Pittsburgh Pirates: What Jack Suwinski Can Do to Improve in 2024

Jack Suwinski had a breakout season in 2023, but could continue to work on some other aspects of his game in 2024.

Aug 26, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Jack Suwinski (65)
Aug 26, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Jack Suwinski (65) / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
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What He Improved In 2023

Suwinski’s strike zone recognition became much better in 2023. In 2022, he had a chase rate of 24.5%, which ranked in the 75th percentile. Last year, he swung outside the K-zone even less frequently, 18.2% of the time, to be exact. That was the 5th lowest chase rate last season, with only Mookie Betts, Juan Soto, Lars Nootbaar, and LaMonte Wade Jr. Suwinski’s walk rate, in turn, saw an impressive jump from 11% to 14%.

Suwinski also changed his batted-ball approach. His exit velocity went from 88.3 MPH, which was in just the 38th percentile in 2022, to 90.5 MPH, coming in the 75th percentile. Meanwhile, his hard-hit rate rose from the 52nd percentile at 40.2% to the 64th percentile at 43.4%. Hitting the ball hard wasn’t his only improvement, but he got far better at hitting for more quality contact.

Suwinski’s 12.2% barrel rate was well above average in 2022. It was still in the 86th percentile, but in 2023, he improved it to 15.7%. This was the 8th highest rate in baseball and ahead of popular sluggers, including Pete Alonso, Ronald Acuna, Rafael Devers, and just behind the National League home run leader Matt Olson, who sat at 16.4%.

Suwinski became a lot more fly ball heavy. He upped his fly ball rate by over 10% from ‘22 (42.3%) to ‘23 (53.6%). This was due to an 8.1-degree increase in launch angle. The combination of a higher launch angle and more hard-hit baseballs led to a dramatic uptick in barrel rate.