Pittsburgh Pirates: How Will the Outfield Lineup to Start 2023?
The Pittsburgh Pirates have improved their lineup for the 2023 season. One of the moves they made was to improve their outfield.
Bryan Reynolds is currently slated to be in the Pittsburgh Pirates outfield to start the 2023 season. That is obvious, but also of note the only outfielder who also started last season in the lineup. The likes of Ben Gamel and Cole Tucker taking at-bats are gone.
Of course, fans of the Pittsburgh Pirates saw several young outfielders make strides at the Big League level. Players like Jack Suwinksi and in a smaller sample size Ji-Hwan Bae took advantage of their opportunities in 2022. Both will receive consistent playing time this season. However, there are of course other outfielders in the mix, which is actually a good thing.
So what are some of the new pieces for the Pittsburgh Pirates to deploy in this year's outfield? The obvious is Andrew McCutchen. While Cutch is not a center fielder anymore, he still can play well enough in the corners to take up some innings. The same can be said for Connor Joe, who appeared in the corner outfield spots in 66 games last season.
Both Cutch and Joe are right-handed hitters. It makes sense when compared to last year's team. Suwinski, who hit 19 home runs as a rookie in 2022, only hit .122 against left-handed pitching with a 44 wRC+. Against right-handed pitching, he had much better results batting .238 with a 122 wRC+. He clearly was in need of a platoon partner. He will get more than one option in Joe and Cutch.
There are a few other options as well. Ji-man Choi, who is expected to get time at first base and as the designated hitter, has played in the outfield. The team also has former top draft picks Travis Swaggerty and Cal Mitchell. Both made their debuts in 2022 with Mitchell appearing more so than Swaggerty. Neither seems to be in a good spot to make the team going forward, but definitely could be called upon at some point.