2023 Pittsburgh Pirates Predictions and Odds to Win the World Series
World Series Odds: +30,000
NL Winner Odds: +14,000
NL Central Division Odds: +5500
Over/Under Win Total: 67.5
Pittsburgh Pirates fans have a lot to be excited about heading into the 2023 season. After finishing last season with the 3rd worst record in the MLB, it’s safe to say this year’s team will look to be standing higher in the National League standings come fall. The Pirates have been busy this offseason, adding some new talent to their roster, including former fan-favorite Andrew McCutchen. Highly touted prospect Ji-Hwan Bae is also set to have a role with the Pirates after climbing the minor league rankings. This year's team looks to be a strong one, with a solid mix of veterans and young players.
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Projected Starting Lineup:
C Austin Hedges .163/.241/.489 / Jason Delay .213/.265/.536
1B Ji-Man Choi .233/.341/.729
2B Rodolfo Castro .233/.299/.725 / Tucupita Marcano .206/.256/.562
3B Ke'Bryan Hayes .244/.314/.659
SS Oneil Cruz .233/.294/.744
LF Connor Joe .238/.338/.697
CF Bryan Reynolds .262/.345/.807
RF Andrew McCutchen .237/.316/.700
DH Carlos Santana .202/.316/.692
One of the biggest additions to the lineup is Ji-Man Choi, who had a solid season last year with Tampa Bay, hitting .233 with 33 home runs. He will bring some much-needed power to the first base position and provide a solid presence in the middle of the order. On the flip side, Choi is currently dealing with some in-house problems with Pittsburgh already, as the team has submitted a medical objection that would keep him off Korea’s roster for the upcoming World Baseball Classic. Assuming this situation passes, look for Choi to really lend a hand on both sides of the ball this year for the Pirates.
As mentioned, another key acquisition for the Pirates is former National League MVP, McCutchen. Although McCutchen is entering the twilight of his career, he still has a lot of gas left in the tank and will provide a boost to the Pirates' lineup. McCutchen will be the team's starting right fielder and will provide a strong veteran presence in the clubhouse. Last season in Milwaukee, McCutchen spotted a career-low .237/.316/.384 batting line in 580 trips to the plate. Hopefully coming home, Andrew can get back into his groove and be a reliable hitter and fielder for the Pirates.
One big player to watch this season is Ke'Bryan Hayes. The Pirates gave Hayes the “franchise tag” with an 8-year, $70 Million deal, the largest in franchise history. The young third baseman had a solid season last year with some injury setbacks and will be looking to build on that success in 2023 while staying healthy. The 3rd basemen has led the league since his rookie year in DRS (Defensive Runs Saved), which is known as one of the most important defensive categories in baseball. Hayes has a chance to be a cornerstone player for the Pirates for many years to come, and I’m looking forward to seeing how he can try to make this franchise a winning one.
The Pirates have also added some depth to their pitching staff, with the addition of Rich Hill. Since 2020, Hill has posted a 3.92 ERA and a 106 ERA+ across 321 2/3 innings. Over the last three seasons, Hill has been worth 3.1 bWAR and 4.1 fWAR. Hill will provide a veteran presence in the rotation and will be a valuable mentor to the younger pitchers on the team.
1) JT Brubaker: 3-12, 4.69 ERA, 28 starts, 144 IP, 1.47 WHIP, 2.72 SO/W, 88 ERA+
2) Rich Hill: 8-7, 4.27 ERA, 26 starts, 124.1 IP, 1.30 WHIP, 2.95 SO/W, 98 ERA+
3) Mitch Keller: 5-12, 3.91 ERA, 29 starts, 159 IP, 1.40 WHIP, 2.30 SO/W, 106 ERA+
4) Roansy Contreras: 5-5, 3.79 ERA, 18 starts, 95 IP, 1.27 WHIP, 2.21 SO/W, 110 ERA+
5) Johan Oviedo: 2-2, 3.23 ERA, 7 starts, 30.2 IP, 1.27 WHIP, 1.75 SO/W, 130 ERA+
JT Brubaker is coming off a decent 2022. His record shouldn’t reflect his pitching. As many know, the Pirates bats didn’t help any pitcher in the rotation. JT struck out 147 batters in 144 innings, reaching more than a K per inning. He had great 8.4% walk rate and had his HR/9 sit at 1.08. Brubaker had a 3.94 FIP, 3.87 xFIP, and 3.95 SIERA. JT Brubaker is better than what his ERA suggests.
With an Over/Under Win Total of 67.5 games, I believe it is highly probable that the 2023 Pirates will win 68 games. To achieve this, they will need to improve their performance in later innings by elevating their batting and maintaining their lead or keeping the game within reach through solid middle relief efforts. The only major uncertainty lies in the potential trade of their star center fielder, Bryan Reynolds. If Reynolds is traded, the team's lack of overall talent will likely result in a win total of 60-69, as it was in previous seasons. In the event of a pre-season Reynolds trade, I would recommend betting on the under. On the other hand, if you believe Reynolds will remain with the team, I believe a 68-69 win season is achievable.
In conclusion, the Pittsburgh Pirates have a decent team heading into the 2023 season. With a mix of veterans and young players, this team looks poised to compete and perform better than last season. With the additions of Ji-Man Choi, Andrew McCutchen, and Rich Hill, the Pirates have improved their roster in key areas and will be a fun team to watch.
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