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 Still Needs Working

Suwinski’s defense in center field was not bad. Defensive runs saved did not like his glove work, but in terms of outs above average, he was in the 81st percentile at +3 OAA. Suwinski has good range. He was in the 81st percentile of sprint speed and used that speed to run good routes. But his first-step reaction was not good.

Now in Suwinski’s defense (no pun intended), it was his first year playing center field full-time. It may not seem like a major change, but that different angle of seeing the ball come off an opponent’s bat may have thrown him off a bit. He has put in some work this off-season, however, and is looking to improve this area of his game, according to Kevin Gorman of the Trib Live .

The other thing Suwinski needs to work on is his plate discipline. Suwinski struck out 32.2% of the time, 1.6% more often than he did in 2022. But Suwinski did start taking a different approach late in the season in September. While he swung outside the zone more often with a 26.6% chase rate, he also made contact on chase swings 60.3% of the time compared to just 50.7% in April through August. While he swung 6.4% more often, his swinging strike rate barely budged, going from 10.9% to 10.8%. 

This approach worked well, as he cut his strikeout rate down from 33.6% to 26.2%, but his OPS, wOBA, and wRC+ went from .779, .338, and 110 to .848, .355, and 122. But this did mean he had to sacrifice some raw power. His exit velocity and barrel rate sat at just 88.9 MPH and 9.6%. Both are still above average but closer to his 2022 rates. Do keep in mind that this is only his September numbers. It’s a sample size of just 103 plate appearances. But that doesn’t mean positive steps weren’t being made in September.

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