Publish date:

12 Pirates

Author:

TANKERS

SCOUT'S TAKE

KEY QUESTION

Can they change divisions? It's so hard for them to compete in the NL Central, and while they did next to nothing during the offseason, the other teams got better—even the Reds.

OVERRATED

Josh Bell is a 5 o'clock hitter: He flashes raw power in BP; game time, it's gone. He's been billed as a power guy but hit 12 home runs while playing at first base. He's not a good defender—bad agility, bad footwork. He can't run. He's 26—not a kid anymore. I don't think he's got the ability to get better.

GETS LEAST OUT OF TALENT

Gregory Polanco thinks about home runs too much. He was supposed to be a cornerstone of one of the greatest outfields. He should hit .280 with 25 or 30 homers. Now he's got a bad shoulder—it's always something with him.

LAST LICKS

Clint Hurdle is in cruise control. He's too comfortable. He just got a big extension and he knows they're not gonna win ... For them it's going to be about the development of their young pitchers. But I'm not sure Nick Kingham, Jordan Lyles and Trevor Williams are more than middle-to-low-end rotation guys.

THE PAYOFF PITCH

IS IT time to start lumping Bob Nutting in with cheap team owners like Jeffrey Loria? Last year the Pirates dumped face-of-the-franchise Andrew McCutchen and budding ace Gerrit Cole. This winter they built on an 82--79 season by ... trading their No. 3 starter, Ivan Nova, and adding a bunch of low-end free agents. All the goodwill of playoff appearances in 2013, '14 and '15 has been squandered as Nutting has refused to raise payroll; Pittsburgh hasn't ranked above 24th on his 13-year watch. He has paid for that at the gate: Attendance at PNC Park has dropped from 2.5 million in '15 to 1.5 million last year. A newspaper magnate and the 10th richest owner in major league baseball, Bottom-line Bob seems content to lock in a profit based on national revenue and revenue sharing, rather than risk his money trying to build a championship team. The Steel City deserves better.

OVER UNDER

77.5

Pittsburgh somehow finished above .500 in 2018 with a ramshackle roster assembled on the cheap, but there isn't reason to be bullish this season after yet another quiet winter.

LINEUP

2B Adam Frazier

.277/10 HR/.456 SLG

CF Starling Marté

.277/20 HR/33 SB

LF Corey Dickerson

.300/13 HR/.474 SLG

C Francisco Cervelli

.259/12 HR/57 RBI

RF Gregory Polanco

.254/23 HR/12 SB

3B Jung Ho Kang

.255/21 HR/.513 SLG*

1B Josh Bell

.261/12 HR/.411 SLG

SS Erik González

.265/1 HR/.375 SLG

BENCH

IF Lonnie Chisenhall

.321/1 HR/.452 SLG

IF Colin Moran

.277/11 HR/.407 SLG

*Stats from 2016

FANTASY BREAKOUT

In his first full season as a starter, JOE MUSGROVE, armed with one of the NL's best sliders, will thrive.

ROTATION

RH Jameson Tailon

14 W/3.20 ERA/1.18 WHP

RH Trevor Williams

14 W/3.11 ERA/1.18 WHP

RH Joe Musgrove

6 W/4.06 ERA/1.18 WHP

RH Chris Archer

6 W/4.31 ERA/1.38 WHP

BULLPEN

CL Felipe Vázquez

37 SV/2.70 ERA/11.4 K9

RH Keone Kela

3.29 ERA/1.10 WHP/11.4 K9

RH Richard Rodríguez

2.47 ERA/1.07 WHP/11.4 K9

MANAGER

Clint Hurdle