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Predicting the Pirates’ Opening Day lineup

Exciting top half of the lineup, boring bottom half.

MLB: Cincinnati Reds at Pittsburgh Pirates Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

With the lull in news, due to Major League Baseball owners acting like spoiled brats and not wanting to cooperate with the MLBPA, fans everywhere are playing pretend and coming up with scenarios for their favorite teams in case there is a 2022 season.

One way they show this is by creating potential lineups and Opening Day pitchers, and this article is no exception.

Considering I’ve aired my grievances regarding Derek Shelton’s lineups in the past, I figured now is a good time to come up with a lineup that makes sense on Opening Day for the Pirates, with a starting rotation, closer and bench added in the mix.

With that being said, here’s who will get the starting nod on Opening Day for the Pittsburgh Pirates:

Opening Day lineup

Ke’Bryan Hayes - 3B

Ben Gamel - RF

Bryan Reynolds - CF

Yoshi Tsutsugo - DH

Michael Chavis - 1B

Cole Tucker - 2B

Kevin Newman - SS

Anthony Alford - LF

Roberto Perez - C

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J.T. Brubaker - SP

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Bench: M. Perez, Park, Allen, Marcano, B. Miller

Rotation: Quintana, Brubaker, Keller, Kranick, Peters

Bullpen: Bednar (CP), Stratton, Thompson, Yajure, Mears, Oviedo, Crowe

Breathe, changes are coming

The lineup is painful to see, but we must remind ourselves that the Pirates are nowhere near contending, so 2022 will be another throw away year. It’s also believable that the lineup will look MUCH different after the All-Star break.

Some of those changes include:

  • Oneil Cruz taking over at short full-time.
  • Roansy Contreras and (possibly) Quinn Priester making it into the pitching scheme. Contreras as a full-time starter, and Priester coming up towards the end of the year as a spot starter for reps.
  • Jose Quintana, Greg Allen and Ben Gamel being gone after July, as they were traded for lottery prospects because it’s the Pirates.
  • Travis Swaggerty coming up towards the end of the season, barring another injury.
  • Kevin Newman being gone via trade, and Diego Castillo taking his place on the active roster.
  • Mason Martin getting promoted to platoon 1B/DH, depending on if they forgo the Rule 5 Draft before the season.

Why Bru?

Also, it would make sense to most people having Jose Quintana open the season on the mound, but knowing Shelton, he’ll tab Brubaker with the reasoning of “he’s earned it after the hard work he’s done this offseason, and after a tough go last year, this will restore his confidence knowing we trust him.”

Don’t count on Brubaker being the only possibility, though, because it’s likely Mitch Keller could be an Opening Day candidate, all for the same reason.

Tucker and Alford? Really?

Yes, really. They were relatively productive towards the end of last season and, in my opinion, have earned a shot to prove themselves again this year.

Tucker came around after Rick Eckstein was canned and Alford found a little consistency hitting-wise during late August and early September. They may not be the second coming of Mike Trout or Xander Bogearts, but the Pirates have nothing to lose by giving them another chance.

Brad Miller on the bench? Jake, why aren’t you fired?

Brad Miller has become one of the more underrated utility players across the league.

His batting average will generate scoffs, but with his 21 home run line in 2021, along with a 105 wRC+ and the ability to play anywhere on the diamond — except catcher — he could be a low risk, high reward rental signing for the Pirates.

And trust me, I’m shocked I haven’t been fired for my takes either.

Take a moment to generate your own lineup in the comment section. After all, there really are no wrong answers this year.