The Pittsburgh Pirates are a lot of things, but consistent isn’t one of them. Through 33 games this season, they’ve tried every possible lineup and defensive alignment, and don’t seem close to coming up with one they’re happy with for the long run.
When it comes down to numbers, the Pirates have used 30 different lineups and 29 different defensive alignments this season. They’re 14-19, 5th in the tough Central division, but not planning on finding help from the outside, be it for lack of talent in free agency or optional trades, and be it for not wanting to spend a lot more than they already are.
With the Pirates carrying 9 rookies on their roster, it’s not surprising to see this type of inconsistency in their performances the actual names on the field. Clint Hurdle, the team’s general manager, has said once again he doesn’t see their “youth first” approach changing anytime soon.
There’s not always experienced guys to go get. With what’s happened to us, this wasn’t the plan coming in. This is an adapt, improvise and overcome situation. We don’t feel there have been better options outside.
When Hurdle speaking about things that have happened, Starling Marte getting suspended is one of them. His suspension has led to a lot of shuffling in the outfield, including moving Andrew McCutchen back to center field, and pushing Gregory Polanco to right field at times. The team has been shuffling players in that spot, and obviously that has projected on the left field slot as well, the position Polanco plays in most of the time.
He’s done fine. Pretty average metrics in left. But we keep shuffling guys into right, and we’ve already got a guy who has played right pretty well. We don’t know what will happen in that regard once Marte returns from suspension.
As Hurdle said, the Pirates didn’t plan for things to go like this. Even when they get things stable again, it’s probably going to be too late to catch up with the rest of the division, although no one has been really running away with thus far.