5 Pittsburgh Pirates players under pressure entering the 2024 season

Miami Marlins v Pittsburgh Pirates
Miami Marlins v Pittsburgh Pirates / Justin Berl/GettyImages
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No. 4 - Oneil Cruz

Cruz is in the same boat as Keller. Cruz needs to be outstanding this year in order to keep the Pirates in the hunt throughout the 2024 season. Cruz is different where there is still curiousity to what a full, healthy year will look like for him.

Now, Cruz is fully recovered from his catastrophic injury with no limitations in the field or at the plate. Hopefully, Cruz can continue to build upon the improved patience and approach he showed at the plate before getting injured on Eastern Sunday.

If the Pirates are going to take a step toward contending and playing meaningful games in September and beyond, Cruz needs to take that step into superstar category. The potential and ability is there for Cruz. He may be the most important position player for the 2024 Pirates.