Baseball Prospectus Predicts 79 Wins For the Pirates

Baseball Prospectus has released their pre-season playoff odds and predictions, and have the Pittsburgh Pirates projected for a 79-83 record. The odds give the Pirates a 17% chance of making the playoffs, which is made up of a 6.8% chance of winning the division, and a 10.2% chance of winning a Wild Card spot.

Pat Lackey wrote about this earlier today, pointing out that this shouldn’t be cause for celebration, but that it is good to see the Pirates projected to finish around .500. There have been a few similar projections coming out recently, such as the Vegas over/under odds being placed at 79 wins. Obviously you’d like to see the Pirates projected with a winning record, but somewhere around .500 isn’t horrible. In previous years the Pirates would have needed a lot of things to go right to even have a shot at contending. If you’re projected to finish near .500, you obviously don’t need the perfect storm of events to occur in order to make that jump to a contender.

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Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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  • Stephen Brooks

    For the individual player projections – Liriano gets a huge boost moving to the NL and in front of the Bucs defense. The hitters don’t get much love – basically everyone other than Cutch and Barmes is pegged for an OPS in the low 700s. And BP doesn’t like the pen much either.

    PECOTA (BP’s projection algorithm) is inherently conservative, and I do think it undersells the Bucs’ upside, given its youth. This is still a very young team that could be hiding a couple of breakout candidates. I think as constructed this is closer to an 84 win team.

    • Ian Rothermund

      I find it really difficult to agree with a lot of the projections like this. Not that this couldn’t be in the neighborhood of reason. It just really fails to acknowledge the true impact of unproven, younger players and the unexpected decline of older players.

  • phartman


    You’re usually so solid on most everything Pirates? Making the jump to contender isn’t that far?

    Let’s be realistic. No, the jump isn’t that far, but for the sorry Pirates organization, it might as well be to the Moon!

    First of all, the other four teams (no Astros to kick around anymore) are all better! Second, all four teams have ramped up over the Winter buying players and bringing up real prospects. The Pirates have one, maybe, Garritt Cole, who “might” be up later in the season. Unless he’s Tom Seaver II, he won’t turn this franchise into a contender.

    Third, all four Central Division teams have money at their disposal, something Bob Nutting doesn’t have and/or won’t release? Pittsburgh continues to be conservative (read cheap) while the Cubs spend, the Cardinals know where to spend, ditto the Brewers and Cincy is simply the best of the group at doing all of that and more.

    So long as the other four teams outperform in the draft and in exchanging players, the Pirates will finish last, 79 wins or no 79 wins. We can thank Bob Nutting for giving us a second division executive team in Coonelly and Huntington to accompany his penury.

    Therefore, first place and contention in the Central for the Pirates might as well be playing their home games on the moon! Nothing is going to happen until this team begins adding REAL players to their lineup.

    So far they have one, McCutcheon.

  • Richard Ya’Zhynka

    I’ve always felt that the PECOTA projections for individual players were quite conservative. I noticed the same as you did about the Pirate player projections – good pitching, below average hitting. They’ve got Liriano, Rodriguez, and McDonald with ERAs under 4.00 and Burnett just over 4.00.

  • whiteAngus

    “experts” predicted that the pirates would win less than 60 games in 2011 and the pirates won 72. the same “experts” predicted around 70 wins in 2012 and the pirates came within a few stupid Hurdle decisions of having a winning season.
    these “experts” can continue to predict because its fun proving these people wrong.
    and by “experts”, i mean “pretty much everybody who predicts anything”.

    • NorCal Buc

      Agreed, whiteAngus. So we won ’79 last year. Questions about 2013 center around improvement.

      Is our pitching improved with a full year of AJ and Wandy, rather than Correia and Bedard? Are McDonald and Karstens better, with more experience, than last year?

      Do we get more production form left field and right field, with a full year of Marte and Snider/Sands compared to Presley and Tabata of last year?

      Are we improved behind the dish, with Martin and a more seasoned McHenry, than with Barajas.

      Does Pedro imrove? Barmas?

      I see greater potential for improvement, and more wins, than regression. Especially important is improvement with the starting pitching, and production from the OF and at C.

      How many more wins. I’d guess 8 more wins, or 87 total.

      • whiteAngus

        the pitching is, and always will be, the key to improvement. hopefully it stays healthy enough this year to get over the 20 year hump.
        normally i do not predict wins/losses. i have not idea what is going to happen this season. i have noticed, however, that the team has played much better when it loses the last 2 seasons than they did the previous 2 seasons, so that shows me more competitive players/talent than before.
        but since we’re predicting wins, im going to go with 49. Yes, it’s low, but im 99% sure we’ll hit that goal so i wont be as disappointed as other “experts”.

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