Pittsburgh Pirates: Examining What the Opening Day Outfield Could Look Like

What could the outfield look like for the Pirates when the season begins?

Sep 16, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates left fielder Bryan Reynolds (10)
Sep 16, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates left fielder Bryan Reynolds (10) / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
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Center Field - Jack Suwinski

The past two seasons Jack Suwinski has become a mainstay in the Pirate lineup. While he battled inconsistency, Suwinski finished the 2023 season with a .224/.339/.454 slash line with a 112 wRC+, 115 OPS+, and a .230 ISO on his way to posting a 2.2 WAR.

On the surface those numbers look fine from Suwinski, but there are some issues there. First off, Suwinski has an issue with swing-and-miss. Last season he struck out at a 32.2% clip which is much higher than you want to see from an every day player.

Suwinski also struggles mightily against left-handed pitching. He is a lifetime .164/.263/.300 hitter with a 57 wRC+ and a 37.4% strikeout rate against left-handed pitching. While the Pirates could play Suwinski against left-handed pitching, they would be better suited to find someone else to man center field against lefties.

Finally, there is Suwinski's center field defense. Last season he had a -10 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) and a +4 Outs Above Average (OAA) in center field. For his career, these numbers are -9 and +5. Ideally, you would like to a have stronger defensive center fielder than Suwinski.

The Pirates could do worse than Suwinski as an every day center fielder. At the same time, they could also find an upgrade defensively. Additionally, the best make up of the Pirate outfield is one with Suwinski platooning in right field. This protects Suwinski against left-handed pitching, and puts him in his best defensive position.