June will be a big month in the rebuild for the Pittsburgh Pirates, and these are five of the most important things that need to be done during the month.
June is the start of the summer for most. The weather starts to get hot, the days are longer, and everyone has more free time to do what they want. It’s also the start of baseball’s best regular-season games. For the Pittsburgh Pirates, it could be the start of the end of the rebuild.
This month is an important point in the Pittsburgh Pirates rebuild. Now that we’re two months into the year, many of the MLB-ready prospects have had ample time to establish themselves in the upper levels of the minor leagues. Many things need to happen this month, but here are five of the most important items the Pirates need to resolve as we get into the first month of summer.
Time to promote the big names
The Pittsburgh Pirates haven’t been all that bad in getting some of their prospects to the majors. Currently, Diego Castillo, Jack Suwinski, Cal Mitchell, Yerry De Los Santos, Roansy Contreras, and Rodolfo Castro are part of the 26-man roster. But more needs to be done; specifically, it’s time to bring up the big names. For some reason, the Pirates have been hesitant to bring up their big prospects, even now that we’re past the service time and super-two deadline.
You can’t get any bigger than Oneil Cruz. After a freezing cold start to the season, Cruz has finally hit his stride. The last month has seen Cruz batting .280/.392/.549 He has a .411 wOBA, .941 OPS OPS, and 152 wRC+. Although he had a slow start, a Cruz promotion is now well overdue.
The fact that Mason Martin hasn’t been promoted yet is a massive shock. With Yoshi Tsutsugo and Daniel Vogelbach on the injured list the Pittsburgh Pirates are missing a great opportunity to give Martin a chance. So far, he’s hit .241/.317/.566 with a .373 wOBA and 127 wRC+. He’s still struck out a ton, but he’s just kept hitting.
Ji-Hwan Bae is arguably the minor league’s hottest hitter. Bae has hit .337/.438/.581 with a .441 wOBA and 171 wRC+ throughout the month of May. The Pirates shouldn’t have a hard time finding playing time for Bae either. He has experience at second base, shortstop, and center field. The fact that Josh VanMeter keeps getting semi-regular playing time, yet Bae has been held in the minor leagues should be painful for Pirates fans.
Travis Swaggerty is the last big name that deserves the call to the bigs. Like Cruz, Swaggerty got off to an ice-cold start. But after an injury list stint, Swaggerty has been on the up-and-up. His last 55 plate appearances have yielded a .309/.367/.473 line, .372 wOBA, and 126 wRC+. With Ben Gamel on the IL, now would be a great time to see what Swaggerty can do.