2021 Pittsburgh Pirates Predictions and Odds to Win the World Series
While I may be a Blue Jays fan, I tend to gravitate toward the Pittsburgh Pirates as my second-favorite team. I love their ballpark and those old-school, black and yellow uniforms really appeal to me. Unfortunately, the last five seasons have been terrible, and they have finished above .500 just once in that span.
Last season, the Pirates finished the shortened year with a record of 19-41, which put them dead last in the NL Central, 15 games back of the division-winning Cubs. The Pirates owned the worst record in baseball. And one look at the roster they are trotting out this campaign and you’ll quickly realize they are far and away the worst team in baseball.
The Pittsburgh Pirates get their 2021 campaign underway with a six-game road trip that will see them visit Wrigley Field to take on the Chicago Cubs for three games and then head to Great American Ball Park to tangle with the Cincinnati Reds for three. From there, the Pirates return home for three against the Cubs ad four against the Padres. The Pirates are currently +25000 to win the World Series, +15000 to win the NL Pennant, and +10000 to win the NL Central crown. The season wins total is 58.5, which means they are expected to be atrocious this year.
Pirates 2021 Projected Lineup
I mean… come on! Which part of this lineup strikes fear into the opposing pitcher? Is it 30-year-old Adam Frazier, who batted .230 last season? I doubt it. As of writing this, the Pirates’ opening day roster looks something like this:
- Adam Frazier
- Ke’Bryan Hayes
- Colin Moran
- Bryan Reynolds
- Gregory Polanco
- Anthony Alford
- Jacob Stallings
- Kevin Newman
- Pitchers Spot
Where the hell is the production going to come from? I mentioned Frazier off the top, but he’s approaching the wrong side of 30 and he’s failed to produce anything noteworthy in his five seasons in the Major Leagues. He’s coming off a campaign where he managed just seven home runs and hit .230 on the year. His projects have him hitting between eight to 12 homeruns and driving in around 50, which isn’t very good for a leadoff man on a team that’s devoid of any sort of power.
Behind him, it’ll be up to the quartet of Hayes, Moran, Reynolds and Polanco to supply the offense. Those four players combined for 29 home runs last season, with Moran setting the pace with 10. Hayes had only 95 plate appearances last season but managed to hit .376 during that span. The projections for this year have Hayes hitting around .270 with 16 homeruns and nine stolen bases. Moran is projected to pitch in with 20 dingers, while Reynolds (17) and Polanco (19) are expected to contribute to the cause. Nonetheless, I still believe this is one of the worst rosters in baseball, one through nine. The bottom trio of Alford, Stallings and Newman are projected to contribute very little in terms of offense. And in a division with four other very good teams, the Pirates ship is going to be sunk before we get into the dog days of summer.
Pirates 2021 Projected Rotation & Closer
The Pirates pitching staff leaves a lot to be desired. The rotation is comprised of young pitchers with limited experience. The title of “ace” will be bestowed upon Steven Brault, who is 28-years-old and entering his sixth Major League season. Last year, Brault posted a 1-3 record with a 4.44 ERA in 11 appearances (10 starts). On a team with a terrible batting order, Brault will need to be near perfect this year to help the Pirates win some ball games. He’s projected to start around 28 games and sport a record below .500 with an ERA north of 4.50.
Behind Brault, the talent level drops off a cliff in a hurry. Chad Kuhl, Tyler Anderson, Mitch Keller and JT Brubaker round out the pitching rotation, and the prospects for this bunch aren’t pleasant. Each pitcher is projected to have an ERA above 4.33, and that’s just not ideal in a park like PNC Park, where the ball gets out of there in a hurry.
In terms of the bullpen, the Pirates will rely on Richard Rodriguez to do the closing. Rivero performed well last season and was able to convert on four save opportunities while keeping his ERA to 2.70. He’s projected to save around 23-25 games this year, but I don’t envision the Pirates having many more save opportunities than that.
Pirates 2021 Predictions
FanGraphs projects Pittsburgh to finish the year with a record of 65-97, which would give them the worst record in the Majors. That’s quite a jump up from the Vegas win total of 58.5, so one of these sources has got to be on to something. Judging on the lineup and pitching staff, I’d have to lean to the under, although finishing with a record of 58-104 is harder to do than you may think. I’m not in a hurry to bet this team in any way shape or form unless it’s fading them against the run line on a nightly basis.
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