Next up in our who’s who of the Pirates’ Spring Training roster: Infielders.
1B/OF Josh Bell (No. 55)
2B Chris Bostick (63)
3B/1B David Freese (23)
2B Alen Hanson (37)
2B Josh Harrison (5)
1B John Jaso (28)
3B Jung Ho Kang (16)
SS Jordy Mercer (10)
UT Max Moroff (62)
SS Gift Ngoepe (61)
SS Kevin Newman (78): Newman doesn’t require much of an introduction. The Pirates’ 2015 first-rounder has moved quickly through the minors and demonstrated plus hitting and patience along the way, though he doesn’t have much power. He only has 268 plate appearances at Double-A, and the Pirates don’t necessarily have an immediate need for him, so they could keep him in the minors awhile longer. If he keeps hitting, though, he could displace Mercer before too long.
1B/3B Jason Rogers (15): The Pirates, of course, acquired Rogers for Keon Broxton and Trey Supak in one of their worst trades in the past few seasons. Broxton’s combination of defense, baserunning and emerging power makes him one of the Brewers’ most interesting young players (although his strikeout tendencies still ultimately could consume him), and Supak quietly had a pretty good season for Class A Wisconsin (although he’s still light years from the majors). Rogers, meanwhile, didn’t really hit last year at Triple-A, didn’t make an impact in the big leagues, and got outrighted last month. He’ll serve as Triple-A depth in 2017, and with Bell, Kang, Freese and Jaso to man the corner infield positions, it’ll take a bunch of injuries for him to get much of an opportunity in the big leagues.
1B/OF Joey Terdoslavich (88): The Bucs signed Terdoslavich (again, “Ter-DOSS-la-vich”) to a minor league deal last week. As with Rogers, Terdoslavich has some big league experience (with the Braves from 2013 through 2015), but he’ll have a tough time cracking the big leagues with the Bucs given the team’s depth at the positions he plays. He’s hit well at Double-A and only acceptably at Triple-A and spent most of the 2016 season at the Double-A level.
2B Erich Weiss (81): Weiss, the Pirates’ 11th-round pick in 2013, has reached base at a .358 clip as he’s moved through the minors. He’s already 25, though, and he doesn’t have much power. Perhaps more importantly, he’s never appeared at shortstop as a pro, which means he probably won’t be a utility infielder in the majors. That means he’ll have to stick as a starter, which seems like it’ll be an uphill battle. Unsurprisingly, he wasn’t selected in the Rule 5 Draft this winter. He has over a year of experience at Altoona, so he should head to Indianapolis in 2017.
3B Eric Wood (78): Wood capped a decent season with Altoona (during which he hit 16 home runs, more than twice his previous career high) with a strong .330/.388/.489 performance in the Arizona Fall League. His hitting in the AFL still didn’t get him added to the 40-man roster (or selected in the Rule 5 Draft). He played outfield and first base in the AFL, which should help him find playing time wherever the Bucs send him in 2017. If he’s at Triple-A, he’ll likely receive less playing time at third base than Moroff, who’s probably a better prospect.