After going through the best players at each position over the last two weeks, Buster Olney moved on to the bigger categories yesterday. The Pittsburgh Pirates were not among the top ten starting rotations in baseball, but he had some praise for their bullpen on Friday morning. Olney ranked the Pirates as the tenth best bullpen in baseball.
Olney mentions the addition of Daniel Hudson, along with the group of pitchers already in place, as the Pirates having a lot of the necessary pieces for a good bullpen. It sounds like the Pirates could be a little bit better in Olney’s mind than the tenth place ranking, but he wants to see more from Tony Watson in the closer role before he ranks them any higher.
An interesting note to the last two days is where the rest of the NL Central stands in these rankings for pitchers. The Cincinnati Reds and Milwaukee Brewers were not mentioned in either ranking, even getting left out of both honorable mentions. That’s no surprise for either team, as they clearly look to be lacking on the pitching side.
The Pirates main concerns in the division would be the Chicago Cubs and St Louis Cardinals. The Cardinals ranked eighth for bullpens today and they were in the honorable mention category (which only had two teams) for the rotation. The Cubs however, have the best rotation and third best bullpen according to Olney. So as far as pitching is concerned, the defending world champs appear to be well ahead of the rest of the division.
The next two days will be the best lineups, then the best defenses. Olney will wrap everything up on Monday with the best teams in baseball.