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Let’s predict an Opening Day lineup

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Who will be the starting 9 on April 1?

MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at New York Yankees Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

We are about a week and a half away from the start of the season. I feel like now is a great time to predict the Opening Day lineup.

On April 1, the Pittsburgh Pirates will travel to Chicago to take on the Cubs. More than likely, Kyle Hendricks will be the Cubs’ Opening Day starter. Based on that info, I will try to construct the Pirates’ lineup for that day.

*Just to note, all meaningless spring stats referenced in this article came before today’s game.

Here’s the lineup

  1. 2B Adam Frazier - Once again, not that it matters, but Frazier has been knocking the cover off the ball this spring. In 22 plate appearances (before today), Frazier is hitting .591/.609/.864 with two doubles and two triples. He will bat leadoff.
  2. 3B Ke’Bryan Hayes - Like Frazier, Hayes has also been crushing the ball this spring (.433/.485/.800 in 33 PA). It’s probably safe to say that he is the team’s best player.
  3. LF Bryan Reynolds - 2020 was miserable for Reynolds as he hit .189/.275/.357 in 208 PA. In 31 PA this spring though, he has looked more comfortable hitting .296/.387/.556 with a pair of home runs. A more 2019-like season from Reynolds would go a long way in helping the Pirates win a few more games.
  4. 1B Colin Moran - Last season, Moran was almost on a 30 home run pace in the shortened 60 game season. As of right now, he is the Pirates’ biggest power threat.
  5. SS Kevin Newman - Not only has Newman earned himself the starting shortstop position, in my opinion, he has earned himself a spot batting fifth in this lineup. Newman has 11 hits in 16 at-bats this spring. Let’s hope the hot streak spills over into the regular season and ride it for as long as possible.
  6. RF Gregory Polanco - Although El Coffee struggled mightily in 2020 (like many Pirates did), he will have to opportunity to bounce back in 2021. His spot in the Opening Day lineup is iron-clad unless injuries pop up.
  7. CF Anthony Alford - The Pirates have given playing time to several centerfielders this spring. In my opinion, Alford has the highest upside. Let’s give the man a chance to see what he can do.
  8. C Jacob Stallings - Now an elder statesman on this team (that’s pretty funny to type), Stallings is a leader in the clubhouse. Note that if the Cubs’ Opening Day starter was a lefty, the 31-year-old would be hitting much higher in this lineup.
  9. P Chad Kuhl - I don’t feel confident about this. Any Pirates’ starter could pass as the Opening Day hurler because one particular guy is not much better or worse than the next. Kuhl has been on this team the longest though (of any starter). He can be the guy.