Pittsburgh Pirates: Comparing Projected 2023 Lineup & 2013's Lineup
Right Field was a bit of a mess for the 2013 Pirates. Getting most of the playing time was Jose Tabata. The outfielder was a very solid hitter for the Bucs, slashing .282/.342/.429 through 341 plate appearances. Although he had just a 6.7% walk rate, he struck out at a 13.2% pace. Tabata was never known as a big power hitter, but his isolated slugging percentage of .146 was three points greater than the average. All told, Tabata amounted to a .340 wOBA/119 wRC+ batter.
Defensively, Tabata was not very good, to say the least. He split his time between left Field and right Field, but had -3 DRS and a -8.9 UZR/150 in right. This was in just 340.2 innings. He was also well below average in range factor, displayed a mediocre arm in the outfield corners. But the other player, Travis Snider, offset some of his defensive struggles.
Snider was much less of a batter to Tabata, only hitting .215/.281/.333. He did have a better 8.4% walk rate, but that's the only advantage he had over Tabata. He struck out over a quarter of the time with a 26.3% streikout rate, and had an ISO of just .119. This amounted to a 71 wRC+, making him 29% worse than league average and 47% worse than Tabata.
But he was a solid defensive outfielder. Although he had 0 DRS, he had +2.7 UZR/150 and positive reviews for his arm. He was also much better than Tabata in both range factor measurements (RF/9 and RF/G). Snider saw a decent amount of time in left Field, but most of his time was spent in right. The Pirates also used Garrett Jones out there a fair amount, and things really didn't get settled in until they acquired Marlon Byrd in late August.
Now in 2023, the Pittsburgh Pirates will look to platoon two players in right Field. The first is 2022 standout rookie Jack Suwinski. Suwinski was a league average hitter in 2022, slashing .202/.298/.411. Although Suwinski struck out in over 30% of his plate appearances, he also had an 11% walk rate and hit 19 home runs, leading to a .209 isolated slugging percentage. With a .709 OPS, .311 wOBA, and 100 wRC+, he was essentially league average on the dot.
But Suwinski also provided outstanding defense. He saw many innings at each outfield position, racking up +2 DRS and +1 OAA. UZR/150 also viewed Suwinski as a great defender at +7.8.
The other end of the right field platoon is Connor Joe. Joe had a poor 2022 with the Colorado Rockies in which he batted .238/.338/.359, amounting to a .314 wOBA, and 87 wRC+. Joe had a .121 isolated slugging percentage, and about the only positive to his season was his well above average plate discipline. He only struck out in 20.8% of his plate appearances with a strong 11.8% walk rate. But Joe did have a solid first half to the season, and had a 115 wRC+ just last year.
Joe has never been known for his defense, but he went from a solid defender in 2021 to mediocre at best in 2022. While UZR/150 had him at +6.9, he had 0 DRS, and -5 OAA. He played a handful of games in right Field where his worst defensive work came from.
If the Pittsburgh Pirates had Marlon Byrd for half of the 2013 season, then they would have the edge here. But until late-August, they relied on a fairly average group of players. Suwinski crushes RHP and Joe hits respectably vs LHP. Joe may also see improvement to his defense. Coors Field has the fourth deepest outfield while PNC has the 26th deepest outfield. In the end, I'm giving a slight edge to the 2023 group.