Pittsburgh Pirates: Comparing Projected 2023 Lineup & 2013's Lineup

Miami Marlins v Pittsburgh Pirates
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Center Field

The Pirates had the National League's best center fielder in 2013, with Andrew McCutchen. McCutchen is returning for a homecoming this year to serve as a DH/LF option, but many will remember him for his 2013 MVP campaign. In 674 trips to the plate, Cutch batted .317/.404/.508. Cutch rarely struck out with a striekout rate of just 15%, but also had an outstanding 11.6% walk rate. He also had a nice blend of power and speed. He swatted 21 dingers with a .190 ISO, but also swiped 27 bases. At the end of the season, Cutch had a 156 wRC+.

2013 was his best defensive season as well. He had +3 defensive runs saved and a +3.6 UZR/150. Although McCutchen was never considered a fantastic defensive center fielder, he did his job in 2013 and was above average. Plus a more classic rate stat like range factor also held him in a positive light.

Now in 2023, we have the man the Pirates traded McCutchen for, Bryan Reynolds. Reynolds is coming off yet another fantastic season in 2022, batting .262/.345/.461 with a .349 wOBA, and 125 wRC+. Aside from the shortened 2020 season, this was Reynolds' worst season yet, but he was still 25% better than the league average batter. Reynolds hit a career best 27 home runs with a .199 ISO, and had an above average 9.1% walk rate. The downside is he had his worst career strikeout rate at just 23%.

Although Reynolds graded out as a solid defensive center fielder in 2021, he took a massive step backward this past season. He had -14 defensive runs saved with a -1.8 UZR/150. However what was more concerning was his -7 outs above average, which is by far a career worst by nine outs. Left Field is arguably Reynolds' best position, but if he can rebound in 2023 and return to his 2021 form, he'll be just fine.

Reynolds can make it a really close race if he repeats his 2021 season. There are a lot of similarities between 2013 Cutch and 2021 Reynolds. Reynolds batted .302/.390/.522. McCutchen batted .317/.404/.508. They both had identical 11.6% walk rates. Cutch had a .393 wOBA while Reynolds clocked in at .385.

But after adjusting for the league environment, Cutch had a 156 wRC+ while Reynolds only came in with a 141 mark. That's still outstanding, but 16% worse than the 2013 MVP. Cutch takes it here. His 2013 season is one of the best in Pirates history.