2021 Roster Review: Pittsburgh Pirates by Paul Sporer October 14, 2021 61-101 (5th in Division; 27th in MLB) [Previous Reviews] SP Wins: 28 (29th) RP Wins: 33 (17th) Saves: 25 (29th) 1+ Save: 3 (Richard Rodríguez 14, Chris Stratton 8, David Bednar 3) 100+ Ks: 2 (JT Brubaker 129, Wil Crowe 111) .260+ AVG (min. 350 PA): 2 (Adam Frazier .324 [w/PIT; he hit .305 altogether], Bryan Reynolds .302) 65+ Runs: 1 (Reynolds 93) 65+ RBI: 1 (Reynolds 90) 10+ HRs: 3 (Reynolds 24, Gregory Polanco 11, Colin Moran 10) 5+ SBs: 1 (Polanco 14) BEST BUY: Bryan Reynolds Nothing sneaky here, their best player is their best buy. His rough 2020 proved to be a small sample fluke and his 2021 (142 wRC+) picked up right where his 2019 breakout (130 wRC+) left off. He went 90/90 R/RBI on the Pirates for crying out loud! He has great plate skills, a high AVG floor, and above average power. ON THE RISE: Oneil Cruz Cruz only got a sip of coffee in the majors, going 3-for-9 with a homer in two games to end the season. The 22-year-old spent the bulk of his season at Double-A, putting up a 136 wRC+ with 12 HR and 18 SB in 273 PA. Then he absolutely decimated Triple-A, hitting 5 HR in just 6 games with an insane .524/.655/1.286 line before getting that MLB taste. He will probably start 2022 back in Triple-A (after all, it was still just five games), but he should be up relatively early. His strikeout rate is a concern and could hold back his AVG, but he has a good shot at being a double-double bat with 5 months of playing time. OFF THE RADAR: Roansy Contreras Part of the Jameson Taillon deal, Contreras had a similar season to Cruz’s in terms of the bulk of it being in Double-A (54.3 IP) before brief stints in Triple-A (3.7) and the majors (3). He was elite in the minors with a 29% K-BB, 2.64 ERA, and 0.93 WHIP across the 58 innings while his one 3-inning MLB start was also good (but of course is too small to draw anything from). Similar to Cruz, he will likely open the year in Triple-A for a bit more seasoning but could get 4.5-5 months of MLB time, especially if he holds his own in his next call-up. He is a top 50 prospect with a three-pitch mix that should miss bats consistently in the majors. HOT TAKE: Hoy Park will have a 20 HR/20 SB season as a super-utilityman in 2022. There aren’t a ton of choices to drop hot takes with on this team as I suspect there will be a good bit of turnover and it would’ve been boring to do something with Ke’Bryan Hayes. Park came over from the Yankees in a midseason trade and really only showed off his patience (12% BB) in 149 PA as he managed just a 75 wRC+. However, he was damn near on a 30-30 pace in the minors (11 HR/12 SB in 293 PA). He has premium speed and if he brings more of his Triple-A skills to the majors, he can definitely have an impactful season. ICYMI: While we’re talking double-doubles, Gregory Polanco had one (11 HR/14 SB) but it came with a 71 wRC+ and he’s no longer on the Pirates, so… yeah. IF THE DH RETURNS: It would probably go to former American Leaguer Michael Chavis, who was traded over during the deadline. Maybe he would platoon with Colin Moran.