Pittsburgh Pirates: Three Acquisition Targets Based On DRC+

Who are some buy-low candidates the Pirates could go after based on DRC+?

Aug 30, 2023; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Chicago White Sox first baseman Andrew Vaughn (25) rounds
Aug 30, 2023; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Chicago White Sox first baseman Andrew Vaughn (25) rounds / Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports
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Alec Burelson - 135 DRC+

The St. Louis Cardinals have an overabundance of outfield options for 2024. If they look to trade anyone, it’ll probably be an outfielder. One potential Cardinals’ outfielder who could be on the block is Alec Burelson, whose rookie year wasn’t all that great but has some promising underlying numbers.

In 347 plate appearances, Burelson batted just .244/.300/.390 with an 89 wRC+. While the lefty batter only struck out in 13% of his plate appearances, he had a weak 6.6% walk rate, as well as a below-average .146 isolated slugging percentage. With a wRC+ well below 100, why even consider Burelson at all?

Burelson, despite his poor season, had a 135 DRC+. That’s up there with some of the best hitters in baseball, like Yandy Diaz (134), Jose Ramirez (133), and Bryce Harper (137). While that’s not to say that Burelson will be as productive in 2024 as any of that trio was in 2023, there is reason to believe that Burelson could significantly out-perform his 89 wRC+ from last season.

Burleson had an above-average 89.9 MPH exit velocity (60th percentile) and a 41% hard-hit rate (51st percentile). His xwOBA, xBA, and xSLG percentage were also better than average. Baseball Savant compares Burelson’s batted ball profile to five different players, all of which posted an OPS+ of at least 100 (league average) or better. The worst was Alex Verdugo in 2023 at 100, and the best was Adley Rutschman at 128 last season.