The Pittsburgh Pirates were contenders in 2013. They were contenders because of bounce back pitchers like A.J. Burnett and Francisco Liriano. They were contenders because they relied on unproven prospects, rather than going for the "guarantee" of an established major leaguer. They were contenders because they went against the norms -- placing higher values on defense, pitch framing, ground balls, defensive shifts, and ignoring the myth of "proven relievers".
I've talked in the past about how the Pirates need to stay the course. The approach that got them here is the approach that is going to keep them contenders for years to come. The idea that a team has to act one way to become contenders, and another way once they are contenders is wrong. Teams that act this way and change their approach usually don't remain contenders for long, and quickly have to go back to a rebuilding process.
There's one thing that gets lost in this discussion. Any discussion that talks about how the Pira...
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 AccuScore.com, 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.