With a roster full of young players and a short 60-game season last year, there are a lot of 2021 Pittsburgh Pirates who could bounce back from the disappointing 2020 season. Let’s take a look at three who might have comeback seasons (and one bonus player as well).
2021 Pittsburgh Pirates: The Bounceback Candidates
An obvious choice as his 2020 season didn’t come close to his breakout 2019 campaign. His stats last year (.189/7/19/.632 with 57k in 55 games) was well off his 2019 line. Unless 2019 was the aberration, Reynolds could put up respectable or better numbers in this full season with the 2021 Pittsburgh Pirates.
Snarky fans often make jokes about Crick having that name from watching balls fly all over the field. In a very limited sample size last year (five games and 4 ⅓ IP) it was difficult to disagree with those who have a negative opinion. His stuff has always seemed good but the execution was lacking. As of this writing, he has had three appearances in Spring Training for the 2021 Pittsburgh Pirates with a 0.00 ERA, five strikeouts, and two walks over three innings. If Crick finds himself and is placed in the bullpen where he isn’t in high-pressure situations, he may make great strides in climbing up the ladder.
The de facto ace of the 2021 staff, Mitch Keller also had a very small sample size last season. With only four starts and just nine innings pitched, he did manage to strike out ten last year, a sign that again the stuff was good, but the execution was inconsistent.
With himself another year removed from Tommy John surgery, this will be a great test for Keller to see if he can be an ace or just a mid-rotation starter.
The 29-year-old has been a utility player who hasn’t caught on in his nine-year career but the feeling is that he found a place here until that freak collision ended his 2020 campaign. While the consensus is that he won’t be a regular in the starting lineup, he will get enough playing time to show true value and worth. Where will he play? He has enough versatility to play both infield and outfield slots. This is why there is reason to believe Phillip Evans could start in upwards of half the 2021 Pittsburgh Pirates’ schedule.
No doubt there is room for vast improvement among members of the 2020 roster that remains. The hope is that these players and others surprise everyone with a more competitive play that exceeds expectations.
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