At the end of Monday’s game, Jack Suwinski has a .778 OPS.
That’s slightly higher than Andrew McCutchen, who has a .775 OPS.
It’s also higher than the recent Ke’Bryan Hayes surge, leading to a .755 OPS.
Yet, if you gauge Pirates fans, the most disappointing of that group is Suwinski.
Baseball is a “what have you done for me lately” game. Suwinski went 2-for-4 with his 23rd homer of the year tonight. Prior to tonight’s game, he had been slumping for most of the second half. Since the All-Star Break, Suwinski has a .140/.268/.281 line in 142 plate appearances.
He’s not the only one struggling in the second half. Andrew McCutchen, with a similar overall OPS, is batting .222/.364/.317 in the second half. A few crucial differences are that McCutchen is still getting on base during his struggles, and also gets a bit of a pass for being over a decade older than Suwinski.
Ke’Bryan Hayes has seen the opposite trend. He began the year batting .252/.290/.393 in the first half. Hayes has seen his offense take off in the second half, batting .300/.350/.536 in the second half. He also homered tonight, adding his 12th of the year.
At this point in the season, Pirates fans are looking for hope for the 2024 season and beyond. The upward trend from Hayes at the plate is something that provides encouragement for the following season. The downward trend from Suwinski raises the opposite concerns as to whether those struggles will continue into the following year.
Breaking down the numbers further, Suwinski really just had a bad month of August. His month of July produced a .903 OPS, although that was heavily driven by the first week.
At the end of the day, you can break down the overall numbers in an infinite amount of ways to justify whatever trend you’re trying to justify.
At the end of Monday, Suwinski had 23 home runs and a season OPS on par with Andrew McCutchen. He’s been a streaky hitter this year, but those streaks run hot and cold, and have averaged out to a nice overall age-25 season.
TODAY ON PIRATES PROSPECTS
I’ve been wanting to write today’s column for a while.
I’ve been covering minor league baseball for 15 seasons. That has included countless conversations with players, coaches, scouts, and executives from across the majors. It’s included many late-season trips to report on the development of individual players. I can’t count how many minor league games I’ve seen across levels that aren’t all in existence at this point.
At a certain point, after gathering information for years while studying a subject, you gain true knowledge. You see the flow of a proper development system. You see how scouting is meant to feed into that system. But you also see what it really takes to be a Major League player.
Baseball is a career. It’s a really cool career. In a world where we are all experiencing the same perpetual record-setting temperatures every year, here are the best athletes showing the ways to keep the human mind, body, and spirit in proper alignment to achieve instant-reaction, in-the-moment success while baring the elements. The players on the field put their body through the extreme (as displayed in this graphic, but highly educational Twitter thread from Travis Snider on the struggles from turf toe). This ends up advancing our medical knowledge of how to repair and properly align the human body.
We also get a glimpse into the proper work-life balance, and how to maintain an overall healthy lifestyle. Baseball isn’t just about winning and losing, but finding a way to live a healthy and productive lifestyle on and off the field. Not just throwing as many hours into the job that it takes to win, but finding a way to win on the job in a healthy amount of hours each week that allows for a productive home life and personal growth.
Yet, at the end of the day, it’s a pitcher trying to throw a baseball that the batter can’t hit; with the batter trying to hit the baseball where the fielder can’t field; and the fielder trying to throw the baseball faster than the base runner can run; and in the end, the catcher trying to make the catch and tag faster than the slider can avoid; all in front of tens of thousands of screaming fans who paid their hard-earned money to experience this moment — Live. That feeling where there is no work tomorrow, and there were no real problems today, because you just experienced something that had never been seen before, and might never be seen again.
And that will give you something to talk about the next time work or problems become too overwhelming.
Tsung-Che Cheng homered twice for Altoona on Sunday. Check out all of the weekend action in the latest Prospect Watch.
QUICK PIRATES RECAP
PIRATES (64-74) VS Brewers
Score: Pirates 4, Brewers 2
Pittsburgh Starter: Luis Ortiz, RHP (4.90)
–Line: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, 0 HR
Player of the Game: Jack Suwinski, CF-RF (2-for-4, HR , 2 RBI)
- Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B (2-for-4, HR , 3B)
- Andrew McCutchen, DH (2-for-3, 2 2B)
- Carmen Mlodzinski, RHP (1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K)
- Colin Holderman, RHP (1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K)
- David Bednar, RHP (1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K)
One Sentence Recap: What if the Pirates were to finish their season like they started it?
DAILY VIDEO RUNDOWN
Here’s that Suwinski home run, coming on a 1-0 pitch and driven to deep center field.
We love a nice Captain Jack blast pic.twitter.com/cwAbvT5cyA
— Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) September 4, 2023
Ke’Bryan Hayes has been hitting the ball well, launching a home run to the deepest part of the park on a full count.
KE. BRYAN. HAYES. 🔥🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/Xp9R6nKPfa
— Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) September 5, 2023
DAILY ROSTER MOVES
- The Pirates selected the contract of RHP Hunter Stratton from the Indianapolis Indians. To make room, LHP Rob Zastryzny has been designated for assignment.
- Stratton is from the Bristol, Virginia area, which previously had a Pirates affiliate. Tim Hayes of the Bristol Herald Courier detailed the journey for Stratton, the first Major League player from his area.
SONG OF THE DAY
“The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do” – Fiona Apple
Tim is the owner, producer, editor, and lead writer of PiratesProspects.com. He has been running Pirates Prospects since 2009, becoming the first new media reporter and outlet covering the Pirates at the MLB level in 2011 and 2012. His work can also be found in Baseball America, where he has been a contributor since 2014 and the Pirates' correspondent since 2019.