UNC Baseball Season in Review: Colin Moran

A full-time position change and injury woes were the main storylines for former UNC baseball standout Colin Moran during the 2021 regular season.

Heading into the 2021 Major League Baseball season, former UNC baseball standout Colin Moran was set to embark on a new challenge in his professional baseball career.

The Pittsburgh Pirates decided that it would be in their best interest to switch Moran to first base full time, a position he played sparingly over the two seasons prior. With a young, rebuilding ball club, the organization felt it could benefit from having one of their veteran leaders holding down his new position. Unfortunately, Moran had trouble staying on the field, as he was limited to just 99 games.

For a guy who proved his durability over the three previous seasons, his injury-ridden season was filled with unfortunate occurrences. From suffering a left groin strain in May to experiencing lower back issues as well as a small fracture in his wrist, Moran was simply unable to stay on the field to get himself into a consistent rhythm.

When he was on the field, the former Tar Heel essentially produced at the level that he has achieved over his big league career. In 359 plate appearances, the 29-year-old posted a slash line of .258/.334/.390, and hit 10 home runs and drove in 50 runs over that span.

Defensively, Moran definitely had his fair share of struggles as he worked on learning a new position. However, as the season moved along, you could tell that the former UNC baseball standout’s comfort level certainly went up, as he was able to make some highlight-worthy plays.

The Pirates were one of the worst teams in the sport, winning just 61 of their 162 contests. However, the organization is clearly in a rebuild, and will look to continue getting on track over the next few seasons to become a competitive ball club once again.

Moran still has two years of arbitration left on his contract, and can’t hit the free agent market until 2024. With that in mind, it’s likely that the Pirates will be more than willing to keep him around, as his veteran presence is still very valuable throughout their organization.

Continue to follow the Keeping It Heel team for all the latest news and updates regarding Colin Moran, and UNC baseball alumni throughout Major League Baseball.