Pittsburgh Pirates: Five Favorable Baseball Savant Statcast Comparisons

Mar 5, 2023; Bradenton, Florida, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates first baseman Carlos Santana (41) bats in
Mar 5, 2023; Bradenton, Florida, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates first baseman Carlos Santana (41) bats in / Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports
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Connor Joe

The Bucs acquired Connor Joe this past off-season to bolster their OF/1B depth and to serve as a platoon partner for Jack Suwinski. Joe was not great in 2022, batting just .238/.338/.359 with a .314 wOBA but 88 wRC+. Sure, Joe had a strong 11.8% walk rate and 20.8% strikeout rate, but his ISO clocked in at just .121. This was a massive drop from the .285/.379/.469 triple-slash, .366 wOBA, and 115 wRC+ he had in 2021. But Joe still hit left-handed pitching to the respectable tune of a .259/.349/.395 line, .330 wOBA, and 98 wRC+.

Joe also had a solid first half. He entered the all-star break with a .332 wOBA/102 wRC+ before faltering in the second half. But as stated earlier, he'll likely share one of the outfield spots with Jack Suwinski, as both can play off their strengths and cover for each other's weaknesses. Joe is solid against left-handed pitching, and Suwinski can crush RHP. But what kind of players does Baseball Savant compare Joe to?

The first two comparisons aren't all that inspiring. They include 2022 Jonathan India and Andrew Knizner. The 2021 Rookie Of The Year suffered a sophomore slump, registering just a .249/.327/.378 line and 95 wRC+. Knizner, meanwhile, was even worse at the dish, slashing .215/.305/.300 with a 79 wRC+. While two of the five comparisons aren't too awe-inspiring, the next three put Joe in a more positive light.

The third is 2021 Jeimer Candelario, who batted .271/.351/.443 with a 120 wRC+ and led the league with 42 doubles. The next comparison was 2022 Josh Rojas, coming in with a .269/.349/.391 slash and 108 wRC+. The final comparison is another Arizona Diamondback, this time in the form of 2022 Ketel Marte, slashing .240/.321/.407 with a 102 wRC+. Of the five comparisons, three posted league average or better numbers.

There's a good possibility Joe will be a league-average or better hitter in 2023. The Pirates will likely use him mostly against left-handed pitching in the outfield and at first base. The batted ball data paints a positive light for Joe heading into the 2023 campaign.