Second base options for early 2022
Entering second base of the offseason is a question mark for the Pittsburgh Pirates. What are some of their options for the job at the start of the 2022 season?
Since the Adam Frazier trade, the Pittsburgh Pirates have used a mix of Kevin Newman, Hoy Park, Michael Chavis and Cole Tucker on second base. Overall, the organization’s second base is one of the deepest positions in their system, along with the shortstop. But they will need to find a regular response to this post, at least to start the 2022 season.
On the list of 40 players
Newman has the most Major League experience of the 40-man roster among their second base options. Newman only hit .223 / .261 / .310 with a wOBA of .248 and 53 wRC + this year, which is more than terrible. While it has improved over the course of the season, a 76 wRC + since early August is not a huge improvement in its performance. Although Newman has a Gold Glove caliber shortstop season with +7 DRS, a +6.8 UZR / 150, and in the top 81st percentile of above average outs.
A former first-round pick, Tucker is another potential option to start in the middle. Admittedly, Tucker hasn’t had a great season either. He only hit .214 / .287.286 with a wOBA of .257 and 59 wRC + in just 94 home plate appearances. Frankly, he’s in DFA limbo. Although throughout September he beats .263 / .317 / .351 with a .292 wOBA and a wRC + 82. Not good at all, but not the worst numbers ever, especially if he can provide more defense in the middle.
Acquired at the trade deadline for Austin Davis, Chavis represents another potential second baseman option. The former Red Sox top prospect has an outstanding 139 wRC + in Indianapolis this year. Plus, he went 8 for 22 with a home run and a pair of doubles in his first 22 home plate appearances in a pirate uniform. Considering that Chavis hasn’t yet had a full season to prove himself, there’s a good chance he’ll open the season as one of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ starting infielders.
Tucupita Marcano cannot be ruled out either. Highly regarded by experts for his high-end barrel-to-bullet skills and hand-eye coordination, the Pittsburgh Pirates acquired Marcano as the headliner of the Frazier trade. Marcano performed well at Triple-A for the Padres, showing off that impressive hand-eye coordination. Although he started off slowly in an Indian uniform, he appeared to pick things up in September.
Marcano has already had a taste of the big league action this season, but you should take his majors numbers with a grain of salt if that. You have to remember that Marcano just turned 22 earlier in September. Most players his age are at High-A level or below. He also skipped three full levels in the minor leagues. He literally made the jump from Low-A (the level the Bradenton Marauders are at) to the big leagues. No time at High-A, no time at Double-A, not even a single plaque appearance at Triple-A. Additionally, he only appeared in 50 plaque appearances. While these aren’t 50 awesome plate appearances, there are only 50 left.
The Pittsburgh Pirates also acquired Park in a maturing deal as one of two pieces acquired in the trade from Clay Holmes. When the Pirates acquired Park, he was scoring 0.327 / 0.475 / 0.567 with 10 homers in 223 home plate appearances for the Yankee Triple-A team. Overall, Park had a wOBA of .452 and a wRC + of 180. While the horsepower was very unexpected, the high walk rate and low shrinkage rate were not. He’s had the same number of strikeouts and walks, 46 to be exact.
Park has only played 127 times with the Pittsburgh Pirates, but only has a wOBA of .267 and a wRC + of 65. He walks at a strong 11.4% while showing solid defense in the second. goal. Park will likely return to the Major League roster to start 2022 but in a utilitarian role. He also saw time at shortstop, third base and three outfield runs.
Finally, we have Rodolfo Castro. Castro broke a Major League record, hitting 5 home runs for his first 5 MLB hits. Castro got off to a flying start at Double-A, with a 138 wRC + before being granted an extended look into the big boys. But when he returned to Double-A on July 18, Castro couldn’t hit the ball to save his life. It completely cratered, having a -4 wRC + from then until September 19. Although he was recently promoted to Triple-A where he got a solid 3-for-8 with a pair of homers.