Pittsburgh, you’re really missing Choi now, aren’t you? Team plans, gaps exposed by injuries

[After back-to-back 100+ loss seasons, the Pittsburgh Pirates went into the offseason looking to blend the old with the new. Not only did they bring back iconic player Andrew McCutchen, but they also added two veterans at first base, where their offense was lacking.

Carlos Santana, 37, an experienced switch-hitter, and Ji-Man Choi, 32, who was now recognized as a legitimate first baseman. Each was signed to a one-year deal, and each was acquired via trade, with the hope that the team’s offense would run more smoothly if they took turns at first base and designated hitter. It worked. There was also a desire for maximum efficiency at minimum cost.토토사이트

However, the plan got off to a rocky start. Choi’s injury. After a slow start to the season due to post-season elbow surgery last year, Choi struggled to find his groove, and now, just as he was starting to hit some home runs and get into a groove, he’s been sidelined with an Achilles injury.

Pittsburgh brought Choi in with the idea that he could be their starting first baseman or designated hitter, but they never got a chance to use him, and he left after nine games. The injury came as a surprise to Choi, who is set to become a free agent.

At the time of the injury, the gap didn’t seem that big. The team was playing well. They were running and hitting hard, and the entire lineup was performing better than expected. On top of that, the team’s mound was even better than the pre-season preview. In the first 28 games of the season, the team swept to 20 wins, which no one expected. It was the best offense in the National League. I didn’t think about Choi at all.

Santana’s play, and that of Connor Choi, who has moved into first base part-time in place of Choi, has been good. The veteran Santana has been incredibly steady on defense, while also doing his part on offense. In 25 games during the month of April, he batted .287 with two home runs, 16 RBIs, and an OPS of .811. It was the kind of performance Pittsburgh expected from Santana. Plus, Cho was able to split time between the outfield and the infield.

Connor Choi’s batting average has steadily declined in May after filling in well in Choi’s absence.

Pittsburgh has been steadily declining in May without Choi.

In May, however, Santana’s batting graph began a steady decline. Through May 24, Santana is batting just .169 in 19 games. He hasn’t hit a home run, and his OPS has plummeted to .532. The same goes for Joe. After exploding to a .288 batting average and .962 OPS in 24 games in April, Joe’s OPS has plummeted to .671 in May.

First base is an offensive position anyway, but with the offensive decline of these two players, it’s now a headache to put them in the lineup. Coincidentally, Pittsburgh’s offense has been in a slump since May, and so has the team’s record. Scoring two to three runs per game has been a struggle. The team’s mobility is not being utilized, and the atmosphere in the dugout, which used to be sparked by knife-slinging ceremonies, has cooled down.

Santana is an old man in his mid-30s. He needed and deserves proper rest. But Choi’s injury has forced him to play a lot of games, and his bat speed has slowed significantly in May. That’s why he’s clearly valuable to the team, whether he’s performing well or not. Add to that the fact that Choi clearly had his work cut out for him against right-handers.

If it weren’t for the Achilles injury, Choi would have been back to his normal performance by May at the latest. This would have allowed Pittsburgh to rotate around their hitters, allowing them to stay healthy and utilize their options. However, Choi’s injury has thrown a wrench into the Pirates’ plans and prevented the team from coming up with the right solutions in crunch time. Too bad about the injury.

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