Pittsburgh Pirates: Projecting the 2018 Batting Order
The Pittsburgh Pirates 2018 projected starting batting order features a number of familiar faces, in fact not many new ones. But nonetheless the Pirates had many offensive problems in the 2017 season, and really need to improve to make the Postseason. From Polanco to Marte to Cervelli the offense was a letdown. 2018 will be a make or break year for some of these guys.
1) Josh Harrison 2B: The lineup of the Pittsburgh Pirates is tricky to project with trade rumors everywhere. Especially since Harrison is one of the guys being rumored to be dealt. If Harrison is in the Pirates uniform on Opening Day he will be the leadoff hitter. If not it’ll be Adam Frazier who will also play second base. Harrison had a good season hitting .272 last year with 16 home runs and 47 RBI’s. Respectable numbers for a leadoff guy.
2) Adam Frazier LF: Frazier could take over the leadoff spot as well. He proved last season he could play every day, and could leadoff. He had a tremendous start to his season but didn’t get the playing time he deserved. Watch for Frazier to have a huge year now that he’s an everyday guy. In 2017 Frazier hit .276 with six home runs, and 53 RBI’s. Impressive numbers for a limited amount of playing time.
3) Josh Bell 1B: Josh Bell had a phenomenal rookie year. If it wasn’t for some guy named Cody Bellinger, he could’ve won Rookie of Year. Bell put up an average of just .255 but also hit 26 home runs and had 90 RBI’s. A great stat line for a rookie. Bell very well could end the season as the clean-up hitter if Moran struggles in that role. With the recent trade of Andrew McCutchen, Bell will be the player the Bucs build around. While Maybe not being the most complete hitter at times he should slot in admirably.
4) Starling Marte CF: With Bell taking the three spot I really like Marte here. It makes sense with his power and sets the table for Moran. While he missed half of the 2017 season with his PED suspension Marte will look for a rebound. In his limited games, he hit .275 with seven round-trippers, and 31 RBI’s. If Marte plays a full season I fully expect a bounce-back season.
5) Colin Moran 3B: Another piece of the Gerrit Cole trade that will make an impact on the 2018 season. Moran has been stuck in the minors behind some great third basemen in Houston looks to become the everyday guy. Moran had a pretty good stat line last season hitting for an average of .308, with 18 home runs, and 63 RBI’s in Triple-A. If the success he had at that level can translate to the majors he’ll have a good year.
6) Gregory Polanco LF: Gregory Polanco had yet another disappointing season. While he hasn’t quite reached the level of success we all thought he would he needs to have a breakout year. El Coffee as he goes by in Pittsburgh managed to only hit .251 with 11 home runs, and a measly 35 RBI’s. That’s almost embarrassing as an everyday starter. We’ll see if Polanco lives up to the hype this season.
7) Francisco Cervelli C: Cervelli was another player who seemed to take a step backward for the Bucs. Two seasons ago Cervelli had a great year for Pittsburgh but has yet to match it. While mainly hitting in the bottom two-thirds of the lineup he hit for a .249 average, a whole five home runs, and drove in 31 runs. Cervelli needs to not only step up and hit better but be a better defensive catcher. The Bucs gave up entirely too many stolen bases in 2017 and Cervelli is part of that problem.
8) Jordy Mercer SS: Mercer who often gets overlooked due to his position in the lineup had one of his best statistical seasons so far. If Hurdle ever moved Mercer up he could be a very good two-hole hitter. In 2017 Jordy hit for a .255 average, with 14 dingers, and 58 runs batted in. For primarily hitting eighth in the lineup that’s a solid season. Watch for him to have a similar if not an even better season.
While the Pittsburgh Pirates 2018 lineup has many similarities to the 2017 lineup there is a new face. There could potentially be more if the Bucs do move either or both of McCutchen or Harrison. While the team doesn’t look spectacular on paper they could compete for a Wild Card appearance.