Pirates 2016 Season Preview
Ready to check out our 2016 Pittsburgh Pirates predictions? After a long period of poor performance the Pirates have been in the playoffs the past three seasons. Unfortunately they have failed to win, losing in the one game Wild Card round the last couple of years.
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With the Cubs suddenly surging they find themselves in one of the toughest divisions in the league, making a continuation of their playoff streak seem a little unlikely. Many are expecting this club to fall but I think they can be in the hunt once again. You have to change your perspective on the Pirates.
- Pirates National League Central Odds: 3/1
- Pirates National League Pennant Odds: 10/1
- Pirates World Series Odds: 20/1
3B David Freese, SP Jon Niese, SP Ryan Vogelsong
After a few seasons without postseason success they have shuffled the deck a little this season. David Freese is not exactly a star but he might give them a little more at 3B and it enabled them to slide Josh Harrison into a vacancy at second.
Niese and Vogelsong have had their moments and Pittsburgh has a great track record of getting the most out of veteran starters so their numbers could go up.
2B Neil Walker, 3B Pedro Alvarez
Walker was an underrated offensive player in the middle of the diamond. His production is replaceable but he was one of the rare guys in the league who gave you exactly what you expected, every year.
Alvarez has a serious power stroke but just couldn’t find consistency. His swings and misses were becoming too much of a liability for a team built to win through pitching and defense.
2016 Pirates Predictions: Projected Lineup
- 1. Josh Harrison, 2B
- 2. Starling Marte, LF
- 3. Andrew McCutchen, CF
- 4. Jung Ho Kang, SS
- 5. Gregory Polanco, RF
- 6. David Freese, 3B
- 7. Francisco Cervelli, C
- 8. John Jaso, 1B
This is an interesting lineup with a potential to be very good. Andrew McCutcheon is one of the best hitters in the game and if Polanco develops they could have one of the best outfields in the game.
All three of them are dangerous with the bat and strong in the field – they can run too.
Kang has shown power but not nearly the stuff of a traditional cleanup hitter – at least not in the Majors. If he is not a power threat this team is going to have to really work hard to move runners along and get clutch hits.
It says a lot about how this lineup is constructed that Jaso, a first basemen is batting eighth.
There are no big holes with this group but after McCutcheon there are no elite players either. They are definitely taking a Kansas City Royals type of approach with this group.
2016 Pirates Predictions: Projected Rotation
- 1. Gerrit Cole, RHP
- 2. Francisco Liriano, LHP
- 3. Jon Niese, LHP
- 4. Ryan Vogelsong, RHP
- 5. Jeff Locke, LHP
Cole showed last year that he is a true ace and not every staff has one of those. Liriano is still very good though it seems like he goes through one stretch every season that makes you wonder, he can still dominate a lineup though.
The Bucs have been great with getting the most out of veterans of late and if they can be over .500 in the starts of Niese and Vogelsong there is no reason this team can’t be in the playoff race once again.
Locke is holding down the fifth spit until one of their hot prospects in MLB ready.
2016 Pirates Predictions: Projected Bullpen
- Mark Melancon
- Tony Watson
- Arquimedes Caminero
I bet you probably didn’t know that the Pirates had the best bullpen ERA in the Majors last year – just a hair ahead of KC. Melancon has 51 saves and Watson was a gem as his primary setup man.
The whole group gets the job done and they have enough fireballers back there to scare the opposition. Caminero can really bring it though he is unknown to most.
2016 Pirates Predictions
The Bucs won 98 games last year and still finished second to St. Louis. Winning that many again would be a surprise and now it appears they have been leapfrogged in the pecking order by the Cubs.
Chicago may look better on paper but this Pittsburgh team is plenty good.
More than any other team in the Majors they may be following the blue print the Royals have set and maybe if they had better playoff success they would be calling it the Pirates model.
This team should be in it all season long. They don’t need anyone to break out.
From a betting perspective this team is likely to be a bit underrated. They are not blessed with a lot of stars and the Cards and Cubs steal the spotlight.
This team cleared 20 units in value last summer and I think they are poised to be another strong value play this season. Don’t forget about these guys.
What do you think of our 2016 Pittsburgh Pirates predictions? Comments are welcome below.
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