Pittsburgh Pirates 2024 Opening Day Roster Projection 2.0

Some things have changed since our Opening Day roster prediction at the start of January
May 16, 2023; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates manager Derek Shelton (17) looks on before
May 16, 2023; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates manager Derek Shelton (17) looks on before / Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
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Infield - Ke'Bryan Hayes, Oneil Cruz, Liover Peguero, Rowdy Tellez, Connor Joe

This is also one that has seen little change. Ke'Bryan Hayes is the best defensive third baseman in baseball and one of the best third basemen in the sport period. Coming off a career year and the plate, as well as his first career Gold Glove Award, Hayes should be an anchor for the Pirates this season.

A returning Oneil Cruz could provide a massive boost for the Pirates this season. If Cruz can reach the potential he had before suffering a season-ending broken ankle on Easter Sunday last season, he can be one of the best power hitters in baseball and a very special player at the shortstop position.

Second base will be a positional battle to watch in spring training. Entering camp, Liover Peguero should be viewed as the favorite to win the job. The competition will be between Peguero, Nick Gonzales, Jared Triolo, and Ji Hwan Bae. Peguero is, at worst, the second best defensive second baseman of that group, has the highest offensive ceiling, and flashed some positive things during his time in the majors last season.

At least to start the season, first base will be a platoon between Rowdy Tellez and Connor Joe. Coming off a poor season in Milwaukee that saw him non-tendered by the Brewers, Tellez is looking to bounce back with the Pirates. Tellez will get the starts at first base against right-handed pitching, and will be looking to bounce back from a terrible 2023 season.

Joe, who quietly had a strong season with the Pirates in 2023 (107 wRC+/OPS+), will be Tellez's platoon partner. The right-handed hitter could also factor into the outfield equation. If Joe can repeat what he did in 2023, the Pirates will be ecstatic with what they get from him.