Josh Bell

Fantasy Outlook: Pittsburgh Pirate Hitters

Projected lineup:

  1. Starling Marte
  2. Josh Harrison
  3. Andrew Mccutchen
  4. Josh Bell
  5. Gregory Polanco
  6. David Freese
  7. Francisco Cervelli
  8. Jordy Mercer

  The Pirates were yet again disappointments in 2017, unable to compete in a weak NL Central division. Their lineup is solid on paper, but the biggest question is can it stay healthy for a full year?

  Starling Marte played well after his suspension time was served. Marte batted .275 with 21 steals in only 77 games played. He should be considered an elite stolen base target and even with the time missed last year, you won’t get much of a discount on him. Going into his age 29 season, Marte may never be a 20 Home run guy, but 15 home runs and 40-50 steals is a “steal” in today’s game where stolen bases are scarce.

  Josh Harrison had the best fantasy year of his career in 2017. He hit 16 bombs and stole 12 bases in only 128 games. The stolen bases were not out of the blue, he has stolen more than 10 bags in each of the last four years. The power, however, was a shock after only hitting four home runs in 2016. In fact, add up 2015 and 2016 and you only get 8 home runs total from Harrison. If he can, in fact, hit 10-15 home runs a year, it gives a big jump on a player with a lot of eligibility.

  Andrew McCutchen had a Strong first half, batting .294 with 17 home runs before the All-Star break, His second half was not as great, but he did manage to hit 11 bombs with a .264 average. On the wrong side of 30, fantasy owners have been calling for his demise the last few years now. It seems McCutchen isn’t done yet and should be able to be gotten at a spot well worth drafting,

  Josh Bell may have won Rookie of the Year if a certain Cody Bellinger had not shown up, but he still remains an enigma to this writer. Profiling as a contact hitter with good OBP skills, Bell came out of the gate swinging, hitting 16 home runs, but at the cost of a .239 batting average. He was a much more well-rounded player come the second half, busting out 10 home runs while batting in the .270s If the power is indeed legit and he continues to show that plate discipline he was known for in the minors, Bell could be a fantasy mainstay for years to come.

  Gregory Polanco: I must admit, I am a sucker for upside and that’s all Polanco has left to offer. After a 22 home run campaign in 2016, he managed to only hit 11 in what was an injury-plagued year. His stolen bases fell from 17 to only 9 and his slugging fell over .50 points. Should be had at a major injury discount this year and I have yet to give up on the going to be 26 year old. If he can put all that upside together, he should be a fantasy star. That is a big if though.

  David Freese had another typical year, hitting 10 home runs and getting around 50 RBI, not worth it outside the deepest of leagues.

  Francisco Cervelli only played 81 games last year due to injuries, but if he can stay healthy is relevant just because of how shallow the catching position is. He has shown the ability to hit for a high batting average and could do it again in 2018 health forgiving. Nab him late if you ignored the catching position the entire draft.

  Jordy Mercer hit 14 home runs last year, but that does not bring him close to fantasy relevancy. Skip!

  Adam Frazier may become a factor in deeper leagues if one of the three outfielders get injured, he can hit for a high batting average. He can get on-base, and that’s about it, but in deeper leagues sometimes that is all you need. The Pirates have a decent offense heading into 2018 and should have a lot of fantasy relevance, too bad their pitching will lead them to another mediocre year.

 

Photo Credit: Golfdigest.com