next few seasons. Just next season, Oneil Cruz, Roasny Contreras, and others from within the organization could be on the list. For Ben Cherington and the Pittsburgh Pirates they need to continue and see players make the All-Rookie teams.