Where should the Pittsburgh Pirates invest their resources for their 2019 club?
Welcome to Bucco Breakfast, a new daily morning feature designed to help you through the offseason. Each day we’ll roll out a quick topic designed to spark conversation as well as provide some interesting baseball reading from around the web.
The Pittsburgh Pirates have plenty of talent to take them into the future.
The club also has plenty of holes.
How should the team go about prioritizing which deficiencies get plugged first?
If we use the WAA (Wins Above Average) statistic from Baseball Reference, we may be able to come to a more educated answer. WAA differs from WAR in one key area. WAR assumes a replacement level of zero wins, while WAA compares a player against the average rather than zero. It adds context where WAR sometimes does not.
With that being said, this chart shows us that the Pittsburgh Pirates are woefully behind other clubs in the
middle infield. While second and short carry the most deficit, the corners are also no slouch. With the organization seemingly making firm commitments to Colin Moran and Josh Bell, along with Jung Ho Kang potentially lurking in the third base picture, the middle infield seems to hold the positions most ripe for change.
It’s going to be interesting, as the organization has put their weight behind Kevin Newman and Kevin Kramer as their envisioned middle infield of the future. Will the team look to upgrade over both? Not likely.
Looking elsewhere, Pittsburgh Pirates relievers had a surprisingly low season total, but that should rebound next season, especially if the club makes one or two smart additions to the bullpen. While the team’s starting pitching came in right in the middle of the pack, it is full of intrigue and could naturally progress with a better season from Chris Archer buoyed by continued strides from Jameson Taillon and Joe Musgrove. Trevor Williams could be a key factor here, and if he can be 3⁄4 of the pitcher he showed to be down the stretch, this unit should improve here by WAA.
However, I am firmly in the camp that thinks the Pirates can and should look to upgrade over Ivan Nova. The club is too talented to keep a spot in their starting rotation for an “innings eater” with limited strikeout potential. Sonny Gray, anyone?