When I tried the other day to summarize the Pirates’ need to sort through players, I didn’t try to build a roster for the season’s last two months. I figured I might as well go ahead with that. I call this a fantasy roster because I’m going to ignore the reality of the Pirates’ devotion to veteran tenure, i.e., we all know darn well they aren’t going to dfa guys like Gregory Polanco, Wilmer Difo and Chasen Shreve. I’m also ignoring guys who are hurt and who obviously are going to be with the team once they’re not, which is mainly Ben Gamel, Chad Kuhl and Sam Howard. And I’m going to accept the fact that Derek Shelton would fatally hyperventilate if he had fewer than 14 pitchers
Catcher: Jacob Stallings, Michael Perez
Unfortunately, the nearest alternative to Perez is Carter Bins, who’s barely played above class A. And one catcher won’t fly, so . . . .
Infield: Colin Moran, Michael Chavis, Rodolfo Castro, Ke’Bryan Hayes, Hoy Park, Kevin Newman, Cole Tucker
I’d just have a big rotation at second and short, governed by a few basic principles: Tucker and Newman would primarily play short, Chavis would play first and second, and Castro would be the most frequent starter at second. I’d probably rest Hayes fairly often, as it’s pretty clear his wrist isn’t back to full strength. I’d keep Tucupita Marcano in AAA, except maybe in September. He’s played very little above class A yet. I might give Diego Castillo a shot at some point.
Outfield: Bryan Reynolds, Anthony Alford, Fabricio Macias
Pretty short here, but that’s the reality of the Pirates’ unceasing focus on utility infielders to the exclusion of all else. They just don’t have many outfielders ready to see any time in the majors. I think Jared Oliva needs every day time in AAA. Macias does, too, but they have to make a Rule 5 decision on him this fall. I suppose you could alternate the two. Park would play a lot in the outfield; not ideal, but it’d help get maximum at-bats for guys who need them. Chavis and maybe Castro would play there some, too. Tucker and Newman would never, ever play in the outfield. No no no no no.
Rotation: J.T. Brubaker, Steven Brault, Bryse Wilson, Wil Crowe, Mitch Keller, Max Kranick/Dillon Peters
Kuhl will be back at some point and replace Kranick/Peters. At some point, Miguel Yajure might emerge, and Cody Ponce would be an emergency starter. Peters might not be at all realistic here.
Bullpen: David Bednar, Chris Stratton, Duane Underwood, Jr., Luis Oviedo, Nick Mears, Anthony Banda, Kyle Keller, Joe Jacques
This would absolutely force Shelton not to Ciriaco guys like Oviedo and Mears. And Jacques would be fun, if nothing else. Shea Spitzbarth would be the we-need-an-arm callup. Lots of free baseballs for fans in the outfield seats.