Every team has a weakness. Most of this off-season has been spent focusing on the big weaknesses for the Pirates — the first base spot and the fifth starter spot in the rotation.
The Pirates didn’t do anything over the off-season to ease concerns about those two spots. And in the process, people continued to focus on those two positions, all while ignoring the fact that the positives on this team far out-weigh the negatives.
I talked about how the first base position looks bad here, here, and here. I talked about how the Edinson Volquez experiment wasn’t looking good this Spring, and mentioned him as a red flag in the rotation to start the year.
I could continue writing the same thing about those two positions. But instead, I think I’ll point out all of the reasons why the Pirates are going to have another good season, even with those two potential holes on the roster.
1. An MVP
2. A young outfielder who was worth 4.6 WAR in his first full season
3. The NL home run leader
4. One of the best defensive catchers in the game
5. A starting pitcher who pitched like an ace last year
6. A future ace who looked like he was stepping into that role at the end of the 2013 season
7. A pitcher who looked like a strong middle of the rotation starter after returning from Tommy John surgery
8. A pitcher who posted strong numbers before his injury, and looked healthy this Spring
9-14. Six out of seven regulars returning from a bullpen that ranked as one of the top bullpens in baseball last year
15-16. At least league average production or better at the two middle infield spots
17-19. A group of starting pitchers in Triple-A who could probably make the Opening Day rotation for about 10 teams this year
20-21. And finally, two of the game’s top prospects expected to arrive this summer
So yeah, we could focus on the two positions where the Pirates have a weakness, and point out how they didn’t do anything this off-season. That’s a totally valid complaint and shouldn’t be ignored. But in the process, let’s not ignore the strengths all over this team, which were the strengths that helped them win 94 games last year.
Links and Notes
**The 2014 Prospect Guide is in stock on the products page of the site. The book features profiles, scouting reports, and grades on every player in the minor league system, including our top 50 prospects. The Prospect Guide has been mentioned as a resource several times on the Pirates’ broadcast, and has been purchased as a source of reference by opposing MLB front office members, opposing scouts, and media members. If it’s a good resource for them, it’s a good resource for you. You can order your Prospect Guide on the products page of the site.
**Here are all of the season preview articles:
- The Pirates Rotation Has Some Red Flags, But Still Projects to Carry the Team.
- The Pirates Won’t Have to Wait For Gregory Polanco to Have a Top Outfield
- Pirates Will Once Again Have Strong Infield Defense and Offensive Questions
- The Pirates are Returning a Bullpen That Was One of the Best in Baseball
- The Pirates Have a Bench That Can’t Hit Right-Handers