First call: Predictor thinks Pirates could be ‘surprise breakout team’ in 2019

November 24, 2018

Pumping up the Pirates?

In his “Way-too-early power rankings” for 2019, ESPN.com’s Dave Schoenfield has the Pirates 17th. He refers to them as a potential “surprise breakout team.”

“They have a nice foundation of solid, young veterans, plus some interesting rising youngsters such as ground ball king Trevor Williams (1.38 ERA in the second half),” Schoenfield writes.

He’s right. The Pirates pitching staff might be good enough to float the Bucs into wild-card contention. But, as the author points out, the Pirates lack a star-quality bat. And the depth of the National League Central is a concern.

If they make some offseason lineup improvements, I can see the Pirates being good enough to win five or six more games and maybe sneak into the playoffs as the final wild-card team in 2019.

But that will take some spending in free agency or making trade acquisitions this offseason. Things they did little of a year ago.

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