Constructing A Pittsburgh Pirates Postseason Roster

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What Should Pittsburgh Pirates' Postseason Roster Look Like?

What Should Pittsburgh Pirates' Postseason Roster Look Like?
Charles LeClaire-USA Today Sports

I’ll begin with the fact that you have probably all heard by now, but just in case, I’ll repeat it: The Pittsburgh Pirates are playoff bound for the first time since 1992. Yes, that’s 20 seasons without a playoff game or even a winning season for the Pirates.

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s move on. With the Pirates being in the playoffs for the first time in a long time, this is the first time Pirates fans have been able to contemplate potential playoff roster scenarios.

First of all, we can take a peek at a few key points to remember when thinking about a playoff roster. For a player to be eligible for the postseason roster, he must be on the Pirates’ 25-man roster or on the disabled list on Aug. 31. Also, if a player that is on the disabled list is still on the DL when the playoffs come around, that player can be replaced by a player that was in the organization on Aug. 31. These are referred to as flex spots, and the Pirates have four players that are eligible for flex spots: Wandy Rodriguez, Phil Irwin, Jeff Karstens and Michael McKenry.

The majority of the Pirates’ postseason roster won’t be difficult to figure out. They have the obvious choices like Andrew McCutchen, Francisco Liriano and Pedro Alvarez, but there are some spots that aren’t so clear. The toughest spots to consider are the bench and the bullpen. I have made my own playoff roster; let’s see if yours is the same.

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Starting Rotation (In Order)

Starting Rotation (In Order)
Charles LeClaire-USA Today Sports

1. Francisco Liriano

2. A.J. Burnett

3. Gerrit Cole

4. Charlie Morton

This seems obvious. The order can be debated, but the four guys I have are the only real options. Nobody wants to see Jeff Locke on the postseason roster at this point. I would probably have Burnett and Cole reversed, but I don't see it happening.

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Bullpen

Bullpen
Charles LeClaire-USA Today Sports

Mark Melancon, Jason Grilli, Tony Watson, Justin Wilson, Jeanmar Gomez, Kyle Farnsworth, Vin Mazzaro.

The bullpen has been a very strong piece of the Pirates’ team this season. With Melancon, Grilli, Watson and Wilson, it has to be considered the best bullpen in all of baseball. Melancon is the eighth inning guy, Grilli is the closer, Wilson and Watson are the two lefties, and Gomez is the long reliever. Farnsworth and Mazzaro are middle relief options.

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Lineup Versus Right-Handed Pitcher

Lineup Versus Right-Handed Pitcher
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA Today Sports

I’m going to construct a lineup and it is going to be assuming the opponent’s starting pitcher is a right handed pitcher.

1. Starling Marte LF

2. Neil Walker 2B

3. Andrew McCutchen CF

4. Marlon Byrd RF

5. Justin Morneau 1B

6. Pedro Alvarez 3B

7. Russell Martin C

8. Clint Barmes SS

9. Pitcher

It’s pretty much the same lineup the Pirates normally use, but Byrd and Morneau are switched in the order.

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Lineup Versus Left-Handed Pitcher

Lineup Versus Left-Handed Pitcher
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1. Starling Marte LF

2. Jordy Mercer SS

3. Andrew McCutchen CF

4. Marlon Byrd RF

5. Gaby Sanchez 1B

6. Josh Harrison 2B

7. Pedro Alvarez 3B

8. Tony Sanchez C

9. Pitcher

The only interesting thing here is that I have Tony Sanchez playing catcher. He is a very good hitter against lefties and he is more than capable defensively.

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Bench

Bench
Charles LeClaire-USA Today Sports

The bench is kind of tough, especially the Garrett Jones versus Travis Snider decision.

Josh Harrison

Jordy Mercer

Jose Tabata

Tony Sanchez

Gaby Sanchez

Travis Snider

Harrison and Mercer are versatile infielders that dominate left-handed pitching. Gaby Sanchez can pinch hit against lefties. Tony Sanchez is the backup catcher because the Pirates third catcher, John Buck, just isn't very good. Travis Snider and Jose Tabata are the fourth and fifth outfielders.

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  • roadbuilder

    Jones will definitely be there over Travis Snider. I also have Buck over Tony Sanchez but that could go either way. Finally I have Morris over Farnsworth.

  • TK

    I Like Garrett Jones, I really do…but this shouldn’t be a decision about the “future” so much as it is about winning right now and fielding the best possible team – now. With Morneau the clear starter for now at 1B and with Tabita playing extremely well in September and Travis Snider being much more productive than Jones as a pinch hitter – I say Hurdle chooses Snider over Jones. It really isn’t even close unless the Pirates factor feelings and the future beyond the 2013 playoffs into the 2013 postseason roster decisions.