30/30 BRKDWN – Pittsburgh Pirates


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The 2021 MLB season will be here before we know it. Pitchers are catchers reported on time, Spring Training is underway and we might have a full 162 game season with fans — hopefully. Between now and the start of Opening Day, we plan to BRKDWN each team’s offseason reviews and what to look forward to this upcoming season. Next, the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Key Additions:

David Bednar (Trade)

Trevor Cahill (Free Agent)

Tyler Anderson (Free Agent)

Michael Perez (Waivers)

Key Subtractions:

Jameson Taillon (Trade)

Joe Musgrove (Trade)

Starling Marte (Trade)

Josh Bell (Trade)

2020 Look Back

19-41 .317 W% 5th in NL Central, Missed playoffs

Runs: Colin Moran (28)

Home Runs: Colin Moran (10)

Avg: Jacob Stallings (.248)

Slg: Colin Moran (.472)

ERA: Richard Rodriguez (2.70)

K’s: Joe Musgrove (55)

WHIP: Steven Brault (1.20)

Projected 2021 Season

After years of pretending to be competitive, the Pittsburgh Pirates enter the 2021 season with the realistic expectations that they will not be good. The tanks have been called in and the rebuild has started. This year will be the first of many that the Pirates will be competing for bottom of the league. The Pirates will have lots of moving pieces throughout the roster this year, with lots of near-ready prospects and the limit on pitchers waived. Pirates fans shouldn’t get too attached to any names on this year’s team, unless it’s Ke’Bryan Hayes.

2021 Betting Odds (Via Bet365)

World Series: +25000 | NL Pennant: +12500 | Division: +9000

Projected Lineup

2B – Adam Frazier

3B – Ke’Bryan Hayes

1B – Colin Moran

LF – Bryan Reynolds

RF – Gregory Polanco

CF – Anthony Alford

C – Jacob Stallings

SS – Kevin Newman

Projected Rotation

LHP – Steven Brault

LHP – Tyler Anderson

RHP – Chad Kuhl

RHP – Mitch Keller

RHP – JT Brubaker

Offense

Offense: 219 Runs (30th), 59 Home Runs (27th), .220 Team AVG. (28th), .357 SLG (30th)

Starling Marte and Josh Bell are no longer going to bat for the Pirates. The torch has been passed to Ke’Bryan Hayes who will be once again the talk of this team. In his first 24 MLB games he posted a slashline of .376/.442/.682, even if he cools off, he should be able to post team-leading numbers. In front of Hayes in the lineup is Adam Fraizer who most likely won’t finish the season on the team. If Fraizer goes then this already weak lineup takes a giant blow. This offensive definitely won’t be putting up many runs or getting clutch hits in big situations, which could make for a very frustrating season offensively.

Pitching:

Pitching: Team ERA: 4.68 (19th), 556K’s (8th), 1.36 Team WHIP (18th), .235 Opp. Avg (10th)

For how bad the Pirates were last year, the pitching staff was better than expected. Losing Joe Musgrove from the rotation hurts, but it allows the rest of the rotation to make significant strides. There’s four locks to start, and a potential 6-man rotation. Steven Brault, Mitch Keller, Chad Kuhl, Tyler Anderson. Depending on how Trevor Cahill throws, he will either be the 6th starter behind JT Brubaker or a long-man from the bullpen. The Pirates also don’t have a closer yet. With Richard Rodriguez being pushed as a setup man, Kyle Crick could be in that spot.

Top 10 Prospects (Via MLB.com)

  1. Ke’Bryan Hayes 3B ETA: 2021 (9th Overall)
  2. Nick Gonzales 2B ETA: 2022 (43rd Overall)
  3. Quinn Priester RHP ETA: 2023 (52nd Overall)
  4. Oneil Cruz SS ETA: 2022 (64th Overall)
  5. Liover Peguero SS ETA: 2023
  6. Hudson Head OF ETA: 2023
  7. Tahnaj Thomas RHP ETA: 2023
  8. Brennan Malone RHP: 2023
  9. Travis Swaggerty OF ETA: 2022
  10. Jordan Brewer RHP ETA 2021

An excellent debut draft by GM Ben Cherington and staff gave promise to the future of this franchise. Although the short term outlook is bleak, the future is bright with guys like Ke’Bryan Hayes who had a fantastic 2020 campaign. Other Top100 Prospects like Nick Gonzales, Quinn Priester and Oneil Cruz are still a year or two out from making the team. The remaining of the Top10 are mostly due in 2023, and anyone the Pirates draft in the coming drafts won’t be on the team until past that. The future is definitely bright and in safe hands with the drafting of Cherington and staff.

Move that need to happen

Sell well

In order to continue trucking along with the rebuild, lots of players will go out for futures. Getting good returns will be crucial to making this season’s pain worth it. Someone like Adam Frazier hurt his trade value last season, but his spring training success could lead to a decent return later on for the Pirates leadoff bat. Frazier isn’t alone, lots of other guys will be out the door as the season goes along, and the return for them will be crucial.

Have fun

This isn’t necessarily a move you can see on paper, for players that will be around the team in a few years, the tone needs to be set for a fun and exciting atmosphere, where effort and hard work are rewarded. For the fans who will sit and watch this season, the Pirates need to bring hope and joy for all involved in the organization.

Final Thoughts

The NHL Central is easily the worst division in baseball, four mediocre teams have a shot for the playoffs, The Pirates are not one of those. There will be pain, but Pirates fans have lots to hope for in the future as the pipeline is filled with guys beyond Ke’Bryan Hayes. If Bob Nutting continues to not spend money, all this pain will be for naught.

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