Buster Olney has been counting down various top ten lists in the majors, and finished yesterday with his top ten MLB teams. The Pirates were rated as the tenth best team, with Olney pointing out their strong core of Andrew McCutchen, Pedro Alvarez, Starling Marte, Francisco Liriano, Gerrit Cole, and Charlie Morton. The Pirates were the fifth best NL team on the list.
The Pirates rated highly in Olney’s rankings for pitching and defense. They had the fifth best rotation, the fourth best bullpen, and the tenth best defense. The Pirates were contenders in 2013 largely due to their pitching and defense. Much of that has returned for the 2014 season.
One disclaimer to Olney’s ratings is that they come about two months before Spring Training. The off-season is still incomplete, so things can change in all of the top ten lists. That said, the Pirates are still seen as a good team, even if they haven’t made a big splash this off-season.