In yesterday’s spring game, the Pirates tried an outfield alignment of Bryan Reynolds in left, Jack Suwinski in center and Andrew McCutchen in right. Spring Training is a natural time for teams to experiment, but it seems like this is something the club could consider for the regular season as well. “I think that’s something we could see, depending on what we do with ‘Cutch’ in terms of being on the field but I definitely think we could see Jack in center and Bryan in left,” manager Derek Shelton said, per Kevin Gorman of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “We saw, and we talked about last year that (Suwinski) became a better outfielder as the season went on at the major-league level. I think we’re going to continue to get a look at that.”
It seems this is something the players are all on board with, as they are all quoted by Gorman as supporting the potential plan. “I’ve talked with them and that’s going to be probably a mix of both, probably a little more left than center, I guess,” Reynolds said. “I think I grade out better in left, anyway, so that’ll be better for everybody. In the past, I’ve been good in left.” Center field is generally considered the most demanding of the three outfield positions, but PNC Park in Pittsburgh is a little unique in that the deepest part is actually in left-center.
Reynolds saw more time in left in 2019 and 2020 before spending most of his time in center over the past two seasons. The defensive metrics are a split on whether Reynolds is correct that he grades out better in left. Ultimate Zone Rating has generally not given him strong marks anywhere, while Outs Above Average thought him to be exactly average in left in 2019-2020 before a +10 in center in 2021 but then a -7 there in 2022. Defensive Runs Saved is the metric that is most aligned with Reynolds’ self assessment. It gave him a +7 in left over his first two seasons but a -19 in center over the past two. All three metrics were in agreement that he was subpar in center last year, with a -14 DRS, -2.6 UZR and -7 OAA.
Reynolds has been frequently the subject of trade rumors over the past few years, as he’s been playing at an All-Star level on a rebuilding team. A deal hasn’t come together yet with the Pirates apparently putting forth a huge asking price in any trade talks. Moving Reynolds from the premier center field position and into a corner potentially decreases his trade value, but with all the metrics souring on his work up the middle in 2022, perhaps there’s sense in moving him to the less-demanding position at least part of the time. Either way, his bat will still play, as he’s hit .281/.361/.481 for his career even with a nightmare showing in the shortened 2020 campaign. That production is 26% above league average by measure of wRC+, and he’s capable of more, producing a 141 wRC+ in 2021.
While Reynolds arguably fits better in left than in center, moving him to left will require Suwinski to be a viable option in center. That’s not a position where he has spent a ton of time, either in the majors or the minors, getting much more action in the corners. He did log 107 innings up the middle in the majors last year and was graded well, including positive grades from all three of DRS, UZR and OAA. Statcast placed his sprint speed in the 84th percentile but his jumps in the 42nd. These are small sample sizes but perhaps the Bucs feel that more reps at the position could lead to him being a viable candidate there, making this spring experiment a worthwhile path to explore.
Another issue for Suwinski will be his bat. He hit 19 home runs in just 372 plate appearances last year but also struck out in 30.6% of his trips to the plate. He’s generally been able to combine power and on-base ability in the minors, even with high strikeout rates, to be an above-average hitter. Perhaps he can keep that up at the big league level, but pitchers will likely be looking for different ways to attack him in his sophomore season and he will need to adjust.
As for McCutchen, he seems to be ticketed for right field, which he calls “the easiest position to play” at PNC Park. He’s the oldest of the trio at 36, but his sprint speed was still in the 90th percentile last year. He’ll be tasked with covering the smallest part of the outfield in Pittsburgh, though he will have to deal with the tall wall in right. “I’ve seen enough baseballs hit off that wall to know what balls may do and know the ones I’ve got to watch out for,” McCutchen said. “I know that when it goes above that fence (and caroms) off that little bit of wall there, I have to make sure I’m far enough away so I can get to it (because) that’s when you see those triples happen. They don’t happen a lot, but they happen. You do your best just to get the ball. It’s pretty simple. I don’t overthink it. I know what I’ve got to do.”
The Bucs have other outfield options on their 40-man, such as Ji Hwan Bae, Connor Joe and Calvin Mitchell and others, though it seems like this alignment with Suwinski heavily involved is at the forefront of their plans. “He’ll be fine doing it,” Reynolds said. “We’ll just work through it in spring, with him communicating in center versus me in center and getting to know each other in the new positions.” McCutchen also voiced his confidence in the plan. “Us having the understanding of who the center fielder is, what a center fielder does, we know that he has priority,” McCutchen said. “So, it’s me letting Jack know, ‘The ball is yours, regardless. When the ball goes up, it’s yours. If the ball is in the gap and I’m iffy on whether I can catch it, you should be catching that ball.’”
They’ll also need to explore alignments after they trade Reynolds
Knowing the Pirates they will wait until Reynolds has a long slump, then gets hurt, and make sure his trade value is at its lowest before they finally, inevitably trade him. Why trade him at peak value when you can wait until he has less service time remaining and has lower trade value?
This one belongs to the Reds
Doubt they are alreafy planning for three uears from now.
Anyone who thinks they are dealing him for anything less than a deal they can’t refuse is living a large market team’s wet dream. He has no bargaining power whatsoever.
If Kiermier is hurt or way underperforming, Varsho moves to CF.
The Jays would certainly be willing to deal for him as long as it’s not Tiedemann.
If the Yankees LF problem doesn’t solve itself by the deadline, they are likely the frontrunner to overpay.
If Cherrington is expecting a Soto return then he’ll end up getting nothing and hurting the franchise long term
3 years of control, a very good LF with a very good bat. Yea that’s worth a Stud SP prospect, Yea that’s probably worth another organization top 10 you like, Yea that’s probably worth a younger OF replacement.
It seems they want the SP prospect the most. Jays will part with Barriera but not Tiedemann
Barriera # 2 ORG LH SP eta 26
Martinez # 4 ORG big power middle INF eta 24
A OR AA filler
Lukes replacement OF
Cashman is not a front runner to overpay, if he was he’d have Castillo instead of Montas.
I fully expect the Yankees to eventually snap out of their slumber and use Money to buy wins once this year finds them in 3rd behind Toronto and Baltimore
Especially with Daddy warbucks across town spending more money than a third of the league combined.
As a Jays fan the moment I expect anything different from any of the teams in the AL east I get surprised. Can never feel comfortable.
Who knows, Redsox could just sneak in and scoop up Reynolds for a bunch of players that never sniff the majors
Stranger things have happened
The only thing the Prates should be exploring is selling and moving. The have more people commenting here than go to the games. Cubs minor league teams have bigger budgets and more fans. Sad Organization, Sad posters, Just totally sad in general. Steve Cohen tips his Barber more than Nutting pays his players and you think you can compete? And if anyone is dumb enough to believe that fool is paid to moderate anything, I got land in Florida for sale. Prime Beachfront Hurricane land. Fresh.
It seems inevitable the Bucs will leave Pittsburgh. I’d imagine there are several cities that would be much more lucrative, including Montreal (which has seen intense development both downtown and in the suburbs the past 20 years), Vancouver, San Antonio, Vegas, OKC, SLC, Austin, Portland, Charlotte, Jacksonville, New Orleans, Norfolk, Nashville, heck even Orlando could support a team better than Pittsburgh just by having Disney build a ballpark and comp tickets to guests.
Wtf are you idiots talking about?
If I’m one of the idiots…..
I’m suggesting the Jays trade for Reynolds to shore up LF and ostensibly CF
Would Pittsburgh be interested in a package headlined by Barriera (a Stud LH SP capable of high 90s velocity) expected to be a top of the rotation starter by 2026/27 plus another top 10 organizational peice and a few filler guys or lotto tickets?
Or what would you realistically expect from the Jays, or Yankees/Padres/Mets/Dodgers
The Pirates have been in Pittsburgh for over 140 years. The attendance is more of an indictment of the fans being tired of endless cycles of rebuilds (sans the actual competitive stretch from 2013-’16). In that four year window of competitiveness the team drew over 2 million fans in each season. Pittsburgh is a good market and deserves better than what nutting gives them
99% of us know the only problem in Pittsburgh is Nutting.
Pittsburgh certainly deserves better.
Um, well, who really knows?
No chance they stay in Pittsburgh long term. No chance.
Pirates did nicely in picking up backstop Austin Hedges. Outfield should improve too.
Austin Hedges for $5M…. A 30 year old backup catcher who cannot hit? Hedges is the worst hitter in the league…. While the only position where the Pirates have both high end talent and depth is catcher! Endy Rodriguez and Henry Davis are already better options than Hedges.
The Pirates are moving Reynolds to left since that position has less defensive value and it will temper his stats and maybe get him cheaper.
I had two initial thoughts about this: planning for life after Reynolds, and/or this devalues Reynolds at the negotiating table.
Pirates have the negotiating leverage regardless of whether they play him in LF. If someone offered them a great headliner prospect in trade, he’d probably be gone. If clubs are offering more quantity over quality in talks, that can be a signal he’s viewed as a nice acquisition but don’t get carried away mindset. That in itself would make Bucs feel less inclined to be near the BR number if trade offers are just okay/not great.
I don’t think advanced defensive metrics are used in arbitration hearings, and LF at PNC means his number of putouts shouldn’t suffer much if at all.
EVERYTHING is used in arbitration hearings. All you need to do is read about Corbin Burnes and the Brewers to know that.
No, the arbitrators are well behind the analysts when it comes to, well, analytics. They mostly argue using traditional stats and values.
Burnes didn’t say anything to the contrary
A player that is willing to change to a less demanding position because it will make the team better?! Wow! Sign this player up! This is what you want to build your team with.
Reynolds is not really a good Center Fielder so in reality moving him back to LF may increase his value
Yup. He’s not a very good CF and won’t be playing there for much longer on any team. Even he realizes it which is why he was ok with the move.
Depends on how it is presented. People today have far more regard for center fielders over corner outfielders. It could be said that he is better as a LF, but it could also be said that he isn’t good enough to play CF and can ONLY play LF. Presentation is everything.
Arbitration still values classic stats. This is not going to save the Pirates any money.
Reynolds isn’t a good CF and that doesn’t get better with age. Playing the less physically demanding LF probably means he can get his bat in the lineup more days which could lead to more counting stats. They probably
don’t think he’s a great CF and want to explore other options.
Are the Yankees still looking for a left fielder?
Steve Cohen Owns You
If you were a hot dog, would you eat yourself?
“It’s a simple question!”
Last night I had a dream that a hamburger was eating me.
I really never put a lot of weight in UZR ratings. UZR basically has the playing field divided into Quadrants and you get “x” amount of points for balls caught in a certain quadrant. Scores don’t tell how far player had to run to make the play that resulted in a out. Teams that position their players better will always score higher than those that do t.
This one belongs to the Reds
Eyeballs are better anyway.
OAA and DRS are much better defensive metrics than UZR
Watch what you say here. These people are pretty touchy.
Steve Cohen Owns You
Who you calling “these people”?!
Steve: Mikey is a little sore from a hammering her took recently for being a sub85 IQ type commenter, AND, since he is a Cubs fan, his inadequacy as a fan shows thru.
“Whats five little points anyway??”
“Your mamma sure does care about your schoolin, son. Mmm mm mmm.”
This from a guy called Clepto? LMAO. Oh very clever of you to misspell Dike the derogatory one, Slipped it right past the moderators here. Not sure what pirates and A’s fans are touchy about. Everyone knows they suck.
Hammering I took? LMAO. The proudest guy of your crappy team is a guy who named himself after the worst hitter in Baseball history. Everyone else in the World thinks of Mendoza as a joke. He’s proud of it. The whole Organization is a joke. He’s fond of saying, I stand behind everything I’ve posted. Not sure which is sadder.
Mikey, Mendoza was the worst hitter in baseball? Really? Mendoza was a light hitting shortstop who had a career batting average of .215 and a nine year career.. most of those years were as a platoon player except for his two years in Seattle when he played in most of the games. The fact that he had a nine year career suggests that he contributed in other ways that made him valuable enough to be kept around and not a “joke” as you claim. As to being the “worst hitter” there have been multitudes worse, guys who hit below the “Mendoza line” and who.don’t contribute enough in other ways to put together a long career. The Mendoza line does not represent the “worst hitter” rather an imaginary line that denotes those below it will not survive in the majors unless they bring something else to the table besides.
Skep: UncleDickey doesnt deal in facts nor reality. Save the keystrokes.
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Skeptical and Clepto-Please Please.You two guys are smart and classy posters.Mike does not understand facts and sense.
I get paid by MLBTR to take care of the trolls and clowns.
Mike is just upset that since and including the 1909 season his TWO teams have won two World Championships while the Pirates have five.
He has to cap on someone.Mike would be a bully but he is even too stupid for that.
I actually enjoy this but that is somewhat sad in itself.
Let me drag myself far down to Mike’s level.He actually enjoys getting beat up verbally because he is too stupid to know any better.
Well the reality is your owner is a joke. Your team is a joke. Your screen name is a joke The guy you idolize is a joke. Clepto can’t post during the day cause he’s out stealing. If you look at his family album your first question would be, Why does everybody have a number on their chest? You two guys must be brothers who are cackling in your high school cafeteria patting yourselves on the back for getting D*ke past the moderators here. Yuk Yuk look what I did, Ya ya good one Klepper! Nothing can change your fortunes except an education, Which you’ll never get. All you have to look forward to is….. I got nothin. Once a loser always a loser. And Mendoza is the worst hitter ever in baseball, Hence the joke. I was counting Pirate losses on my calculator and the battery went dead. I put new batteries in it and it went dead again. Sad
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Mike,you are an incorrigible romantic.
But an irrelevant one.
I feel sorry that you don’t know that you’re really not wanted by any intelligent creature.And at this point you start to being ignored.
Listen,there are several other teams at least who you can newly diss and their home team posters will not know your act.
They will quickly grow tired of you though.
Then you will have to eventually return to the two teams who you do not want to face- the Cubs and the White Sox.
I truly bid you adieu,and know that you will give me once again your normal reaction.I promise that you will have the last word which is very important to you.
You have made a fool of yourself Mike.
But you are irrelevant at this point Mike.
You keep saying that but you keep coming back? Why? Are you that big a loser that you keep this up?
With the new rules on shifts, do the outfielders have to all play in a specific area or can you move the fielders around for the left-handed batters? Why have a guy standing in left-field when there is a lefty up to bad that mostly hits to the right?
The new shift rules don’t apply to the outfielders. You can even still play a 5-man infield when necessary.
Nice! I could see teams doing that for guys who mostly pull to one side. Why put a defender in the field when the hitter isn’t going to hit it that way?
Then MLB will ban outfielders from moving around.
That’s a lot riskier than an infield overshift, since on the off chance he does hit it that way it’ll likely be an inside-the-park home run.
Steve Cohen Owns You
Pretty soon, Nutting will announce his plan for the “Jimmy John’s Fan of Month”. One lucky fan will be chosen each month to play LF. Position is unpaid.
Sorry. Love Cutch, but I don’t see him as a full-time rightfielder.
My assumption is that they must be planning for Suwinski to bear to the right side of Center, and somehow have Suinski and Reynolds cover 3/4 of the OF to cover a bit for Cutch’s diminished range.
Cutch has said as much, that he expects to DH far more than play the OF. I would think the team would want him in the OF unless a few young guys surprise. I think the Pirates highest rated OF prospect is about no. 15.
Even with Reynolds around, this team still doesn’t have a lot of outfield depth. No natural center fielder. Would be nice to have Cutch DH a lot , but with Santana and Choi around, that makes him needed more often. If one of Bae or Mitchell can emerge, that will help, Bae can be the best CF option but I’m not sure if his bat has much pop?
Swaggerty is a natural CF. If he hits in Spring and the first month or two of the season in AAA its his job.
Well he better play Kiermaier level defense because being 25 and a poor hitter in the minors isn’t a formula for success. He and Marcano are certainly on the bubble, can’t keep too many of these guys around.
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Milt-I was surprised that he is evidently still as fast as he was.
He is a smart outfielder too.
But you need a good arm to play right field,and his I do not doubt now is below average.
MLB working on a new rule that left fielders can only play in left field. To speed the game up and get the younger folks interested.
I’m not sure about Jack in center, but I know Bryan profiles better at left even if he is still not a plus left fielder. Really we all knew that to be true just really didn’t have any one to replace him at center.
What is nice to hear is that Bryan recognizes it. This is why I think i like Bryan. The trade request soured me a little bit on him. Hearing things like this tells me he is aware of his strengths and weaknesses, I like that.
I’m not sure they’re going to find a center fielder who would be a better fit than Bryan but the team also has a few others with Bae and Swag probably at the top of that list. Swag is probably near the end of the line if he doesn’t show something in spring though.
I think this alignment may be temporary and dependent on Cutch being in Pittsburgh. If Cutch has a good season and the Pirates aren’t in contention for a wild card spot, Cutch will be gone. I suspect than Suwinski ends up in right and Bae in center if Bae’s bat develops at the major league level.
I doubt Cutch goes anywhere. Not saying it won’t happen i just think it is pretty unlikely. I doubt Bob will let it happen again they are not going to get grade A talent back and Cutch brings great PR…
But maybe they would if it is to a serious contender to get him a ring.
I’m still a Swaggerty fan. When he was drafted it was assumed that he’d take a little more seasoning than most college draftees picked that high coming from a smaller school. He also had to deal with a very complicated birth of his first child. Nonetheless he still plays a solid defensive CF so even if he’s just adequate with the bat I think he’s going to be the regular CF by mid-season.
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My sense is that Swaggerty will be a Matt Vierling type of player.
Granted he is a good centerfielder but I doubt that he will hit enough to make a difference on a good team.
The Pirates have a lot of outfielders.
Awwwww dewwwdddd Cutch back in black and yellow gives me all the feels, man. That’s what life is all about! A multimillionaire back home, man! I’m gonna max out my credit card to cheer him on, man!
Grab a ticket on stubhub 15 minutes before first pitch. If twelve dollars maxes out your credit cards then find a second job. I live and work within a 20 minute walk of pnc park and go to a handful to a dozen games a year and the total cost to get in and watch the game for all of them is under 150 a year. Granted I spent about 4 to 5 hundred on beers and food but you can avoid that by exercising self control.
Steve Cohen Owns You
Reynolds has not played solid defense in CF, so moving him to LF is certainly a reasonable option.
Playing Reynolds at the OF corners would certainly lower his value in arbitration. Nutting has showed that he has no interest in winning just making money, so that would be a strategy that would keep more money in Nutting’s pocket.
This is going to get ugly if Reynolds doesn’t want to play in LF.
Forget trading Reynolds until mid year.
Pirates are definitely going to be doing a lot of mixing and matching in the OF this year. Reynolds, Suwinski, Cutch, Bae, CSN, Mitchell, and Swaggerty will all see time on the OF grass this season. Probably others too. They will undoubtedly be auditioning the multitude of OF prospects to see if any are worthy of being an everyday player.
As for Reynolds, I’m betting Nutting surprises us all and signs him to a deal worth more than $100 million.
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Scott- I agree with both paragraphs.Also,nothing to keep Cutch from coming back next year even if traded.
I am hoping that Bae can hit and lead off and end up playing CF.
Suwinski can move to right but they either need to just play him in Pittsburgh or end up platooning him unless he learns to strike out far less.
Mitchell got better in AAA each of the three times that he played there I think that he deserves a chance too
I think that CSN and Swaggerty will have to prove that they can hit in AAA.
They need to make it 440 all the way around
Reynolds played like Dave Kingman in center with -14 DRS, -2.6 UZR and -7 OAA. No extension for you.