First Base - Carlos Santana/Ji Man Choi
The Pirates entered the year with Carlos Santana and Ji-Man Choi as the first base platoon. However, Choi went down with an Achilles strain in the second week of April, which has caused him to miss almost the entire season up to this point. However, Choi looks to get back into the line-up and will help offset some of Santana's struggles against RHP.
Hiding Santana from RHP will be a blessing for the Pirates. The veteran first baseman is only batting .232/.302/.403 with a 91 wRC+ against righties. He still has a respectable 9.4% walk rate and .171 isolated slugging, but the numbers speak for themselves. However, when facing a left-handed pitcher, Santana is batting .282/.373/.451 with a 126 wRC+. He's walked 11 times with just 11 strikeouts, and his ISO is a solid .169 against southpaws.
Choi is a known threat against right-handers. He is a career .244/.352/.451 slasher against opposite-handed pitching. 58 of his 63 home runs have come against right-handers. While his 24.8% strikeout rate is nothing to be proud of, he's also walked at a staggering 14% rate. Power has been no problem either, with a healthy .204 isolated slugging percentage. If Choi's rehab numbers are an indicator of anything, it's that he's at 100%. The first baseman has ten hits in just 35 plate appearances. Five of those hits have gone for extra bases, including a whopping three home runs, a double, and a triple. He's also drawn five walks to oppose just eight strikeouts.
Santana's defense has been a life-saver at first base for the Bucs this season. He has +7 defensive runs saved and +4 outs above average. Santana already has the most DRS by a Pirates first baseman in the DRS era by four runs saved. His +4 OAA is the second-best in the National League at first base, trailing only Arizona Diamondbacks' slugger Christian Walker. Santana could very well win a Gold Glove this year. Choi is no slouch himself when it comes to first base defense. Last year, Choi had +2 outs above average. This year, he already had +1 DRS and +1 OAA before landing on the IL.
The Santana/Choi platoon could be back in full effect post-ASG break. It really could give the Pirates a threatening first base duo down the line. Choi returning in the second half is a major boost to the line-up. He can help compensate for Santana's deficiencies against RHP, and Santana can cover Choi when there is a southpaw pitching.