Pittsburgh Pirates: Three Moves That Will Pay Dividends In 2024

These three Pirates acquisitions will pay dividends in 2024.
San Francisco Giants v Milwaukee Brewers
San Francisco Giants v Milwaukee Brewers / Patrick McDermott/GettyImages
4 of 4

Signing Rowdy Tellez

A lot of fans were majorly disappointed by the signing of Rowdy Tellez. Many were expecting maybe a longer-term solution this off-season, and Tellez represents another rebound candidate. But I think many are also sleeping way too hard on Tellez. I think he's going to end up being a steal for the Pirates in 2024.

In 2022, Tellez batted .219/.306/.461 with 35 home runs and a .242 isolated slugging percentage. The first baseman had a quality 20.2% strikeout rate while walking in 10.4% of his plate appearances. Tellez was in the top 80th percentile or better in exit velocity (91.1 MPH), hard-hit rate (46%), and barrel rate (12.9%). All told he had a .327 wOBA and 110 wRC+.

However, there was a lot of hope Tellez could further improve on his season. He had a .349 xwOBA and .252 xBA and was one of the most shifted players in 2022. With the new shift rules, he could potentially get more hits, and for the first two months of 2023, it looked like Tellez was taking advantage of the limited shifts.

After the first day of June, Tellez was batting .244/.330/.500 with a .348 wOBA and 118 wRC+. Tellez may have seen his strikeout rate rise to 25%, but he still managed an 11.7% walk rate. Tellez was collecting more hits in total but was also hitting for more pop. He had a dozen home runs with a .256 ISO through his first 188 plate appearances. Had Tellez kept this pace up until he had the same number of PAs as in 2022, he would have finished the season with 38 homers. Tellez had seen a decrease in his raw power; however, he had just an 88.4 MPH exit velocity, 10.9% barrel rate, and 40.3% hard hit rate. But overall, his bottom line looked great.

That was until he started to suffer from forearm issues. From June 2nd through July 4th, Tellez would step to the plate 100 more times while only having 15 total hits. Only three of the hits went for extra bases, and they were all doubles. Tellez was placed on the IL in early July and was set back once again after injuring his finger while catching flyballs during batting practice. He wouldn't return until late-August, but he was never able to recapture his early season numbers.

Tellez had just a 76 wRC+ after getting activated from the IL, so why do I believe he can be a great pick-up? Tellez seemed to get his raw strength back. Despite his poor wRC+, he still registered a 92.9 MPH exit velocity and a 50% hard-hit rate. While his strikeout and ground ball rate went up, he could have been trying to push things too hard upon his return. Tellez is still on the younger side of baseball, as this will only be his age-29 season. I think the Tellez we saw in 2022 and in April and May of last year is the real Tellez.

Next. Peguero Opportunity Knocking. Opportunity Knocking for Liover Peguero in 2024. dark