No. 3 Free Agent, Michael A. Taylor
Quite a few Pirate fans have been intrigued by free agent Michael A. Taylor, who happens to be one of the best defenders in recent years. However, his problem is he doesn’t hit for a high average and is likely due to regression. In his career, his hitting has been very hit or miss, with most of his value coming from his fielding. But in 2023, he started to slug home runs like crazy, finishing the year with 21. However, that likely won’t happen again and was caused by an increase in his barrel rate, which in his career has been below-average to elite, depending on the season.
Taylor’s main attraction would be the fielding ability he would add, with his 90th percentile arm strength and range, as well as an 87th percentile in total arm value, marking him as one of the best. He would fit quite well into the Pirates’ current system, where they like to attempt a lot of steals and double-steals.
He hasn’t fully proven himself as a base-stealing threat, but if molded right, he could become a part of a championship-esque team like the 2015 Kansas City Royals, who had power-hitters like Mike Moustakas, Kendrys Morales, and Salvador Perez, paired along with good contact hitters like Lorenzo Cain, Alex Gordon, and Eric Hosmer, as well as speedy players like Alcides Escobar, Jarrod Dyson, and Cain.
To start the 2023 season, the Pirates play very aggressive baseball, like the 2015 Royals who went on to shock everyone by winning the World Series, despite the lack of elite players, compared to the stacked 2015 New York Mets.