4 players the Pittsburgh Pirates should acquire using their pitching talent

The Pittsburgh Pirates should use the vast amount of pitching talent in the organization to pursue these four hitters.
Boston Red Sox v Los Angeles Angels
Boston Red Sox v Los Angeles Angels / Brandon Sloter/GettyImages
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Taylor Ward

Taylor Ward is one of the Los Angeles Angels outfielders, but the Halos might be willing to listen to any of their arbitration-eligible players. Ward is a solid corner outfield who brings some power. He's someone the Pirates should definitely look into if the Angels are willing to part with the outfielder.

Ward hit .265/.346/.449 with a 121 wRC+ in the three seasons prior to 2024. He's off to another good start as he's currently slashing .273/.307/.469 through 153 plate appearances. Ward is hitting for a good amount of power. He's already slugged seven home runs with an ISO of .196, which is currently a career-best. Ward's 21.6% strikeout rate isn't out of the ordinary for him, but his 5.6% walk rate is. The last three seasons saw Ward draw ball four in 9.8% of his plate appearances.

Ward might be taking a different approach, but it's working well. He could be even better than he already is. The slugger is above the 80th percentile of both exit velocity (91.6 MPH) and barrel rate (13.4%). He has registered a .293 xBA, .541 xSLG%, and a .377 xwOBA, all three of which are much higher than his current batting average, slugging percentage, and weighed on-base average. 

Ward typically grades out as a decent right fielder. So far this year, he has +1 defensive run saved and out above average. In his two prior seasons, he had just -2 DRS and +4 OAA between all three outfield positions. Plus, he consistently registers average to above-average arm strength numbers.

I am all aboard for the Pirates to go after Ward. The one downside is that Ward doesn't have a lot of control remaining. He becomes a free agent after the 2026 season. But he'd be worth the two-and-a-half seasons. If Ward is on the trading block during this summer, the Pirates should look into acquiring him and trade some of the arms in the system.