Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman Colin Moran has impressed in his first month with the club. While his baseball card numbers look solid early on, it’s hard to judge whether we will continue to see the same production as the season moves along.
Since joining the Pittsburgh Pirates, the 25-year old has started 22 of 25 games played and so far he’s batting .288 with 14 runs driven in. Known for his raw power while advancing through the minors, he’s hit just two home runs but also has five doubles to his name. He’s also tied for fourth on the squad with nine base on balls.
I feel like we haven’t seen Moran really let loose yet. He lets off such an emotionless persona, it is hard to even slightly grasp how he is feeling during a game.
But enough about the things we can’t quantify. Lets continue to look at Moran’s first month the Bucs.
Baseball is a comfort game. If a player is uncomfortable, you can tell just by watching them swing or throw.
It’s expected that a player will be more comfortable at their home ball park than on the road. However, I was actually a bit taken back when I saw the difference in Moran’s home/road splits.
He has played in 15 games at PNC Park so far and as of April 30, he is 17-for-43 (.395). Both of his round trippers and all 14 RBI have come at home. Five of his nine walks have also come on Pittsburgh’s North Shore.
When away from PNC Park, Moran has appeared in 10 games. He’s gone 6-for-37 (.162) with four singles and two doubles. He’s drawn four road walks but also has nine strikeouts when away from home.
So he has just six more at bats at home than games on the road; however, his batting average is .233 points higher at home. It’s very encouraging to see him feeling so comfortable at his new home ballpark, especially with how favorable PNC Park is to left handed hitters.
While I hope he can continue to tear it up at home, his road numbers obviously leave a lot to be desired. Through several months in with his new team, he is seemingly still on a learning curve. As the Pirates are at the beginning of a nine game road trip, keep an eye on Moran to see if his comfort is catching up on the road.
Never known for his defensive prowess on his ascent to the big leagues, Moran hasn’t done much to silence those talks in 2018 during his debut month with the Pittsburgh Pirates. In his 59 chances, he’s committed two errors. Digging deeper into the saber metric numbers, his Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR) is -2.1.
UZR is a stat that aims to quantify how many runs a player saves or gives up at their position in the field. As zero is the neutral defender, Moran’s -2.1 UZR means he has given up two more runs than the average third baseman.
For comparison, last year David Freese had a 5.3 UZR in 116 games played at third base.
Though as was expected, Moran has proven to be below average. Even with a limited sample size, we can see he has some room for growth. Although, from the looks of it that growth may be on the outside looking in.