Pittsburgh Pirates 2022 Staff Predictions: Jeff Cupp

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With Opening Day approaching fast, here a few of my predictions for the Pittsburgh Pirates 2022 season.

Thankfully, we have baseball. No more wait, no more uncertainty. This Thursday the Pittsburgh Pirates will be in Missouri taking on the St. Louis Cardinals and the world will be a better place for it. As that day approaches there will be plenty of predictions to go around, so I’ve decided to share some of my own.

Though the Pittsburgh Pirates are unlikely to put up a fight in the divisional race this summer there are many things to look forward to this season. Every year there’s that one game the Pirates pull off that make you forget about their record and poor prior performances, like last year’s walk-off grand slam by Jacob Stallings. Let’s start off with a bold prediction:

Game of the Year: Daniel Vogelbach Walk-Off Salami 

New Pirate 1B/DH Daniel Vogelbach has some flair for the dramatic. As a member of the Milwaukee Brewers on September 9th last season, the 6-foot 260 pound slugger from Fort Myers, Florida came to bat with the bases loaded and 1 out, down 5-2 in the bottom of the ninth. On a 1-0 count, Vogelbach roped a 97 MPH fastball from Giovanny Gallegos into the Cardinal bullpen in right-center, completing the comeback victory in a stunning way.

While at the time the Cardinals were several games back, they ended up within 5 games reach of the Milwaukee Brewers, proving to be a pivotal divisional moment in the matchup. In his career, Vogelbach has a 137 wRC+ in 90 plate appearances considered “high leverage” situations, per Fangraphs.

Last year he had a 190 wRC+ in 26 high leverage plate appearances. In those plate appearances Vogelbach had 7 walks and 1 intentional walk against just 3 strikeouts, while stroking 2 home runs including the big grand salami mentioned above.

Can he do it again? I’d like to think he will.