Four minor league agreements to consider

August 26, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States; St. Louis Cardinals infielder Matt Carpenter (13) gestures to the batting cage before the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Due to the current work stoppage, players sign deals with major leagues, they can only sign deals with minor leagues. So let’s take a look at four players the Pittsburgh Pirates could sign.

Baseball transactions are currently frozen. Due to the work stoppage, no player is allowed to sign any major league deals. However, unsecured deals with the minor leagues are still pending. A handful of teams have signed players with minor league deals to add to their organizational depth. This is something the Pittsburgh Pirates could do.

The Pirates have plenty of holes in the roster, and while they won’t be able to correct all of them with trades or the free agent market, the team should see a noticeable improvement throughout the 2022 season. holes have potential answers pending in the minor leagues. But the team could sign deals with the minor leagues to at least add depth to the organization

Because teams can’t sign for the major leagues right now, I want to take a look at some minor league deals that the Pittsburgh Pirates should consider. That wouldn’t guarantee them much more than an invitation to spring training, but could end up being some solid signings under the radar.

Matt Charpentier

Pirate fans should be more than familiar with Matt Carpenter. The infielder has long been a staple of rival St. Louis Cardinal’s division. From 2012 to 2018, Carpenter was a high quality hitter. It displayed a slash .275 / .377 / .471 with a wOBA .366 and 133 wRC +.

Carp had excellent discipline at plate, marching at a 13.4% rate, but also had a strikeout rate of less than 20%. Plus, he was a puncher, posting an isolated knock percentage of .196 and exploding 20 or more home runs for four years, from 2015 to 2018.

However, Carpenter has had some rough times lately. Since 2019, its numbers have continued to decline. In those three seasons, Carpenter only beat .203 / .325 / .346 with a wOBA of .298 and 87 wRC +. It hit rock bottom in 2021 when it hit .169 / .305 / .275 with a 70 wRC +. He still walked at a high rate of 14.1%, but hit more than 30% of the time.

But there is some hope that more is left in the tank for the triple star. First, Carpenter posted the lowest batting average of his career at just 0.250. His career average is 0.310. He still had a healthy line practice rate of 23.4%, a fly ball rate of 49.2%, and a ground ball rate of just 27.3%. He always hits the ball hard, and very frequently. It had an exit speed of 90 MPH and a hard hit rate of 42%. Both are well above the league average.

Carpenter’s expected stats are also well above average. He had an xwOBA of 0.341 compared to his actual rating of 0.269. His expected hitting line was a very solid .225 / .352 .427, which would result in a .779 OPS and .202 ISO.

Carpenter wouldn’t be the worst bet in the minor leagues. His underlying numbers suggest a player who has had some bad luck. Will he ever be the player fans saw in 2012-2018? Probably not. But could he be a solid left-handed peloton power hitter who can play first base, second base and third base? Well, if he can play anything like you expected, I don’t see why.

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