Finishing the season by swinging a hot bat and playing strong defense at the position, Jared Triolo could be forcing himself into the second base discussion for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2024
Throughout the 2023 season, second base has been a revolving door for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Ji Hwan Bae started at second base on Opening Day. Rodolfo Castro was given plenty of opportunities at the position before being traded. Nick Gonzales and Liover Peguero have both been given opportunities at the position as well.
Oh, and lest we forget the real best Double M in Pittsburgh sports Mark Mathias.
Regardless of who has been at second base there has been one thing that has been consistent - poor play. Pirate second basemen have hit for a .231/.299/.339 slash line with a 73 wRC+ and a -0.7 fWAR this season. This puts them tied for 26th among 30 MLB clubs in wRC+ from the second base position, 24th in on-base percentage, 27th in slugging percentage, and 29th in fWAR.
Well, the second base revolving door may have spun and landed on another player in the closing weeks of the season. That player is Jared Triolo who is putting together a strong September and has been starting to play at second base.
Triolo has played at second base in five of the 10 games he's appeared in since being recalled, with four of those five being starts. In total, Triolo has appeared at second base in 10 games at second base with seven starts out of his 45 games played in the majors this season.
Defensively, Triolo has looked just fine at the position with a +1 Outs Above Average which should come as no surprise. After all, Triolo was arguably the best defensive third baseman in minor league baseball the past few seasons. If not for Ke'Bryan Hayes, Triolo would likely be viewed as the third baseman of the future for the Pirates.
Since being recalled earlier this month Triolo has had success at the plate. In 36 plate appearances, so a very small sample size, he has hit for a .276/.417/.552 slash line with a 161 wRC+ and a tremendous 19.4% walk rate. Again, it's a small sample size, but seeing the power from Triolo is an encouraging sign. The biggest concern about Triolo throughout his professional career has been his lower power numbers but he's hit a pair of home runs and doubles to fuel his .552 slugging percentage and .276 isolated slugging (ISO) this month.
Could this open the door for Triolo to get a legitimate look at second base next spring and potentially into the regular season? Well, considering the lack of an option at second base it's a possibility. Gonzales has had a strong second half of the season at Triple-A but struggled mightily during his time in the majors. Peguero has flashed at times but has hit for just a .237/.280/.379 slash line with a 75 wRC+ and a 30.9% strikeout rate this season.
Even though second base is a major question mark for the Pirates right now, it is unlikely to be addressed this offseason. This is due to first base, the starting rotation, and the bullpen all being bigger areas of need this offseason.
Odds are, the Pirates will look to stick with an internal answer at second base to start the 2024 season. If Triolo can finish the final eight games of the season strong he will put himself firmly in the discussion for that job when the team arrives in Bradenton in February.
So, for now at least, the revolving door at second base has spun to Triolo.