Young Bucs ready for a big 2024

Image courtesy of MGN

By Millan Jain, WEBN Correspondent

Fort Meyers, FL – As Opening Day draws closer and closer. Pirates fans have flocked to Florida more optimistic than in previous years. Last year, the Pirates fans endured a rollercoaster of a season consisting of their team starting hot with the best baseball record and sitting atop the NL Central and the entire NL. However, things quickly went south when superstar Oneil Cruz had a season-ending injury 9 games into the season. From there, 3 out of the 5 starting pitchers that made the Opening Day roster also went down with injuries. However, despite another sub-.500 season, many Pirates fans are optimistic about the young Pirates prospects who are eager to make an impact in the lineup.

Coming into the season, the clubhouse expected Endy Rodriguez to be the team’s starting catcher when the team opened its season in Miami. However, Rodriguez suffered an injury on November 13th that will cause him to miss the entire 2024 season.

With Rodriguez injured, this opens a door for the 2021 first-overall pick, Henry Davis. Davis spent time on the MLB roster last year primarily as a right fielder. The goal was for Rodriguez and Davis to split time behind the plate in 2024. With Rodriguez injured and Davis not having any experience behind the dish in the major leagues, the Pirates hesitated about Davis being an everyday catcher. 

However, Davis made sure to make an impression that would turn heads. In Spring Training, Davis has posted a .292/.333/1.125 in 25 at-bats. Davis has also shown his strength at the dish with 4 home runs and 9 RBIs this spring. 

Toward the end of 2023, the Pirates had a glaring hole at second base. Going into the 2024 season, the second base competition between Liover Peguero, Nick Gonzales, and Jared Triolo has been tight. With all three guys fighting for a spot, one guy has stood out. Liver Peguero has shown strength not only at bat but also in the field. So far in Spring Training, Peguero has a 1.000% fielding percentage while making diving plays all over the diamond. 

His bat has also been impressive as well. So far, Peguero is slashing .333/.417/.941 in 21 at-bats. Peguero has also left the yard once, driving in 3 runs. If Peguero can continue to find ways to get on base regularly, there is an excellent chance he will make the trip to Miami when the Pirates break camp. 

While the Pirates roster is filled with veterans to help add power and consistency to the lineup, it’s the “Young Bucs” that have an opportunity to bring their skill to a lineup with a lot of potential. The NL Central is a wide-open race, and the Pirates are at the top of it all. Davis and Peguero are not just the only players ready to leave their mark. The Pirates farm system is filled with players itching to crack the big league roster and deliver postseason baseball for the first time in 10 years.