The Pittsburgh Pirates have been one of the most surprising teams in Major League Baseball. They are leading the National League Central which of course was not expected to happen this late into the season. They also have surprised teams with their aggressive style of play in the early going, stealing bases, throwing lots of strikes, and just implementing different lineups each day.
So these are the obvious surprises for the 2023 Pittsburgh Pirates. However, there has been more surprises throughout the early going. This is obvious to occur after all there were really no expectations for the Pittsburgh Pirates coming into this season. To see the team taking strides is something the fan base has not been able to say for sometime.
The first early season surprise to talk about is the way Connor Joe has played. What makes it even more special is the fact that he was a draft pick by the Bucs whom the previous front office had given up on. Now he is back and has really locked down a spot on this team.
On the year Joe has proved to be a reliable to stick in the middle of the lineup. He is batting .283 with an OPS of .947 for the season. Also, he has the 10th most extra-base hits in Major League Baseball. It was expected that Joe would be a solid contributor
The Pittsburgh Pirates extended manager Derek Shelton earlier this season after an impressive start to the season.
The second surprise was the Derek Shelton extension. Shelton was hired into an impossible situation, everyone knew that when he took the job. Still, he has not had a lot of success compiling a .389 winning percentage over the last 4 years. It was surprising to see the Front Office give him a deal this quickly into having finally having some success. It might have been premature, there is a lot of season left. It will be interesting at the end of the year to look back to see if he truly deserved to be extended.