Kevin Newman's Pittsburgh Pirate Career May Be Over

Photo credit: Christopher Horner/Tribune-Review

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In order to open up a spot on the 40-man roster, Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Kevin Newman was moved from the 10-day Injured List to the 60-day Injured List yesterday.  It was commented during a game this weekend by Pirates broadcaster Greg Brown that Newman was no longer on a rehab assignment, and had joined the team, but not because he was ready to go.  Unfortunately the move was because he had suffered a setback in the rehabilitation of his injury.  

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In his 5th season with the Pirates, Newman was batting .250 with a .683 OPS before his injury.  That average would actually rank high in the current Pirates lineup, but his career .257 average isn't good enough to supplement for his lack of power.  The former 1st round pick in the 2015 MLB draft has never quite lived up to the high expectations of him.

With the Pirates continuing to infuse young prospects with Roansy Contreras and Yerry De Los Santos joining Diego Castillo, Rodolfo Castro, and Jack Suwinski at the big league level this week, we may have seen the last of Kevin Newman in a Pirates uniform.  With there being no timetable now for Newman's return, more and more youngsters from the Pirates minor league system should continue to be infused into that shortstop spot in his absence.

The hope is that Oneil Cruz will be securely on the everyday roster by the time Newman would return from injury, if he does this season.  While Cruz is being tried out in the outfield, there are several youngsters already, like Castro and Castillo, that are being tried out in that spot.  We could also see a reemergence of *cringe* Cole Tucker at some point this season.

If this is the end of the Newman era in Pittsburgh, it must be seen ultimately as unsuccessful.  A first-round draft pick needs to do everything better than what Newman did.  He ultimately found his footing in the field and was a Gold Glove finalist, but a first-round shortstop should amount to the Francisco Lindor's and Bo Bichette's of the league and not a stand-in until more young guys can take his place.

In addition to his ho-hum .257 average, Newman had just 18 homeruns, 127 RBI, and 134 runs scored in 367 games played and 1305 at-bats.  Add in just 23 stolen bases and there really isn't a tool among the five that are commonly talked about that Newman can hang his hat on.  

Potentially Newman sticks around after he rehabs his injury and does in fact come back as the Pittsburgh Pirates starting shortstop.  However, I hope by that time one of our young prospects has deservedly taken his spot.  And if that's the case, the Newman era was overall just another failure of the Pirates to develop a top prospect.

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