Last year the Pittsburgh Pirates had an offense that was ranked in the lower half of the league. Despite this, they won 94 games in large part due to their pitching. They saw a ton of injuries to their starting staff throughout the season, but still maintained strong pitching thanks to their depth.
Heading into this season, most of that pitching was returning. The Pirates were getting Francisco Liriano, Gerrit Cole, and Charlie Morton for full seasons. They had two question marks at the back of the rotation, with Wandy Rodriguez returning from an injury, and Edinson Volquez being a reclamation project. The Volquez signing was controversial, because the Pirates had passed on A.J. Burnett, letting him sign with the Philadelphia Phillies.
Prior to tonight's game, the Pirates ranked 27th in the majors in ERA from their starting pitchers, with a 4.59 ERA. If they would have gone with Burnett over Volquez, they would have seen an improvement on that number. Replacing Volquez's numbers ...
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.