Anyone with eyes and ears has seen and heard about the ups and downs of the Pittsburgh Pirates this season. This is not a strange phenomenon for Pirates fans to experience however, as the wash-rinse-repeat cycle of our baseball club is all too familiar. With that being said, there are players and pieces in place that could see Pittsburgh rise above some of their traditional ways next season, and I for one am very excited to see what next season has to offer for outfielder, Jack Suwinski.
In my opinion, Suwinski is maybe the most underrated player on the team, but I am here to say that there may be no other player that gets me this excited about Pirates baseball.
Now I’m not going to act like Suwinski is the next coming of Barry Bonds, but I’m a Pittsburgh sports fan, which means I will ALWAYS root for the underdogs and the journeyman, and Suwinski certainly has that dog in him.
A team-leading 25 homers on the year for Jack Suwinski! pic.twitter.com/B3n9iTmPVc— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) September 14, 2023
Drafted out of William Taft High School in Chicago Illinois, the Padres took a chance on the standout batter in the 15th round of the 2016 MLB draft. His first couple of years in San Diego’s system saw very little advancements. However, 2021 was a breakout year for Suwinski, adding a lot of power in San Antonio and putting up impressive stats against right-handed batters. The Pirates would acquire him in the Adam Frazier trade, where he finished out the year in Altoona.
2022 would see Suwinski take some steps back as he struggled early on. He would receive a call up, go on an incredible hot streak in June, and then go on an 0-for-29 streak in July, bringing his time in Pittsburgh to an end as he went down to Triple-A Indianapolis. He was then called back up again in August of that year and has been with the team since,
Now in his first full year as a Bucco, Suwinski has made some improvements and put a lot of pitchers on alert when he’s in the batter’s box. In 2023 through 132 games, Suwinski has hit 25 homers, scored 56 runs, generated 66 RBIs and has been walked 70 times. The 25 home run mark that he just met in the previous series against the Nationals, puts him in the top 20 rankings of the National League. Through his last 15 games, he has hit for .265 with three homers and 10 RBIs.
“I want to come in and play hard and do my best for the team and be the player that I know I can be. Just go out and compete every day, play as hard as I can and be the guy that I know I can be and help this team,” Suwinski said.
All that to say I’m realistic when it comes to these stats, because there’s another side to all of this as Suwinski is also ranked sixth in the National League for strikeouts with 159 and a .214 batting average. Not the kind of numbers you want associated with one of your favorite players, but I’m willing to look past that because while bad, the rest of the stats at the very least show growth.
He does look at far too many pitches and checks his swing an uncomfortable amount, but I’m looking at the glass half full with Jack. He’s a power hitter, that’s what he does. His average is probably never going to be elite, but his OPB is still above average sitting at .335, so he does at least get on base (insert Moneyball quote here). He’s also been able to hold down playing center field fairly well, as he has developed slowly but surely into an above average defender with above average arm strength and speed.
Real ones know Jack Suwinski is a good baseball player pic.twitter.com/3npOH5sjNN— Kody Duncan (@KodyDuncanPGH) September 9, 2023
I do truly believe that next season could be huge for Suwinski. While there are still some glaring discrepancies, he has at the very least improved. With another full season, we could see him continue to take steps towards being a better batter and becoming more of a threat as he works on hitting for average.
I do realize this could be considered a biased take, but it’s my take and I’m sticking to it. I love guys that can hit for power, I love guys that show up and work hard, and gosh darn it, I love having Jack Suwinski nuke baseballs out of PNC Park, and I cannot wait to see how he improves for next season.