At 42-78, the Pirates currently hold the third worst record in Major League Baseball, trailing only Baltimore (38-80) and Arizona (39-91). It was expected that the Pirates would have another tough year at the Major League level as they are in the midst of a complete rebuild.
Since the 2020-2021 offseason, Ben Cherington has traded away a number of players, including Josh Bell, Jameson Taillon, Joe Musgrove, Adam Frazier, Richard Rodriguez Tyler Anderson and more – a handful of the Pirates veteran players.
While most of the Pirates’ minor league talent is at the lower levels, there are two guys who should get playing time sooner rather than later.
Michael Chavis, INF
Acquired in a deadline deal from the Red Sox that sent left-handed pitcher Austin Davis to Boston, Cherington, then general manager of the Red Sox, reunited with his 2014 first round selection (26th overall).
Chavis, 25, has appeared at first base, second base and third base this year, and has gotten some brief experience in left field in the past. Since coming over from Boston, the 5’10, 210lb Chavis has slashed .313/.389/..667, good for a 175 wRC+. Though his walk rate is very low (3.7%) he has cut down on strikeouts (20.8%).
Enjoy this video of Chavis hitting a walkoff for Indianapolis earlier this month
— Indianapolis Indians (@indyindians) August 11, 2021
In parts of three seasons of MLB experience with Boston, Chavis has a career .704 OPS. His best year came in his rookie year, the year he got the most playing time. He hit .254 with 18 homeruns in 95 games that year for Boston.
Strikeouts have always been the issue for Chavis, especially in his brief Major League career, but with improvements he has made since coming to the organization, it is time to give him an extended look with the Pirates.
Miguel Yajure, RHP
Yajure is currently on the 60-day injured list with a forearm injury, but has recently began a rehab stint with Low-A Bradenton.
It is expected that Yajure’s rehab assignment will soon be transferred to either Altoona or Indianapolis, indicating that he is getting closer to returning to full strength. Though it still might be some time before he is fully ready, when the time comes, it should come in Pittsburgh.
Yajure was acquired this winter in the Taillon deal with the Yankees. Yajure made two starts with the Pirates earlier this season, pitching 9.1 innings while giving up four earned runs and striking out eight.
— Pirates Unrestricted (Rodolfo Stan) (@P_Unrestricted) May 25, 2021
For his minor league career, Yajure has a 2.59 ERA in 312.2 innings of work with both the Yankees and Pirates.
Though it may be just a brief stint, the Pirates would be better served seeing how Yajure fares against Major League hitting heading into the 2022 season.
In doing this, the Pirates could also give rest to guys like JT Brubaker, who has nearly doubled his workload from the last two years combined already and Wil Crowe, who pitched just 8.1 innings last year.