Pittsburgh Pirates: 3 Potential Breakout Candidates
By Marty Leap
These three players could be in line for a breakout season with the Pittsburgh Pirates
Every baseball season there are breakout players for each team. Looking at the 2023 edition of the Pittsburgh Pirates there are potential breakout candidates to discuss. Today, we will talk about three breakout candidates for the Pirates this season.
This group will only include players who will be starting the season on the team's major league roster. Sure, there are prospects who could have breakout seasons in the majors, but that is a discussion we will have another time.
Second baseman Rodolfo Castro
Entering spring training second base was a battle between Rodolfo Castro and Ji Hwan Bae. While neither played seized the position, both made the team's Opening Day roster and will both be given ample opportunities this season. However, it appears that Castro will likely get the start at second base on Thursday.
This will present a great opportunity for Castro. Since he made his MLB debut in the summer of 2021 it may be hard to believe, but Castro is still just 23-years-old. There is reason to believe there is still plenty of growth in Castro as a player. This potential growth makes him a prime breakout candidate for 2023.
Castro being a breakout candidate goes deeper than just his potential growth. Last season, he hit for a .233/.299/.427 slash line to go with a 103 wRC+ and 102 OPS+ while slugging 11 home runs in 278 major league plate appearances.
Castro's overall stats do not paint the full picture for his season, however. In early June he was optioned back to Triple-A Indianapolis. Castro then returned to the majors on August 9th. He had 200 PAs after being recalled, hitting for a .247/.310/.478 slash line to go with a 119 wRC+, 8.5% walk rate, 10 of his 11 home runs, and a 10.4% extra base hit rate. If the Pirates get that version of Castro for a full season he would lockdown the second base position for the next few years.