Pittsburgh Pirates: Opening Day Options to Bat Leadoff
When MLB’s work stoppage ends and spring training begins one thing that Derek Shelton and his staff will have to figure out is who will bat leadoff for the Pittsburgh Pirates
There are plenty of questions surrounding the offense of the Pittsburgh Pirates ahead of the 2022 season. One of the biggest questions is who will be batting leadoff for the Pirates when the season begins?
While, the theory, the team has plenty of options for guys who can bat leadoff, there are no sure fire options for the spot. This can create opportunity for players, while also creating some headache for Derek Shelton and the Pirate coaching staff.
So, who are the team’s current options to be in the leadoff spot on Opening Day. Well, let’s dive into that and examine why each option would or would not be a good choice for Shelton and his staff.
Trust me, I get it, very few Pirate fans if any want to see Kevin Newman batting leadoff. However, he will certainly be an option for Shelton to pencil into the top spot in the Opening Day lineup of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Newman has bat leadoff 88 times in his MLB career. However, in these 88 PAs he has hit for just a .259/.284/.435 slash line. So while Newman has struggled to get on base at a high clip while batting leadoff, his power has actually be better when leading off the game than his career power numbers. He owns a lifetime .353 slugging percentage and 5.6% extra base hit rate, while from the leadoff spot these numbers are .435 and 9.1%.
Ultimately, despite his experience batting leadoff, barring a strong offensive start to the season it is hard to envision Newman batting leadoff. With a lifetime 5.2% walk rate and .300 on-base percentage, Newman is a hitter who simply does not get on base enough to warrant the top spot in a MLB lineup. To be honest, it would not be a surprise to see 2022 be Newman’s final season in Pittsburgh as the club looks to younger prospects at shortstop such as Oneil Cruz.