5 outfielders the Pittsburgh Pirates should monitor on the trade market

The Pittsburgh Pirates need outfield help, so let's look at some players who could be on the trade market the Bucs should start monitoring now.
May 7, 2024; Los Angeles, California, USA; Miami Marlins center fielder Jazz Chisholm Jr. (2) celebrates after hitting a home run in the first inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
May 7, 2024; Los Angeles, California, USA; Miami Marlins center fielder Jazz Chisholm Jr. (2) celebrates after hitting a home run in the first inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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Jesus Sanchez

Jazz Chisholm isn’t the only Marlins outfielder the Pirates should keep on their radar if they become available in trade talks. They should also keep an eye out for Jesus Sanchez. Sanchez had a very solid 2023 season but is off to a poor start in 2024. However, there are many underlying factors that point toward much better things in Sanchez’s near future. Plus, he is controllable for multiple years.

Through 151 plate appearances, Sanchez has slashed a meager .226/.287/.292. While his cut his strikeout rate is down from 26.6% last year to 20.1% this year, his walk rate has also dipped from 9.5% to 6%. The power output just hasn’t been there either. He hit 14 homers with a .197 isolated slugging percentage last year. This year, he only has two home runs and an ISO below .100. This has all led to a .261 wOBA and 68 wRC+.

So, where are the positives? Well, for starters, Sanchez is hitting the ball really, and I mean really hard. His exit velocity clocks in at a stunning 93.9 MPH. That’s the 9th highest in baseball right now and a tremendous 3.5 MPH uptick from last year. His barrel rate is down slightly from last season, but at 10%, he still clocks in at the 72nd percentile. He is also only one of 31 batters with a hard hit rate of 50% or greater. Despite the poor surface numbers, Sanchez’s expected stats are very promising. He has a .287 expected batting average, a .481 expected slugging percentage, and a .353 expected wOBA.

Sanchez has always received mixed reviews about his outfield defense. Career-wise, he has +7 defensive runs saved, but only +1 out above average. UZR/150, meanwhile, has him at -4.5. This year, he has -4 DRS but zero OAA. Overall, while Sanchez isn’t costing teams games with his defense, he also isn’t winning games with it either.

Sanchez is only 26 and will be controlled through 2027. This could be a good opportunity to potentially buy low on a guy with outstanding underlying metrics. Of course, the Miami Marlins know this too, and they might not be willing to sell super low, knowing what Sanchez is potentially capable of. Still, I would not mind at all if the Pirates brought in someone with an exit velocity of nearly 94 MPH.