3. A Crowded Outfield
Of course, Bryan Reynolds is an absolute lock in left, and Jack Suwinski’s breakout campaign – above the 90th percentile in barrel, chase, and walk rate and three outs above average – likely locked up the majority of work in center field. The question remains, who will man right field?
Henry Davis saw some time in right at the end of 2023, but the Bucs have indicated that he will likely move back behind the plate this season, especially given Endy Rodriguez’s season-ending elbow surgery. The Pirates have a wealth of outfielders on their 40-man roster, but Joshua Palacios and offseason acquisition Edward Olivares seem like the likeliest candidates here. If one of them can put together a breakout spring, they could earn a spot on the Opening Day roster, like Canaan Smith-Njigba did in 2023. My money’s on Olivares here. He has the bat to hang in the big leagues, and PNC Park’s shallower right field may help his defense.
Or, who knows? The Pirates certainly still have time to go out and sign a free-agent outfielder to shore things up. Say, Michael A. Taylor?