Outfielder Jack Suwinski will tell you that his hitting is the strength of his game. He will also tell you that one of his biggest goals is being a good teammate.
“I believe that the better the group together is, the better everyone’s ability is together,” Suwinski said late in the season.
About a month earlier, the 23-year-old Suwinski received the news that he was one of three players who had just been traded by the Padres to the Pirates for Adam Frazier.
The Pirates have been increasing the scope of their rebuild over the past year, and the addition of Suwinski helped to build depth in the outfield, which has two long-term holes in Pittsburgh.
Suwinski is more than just depth. The Pirates showed how much they liked him by adding him to the 40-man roster in November, protecting him from the Rule 5 draft.
Suwinski played 111 games at Double-A this season, 45 of them for Altoona after the trade, and hit .262/.383/.485 with 19 home runs and 70 walks. Now he joins prospects in a system striving to be “better together” in Pittsburgh.
“You just get that good feeling, knowing that you’ve got a good team with a lot of good players and a high ceiling with a lot of potential,” Suwinski said.
Prior to the trade, Suwinski worked with his hitting coach in Double-A San Antonio. The focus was on timing and approach.
“Be the same person in the box every time and know that my ability will take care of the rest,” said Suwinski, a lefthanded hitter drafted by San Diego out of a Chicago high school in the 15th round in 2016.
In addition to working during the pandemic on his body, speed, strength, and mobility, Suwinski found himself better in the field – quicker and with sharper reaction times.
The Pirates have shown a trend in this rebuild of adding players whose value is on the rise. Suwinski fits the trend.
— In addition to Suwinski, the Pirates added outfielder Canaan Smith-Njigba and Travis Swaggerty, along with shortstop Liover Peguero to the 40-man roster, protecting each from the Rule 5 draft. Smith-Njigba and Swaggerty should join Suwinski as top options to get a shot at the outfield in Pittsburgh at some point during the 2022 season.
— The Pirates traded Gold Glove catcher Jacob Stallings to the Marlins, receiving righthander Zach Thompson along with righthander Kyle Nicolas and outfielder Connor Scott. The move away from Stallings puts focus on 2021 first overall pick Henry Davis, who is the catcher of the future in Pittsburgh, and has no one blocking his path as the Louisville product enters his first full pro season in in 2022.