Pirates Have the Makings of a Solid Bullpen

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.

  • With the Pirates having an all right handed rotation, doesn’t it make sense to have 5 lefties in the pen? Two of the lefties Watson an Rivero can pitch complete innings.

  • Do you think we ought to be celebrating a rotation not in top 10 and 10th best pen? We are trying to compete to win the World Series not be average. Maybe we ought to be mad Neil has had so much time to develop and this is best we got

    • Injuries. TJ hit the pirates hard. Taillon and Kingham both would have been in the rotation for at least 2 years now if wasn’t for TJ. The Pirates SPs this season will be greatly improved IMO. They have a lot of depth this year with guys who have potential, who also got a taste of MLB last year. If you go with Cole, Taillon, Nova, Kuhl in top 4 spots then you have Brault, Glasnow, Hutchison, Williams as immediate options, plus add in Kingham mid season, they have a chance to never miss a beat with a injury. Not even mentioning other TJ guys coming back like Tim recognized the other day in Cumpton, Sadler, Sanchez etc

  • I was under the impression that Hudson was signed to be the closer. $5 mil per year for anything else in the bullpen is silly for the Pirates.

    And let’s be real, there are 7 guys in the bullpen and only 4 really truely matter.

  • I must have missed a Cubs move but prior to Chapman they weren’t that good last year. Did they sign someone?

  • Curious how his ranking would change without Watson, and to a lesser extent without Bastardo, given its a possibility one or both get moved before opening day.

  • “So as far as pitching is concerned, the defending world champs appear to be well ahead of the rest of the division.”

    Unfortunately for us, you could replace pitching with most baseball-related things, and that statement is either definitely or at least arguably true. Unless you replace “pitching” with “pickoff moves by top of the rotation left-handed starting pitchers.” Then everyone has them beat.

    • Their pitching literally had zero injuries last season. The chances of that happening again are about the same as Pirates signing Bryce Harper to a FA contract next winter.

  • I have a tendency to think that Andrew M and Tony W are the top two keys to a successful season, and I say this even if Watson is the 8th inning guy and Andrew moves from center field.

  • rickmontgomery
    January 13, 2017 11:24 am

    Thankfully, the teams still have to actually play games. If Buster got to simply pick the World Series champ, the Pirates would be in trouble.

    • terrygordon30
      January 13, 2017 1:50 pm

      If games were played on paper, the Pirates would have lost the 71 World Series and not even made it to 60 World Series.

    • If Buster got to pick the WS champ we would have won it in 2015.