Moran Willing to Help Bucs in Any Role Needed

Learning multiple new positions allows the Pirates infielder to remain in the starting lineup.

Noah Hiles
April 25, 2019 - 3:25 pm

© Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

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PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan) – In the game of baseball there are some who live for the bright lights and attention, while others are simply there to play ball. When dividing the Pirates roster between the two categories the latter is a perfect fit for third basemen Colin Moran.

There was no shortage of spotlight on the third base position for the Pirates this season throughout spring training. However, rather than many focusing on Moran, who received the majority of starts at the hot corner for the Bucs in 2018, all eyes were on teammate Jung Ho Kang, who ended up stealing the starting job thanks to his league best seven homeruns.

Entering the regular season, Moran’s role on the team both in 2019 and the future was a bit unclear. With Kang expected to bring some much needed power to the starting lineup and the organizations second best prospect, Ke’Bryan Hayes taking his last steps of development this year in triple-A, many wondered where Moran could provide a meaningful contribution.

Just a few games in, those with questions received an unexpected answer, when manager Clint Hurdle decided to use Moran in a utility role to keep his bat involved on a day-to-day basis.

“Once they made the decision out of spring I figured that was my best shot at getting some playing time,” Moran said about how his new role came about. “Most of it was a surprise but it’s been working.”

Moran continued saying, “They approached me but it was an easy choice. Of course I will play anywhere just to get in the lineup. It’s been fun and its been a good adjustment.”

So far in 2019, Moran has made his first career starts at first base, second base and left field, in addition to playing 10 games at his regular position at third base. Prior to this season, Moran had played all but 14 innings of his major league career at the hot corner.

Manager Clint Hurdle’s decision to find new ways to keep Moran in the starting lineup has paid off. The Bucs new super utility man has been one of the few bright spots for them offensively, driving in 11 runs and posting an .844 OPS. Entering Thursday Moran was tied with teammate Josh Bell and Chicago Cubs second basemen, Daniel Descalso for the league’s best batting average with runners in scoring position (.500).

For Moran, his early success at the plate this year has come from a combination of patience and dedication to a long term plan to get better that began this spring.

“I was working on stuff all spring that I felt would pay off if I stuck with it,” said Moran. “I tried to get it going and it wasn’t the quickest; it took a little time. I felt like mechanical wise there were some things I was trying to work on that would really pay off in the end. So far its been working out pretty good. Especially coming off last year, I wanted to be better.”

While Moran’s numbers from 2018 were decent, there were long stretches during the season where he displayed little to no power at the plate. However, now that he has a full season in the big leagues under his belt, Moran says that he is ready to take his game a step further in 2019.

“There is a lot to learn up here,” said Moran. “The experience really is the biggest thing. Going through different things up here is different. Just going through the adjustment of everything for the first time was big. As simple as that sounds, it was huge to experience and learn from. Pitchers are better every day, games are important every day. Everything gets exposed a bit more. The little things are a big deal here.”

Kang's early inconsistency at the plate now has some wondering if Moran should once again be the everyday starter at third base. Regardless of how things play out in the next few months, one thing is certain: Moran will be ready to play anywhere the team needs him.