Pirates' skipper Derek Shelton was on with the station across the street yesterday and was asked what his options are at designated hitter.
He mentioned Phillip Evans, a 26-year old who’s had 61 plate appearances in the big leagues where he’s hit .241 with an OPS of .606, as a fit.
Oh. Well, does he have pedigree?
In the minors, Evans has played nine years and hit .264 with a .719 OPS.
Well, that’s a big old turd sandwich.
Shelton also mentioned J.T. Riddle. What? Who? In three years with the Marlins he hit .229 with a .638 OPS.
As far as I’m concerned, and no offense to either guy, but these players shouldn’t make the 30-man roster let alone compete for the DH spot. They aren't major league players.
Shelton brought up Jose Osuna as a possible fit. He makes some sense to me. Osuna hit 10 home runs and 20 doubles last year in 285 plate appearances. He’s not the most gifted fielder, but the bat plays a little bit at the major league level.
My ideal situation, since there’s not a going to be a minor league season, would be to play Ke’Bryan Hayes at third base. He's one of the best defensive infield prospects in all of baseball.
The Pirates were horrific on defense last year.
In AAA in 2019, Hayes had 42 extra-base hits in 110 games with 13 stolen bases. In abbreviated spring training time this year, he had an .840 OPS. Pretty good, although in a small sample size.
Without being able to play in the minors, he’s going to need to develop. Why not at the major league level?
That could push Colin Moran into a platoon situation at DH with Osuna. Moran has hit .281 in his career against righties with a .767 OPS. Osuna’s splits vs. righties and lefties are nearly identical, so you could have him in there against left handed pitching where Moran struggles mightily.
To me, with the Pirates stinking on defense last year, and wanting to also maximize the lineup, I’d have Hayes at third, and Moran/Osuna platoon the DH role.
Another idea would be to have Osuna, who’s not a total stiff at first base, play the corner and have Josh Bell as the DH.
Shoot J.T. Riddle and Phillip Evans into the sun!
I've seen some suggest that the Bucs should bring back Melky Cabrera for another spin. That's not the worst idea. He’s still a free agent. He’s cheap. He hit .280 last year.
The Pirates AREN'T going to sign Yasiel Puig.
A real baseball team, one that tries to win, would sign Puig in a heartbeat. He hit 24 homers last year and had a .785 OPS. The Pirates obviously are starved for power.
An outfield of Reynolds, Puig, and Polanco is actually pretty good. That would push Jarrod Dyson, who is a terrible hitter, out of the lineup.
Alas, that's not going to happen. The Pirates' options at DH are less than ideal.