Pittsburgh Pirates Predictions
If the 2012 season would have ended in mid-September, the Pirates’ streak of 20 consecutive losing seasons would be over. Once again, they slumped down the stretch to drop to 79-83 on the season. Pittsburgh must find a way to continue playing well throughout the entire season after posting a combined 37-76 record after August 1st over the past two seasons. Manager Clint Hurdle has been signed to an extension this offseason and for good reason. He has this team headed in the right direction and primed to be competitive once again in 2013.
Starling Marte (LF) – Has the power and speed to be a future star, but needs to improve upon his .300 on-base percentage from a year ago. Marte hit .257 with five homers and 12 steals in just 167 at-bats in 2012.
Neil Walker (2B) – A solid all-around second baseman who has some pop in his bat. Walker continues to be plagued by back problems, but he hit .280 with 14 homers and 69 RBIs last year.
Andrew McCutchen (CF) – Already one of the game’s biggest stars at 26, McCutchen still may not have reached his ceiling. He is coming off an NL MVP-caliber 2012 campaign in which he hit .327 with 31 homers, 96 RBIs, 107 runs and 20 steals.
Garrett Jones (1B) – Absolutely crushes right-handed pitching, but his failures against Southpaws keep him from being an everyday player. Jones hit .274 with 27 homers and 86 RBIs last season.
Pedro Alvarez (3B) – Struck out 180 times last year, but Alvarez can certainly hit the long ball. He hit .244 with 30 homers and 85 RBIs in 2012.
Russell Martin (C) – One of the biggest offseason acquisitions for the Pirates, Martin provides his new team with solid run production (21 HRs in 2012) and a strong presence behind home plate.
Travis Snider (RF) – The highly touted prospect wasn’t able to live up to expectations in Toronto. It may be now or never for Snider in Pittsburgh.
Clint Barmes (SS) – Solid glove work is the only thing keeping Barmes in the lineup. He hit a career-low .229 last season and must improve if he wants to keep his job.
A.J. Burnett (RHP) – Still has great stuff at 36 and was rejuvenated last year with the trade that sent him from the Yankees to the Pirates. Burnett went 16-10 with a 3.51 ERA while striking out 180 batters over 202.1 innings in 2012.
Wandy Rodriquez (LHP) – Finished 12-13 with a 3.76 ERA and 1.27 WHIP in his time between Houston and Pittsburgh last season. The veteran left-hander doesn’t have great stuff, but his command makes him one of the more underrated hurlers in the league year in and year out.
James McDonald (RHP) – Went 9-3 with a 2.37 ERA before the All-Star break to show signs of being an Ace. However, McDonald imploded in the second half to finish 12-8 with a 4.21 ERA and was yanked from the rotation in the season’s final weeks.
Jeff Karstens (RHP) – Went 5-4 with a 3.97 ERA and 1.15 WHIP over 15 starts and four relieve appearances in 2012. If he can repeat those numbers over a full season, this rotation will get a big boost.
Francisco Liriano (LHP) – The Pirates are hoping that a change of scenery will do for Liriano what it did for Burnett last year. The Soutpaw has posted a 5.09-plus ERA in three of his past four seasons. They need him to return to the Lirano that went 14-10 with a 3.62 ERA over 31 starts in 2010.
Jason Grilli (RHP) – With Joel Hanrahan gone to Boston, Grilli steps into the closer’s role. The journeyman is throwing harder than ever even at 37 and was dominant last season (2.91 ERA, 90 Ks in 58.2 innings) as a set-up man.
4th Place NL Central & UNDER 79 Wins – Pirates fans can at least be optimistic about this team after the starts it has gotten off to over the past two seasons. Pittsburgh has been right there with a chance to win the NL Central in 2011 and ’12. I just think this team is still lacking the overall talent to overtake the Reds, Cardinals and Brewers in the NL Central. The bottom of the lineup is atrocious with Martin, Snider and Barmes, and the rotation has several question marks. Not even their Ace, Burnett, can be trusted to repeat what he did last year. Unfortunately, I foresee Pittsburgh suffering its 21st consecutive losing season in 2013.
|2013 Pittsburgh Pirates Odds|
|Total Regular Season Wins||O79 (-115)|