Clint Hurdle announces Pirates expected outfield defensive changes for 2017. pic.twitter.com/FFcEqNaUeV
— Pirates (@Pirates) February 5, 2017
The Pittsburgh Pirates will have a new outfield alignment in 2017, which is not surprising seeing as how Andrew McCutchen struggled a little bit in center in 2016:
McCutchen, 30, saw a sharp decline in his defensive skills during the 2016 season, delivering a career-worst -28 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) and a -18.7 Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR) that contrasted negatively with the -8 DRS and -6.1 UZR he posted in 2015.
Polanco and Marte, meanwhile, produced more palatable numbers in 2016 despite suffering through multiple stints on the disabled list. Polanco posted two DRS and a 6.2 UZR from right field, while Marte earned Gold Glove honors in left field after turning in 17 DRS and a 6.2 UZR to complement an impressive offensive performance.
Personally, I’ll miss seeing Cutch in center. But all players age and aren’t going to be what they were in their prime. Maybe the early move to a corner increases his value both in the field and more importantly, at the plate. We’ve always loved McCutchen and the Pirates outfield as a whole. They’re an incredibly athletic group. This figures to work out well in the Steel City.