Pittsburgh Pirates: Ke’Bryan Hayes, Young Bats Highlights Opening Series
By Marty Leap
Two players looking for an opportunity respond
The star of Grapefruit League play for the Pittsburgh Pirates was infielder Diego Castillo. Castillo was line drive, hitting machine in the spring on his way to leading the Pirates with 6 Grapefruit League home runs. Hitting is nothing new to Castillo who did nothing but that for Altoona and Indianapolis after being acquired in the Clay Holmes trade last summer.
Despite this, the promising 24-year-old made just one start in the series. However, he did see action as the replacement for Hayes in the first game of the series and as a pinch hitter in game two.
After going 0-for-3 on Opening Day, Castillo doubled for his first MLB hit in his lone at-bat on Saturday. Making his first MLB start Castillo recorded 3 hits and scored a pair of runs in Sunday’s victory.
Moving forward there is zero reason for Castillo to not be in the lineup each and every day. Start him at second base, let him get at-bats as the designated hitter, put him at third base if Hayes needs a day off. He can play shortstop, too. It does not matter how, but Castillo’s bat must be in the lineup as much as possible.
Another player with a big opportunity ahead of them this season is 26-year-old Michael Chavis. The former first-round pick of the Boston Red Sox has not been given the opportunity to play with regularity in the majors since his 2019 rookie season when he hit 18 home runs to go with a .190 isolated slugging (ISO) and collecting 29 extra base hits in 382 plate appearances with the Red Sox.
Chavis made the start at first base on Sunday and made soem nifty plays at first base, including multiple stretch plays to help get an out. At the plate he hit a grand slam in the 3rd inning, to go along with a single, double, and a walk.
Moving forward both Castillo and Chavis need to be given ample opportunity to play for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Is either player part of the team’s long-term plans? Well, there is only one way to find out.