Poll: How Will The Pirates Finish?

The Pirates are 20 wins away from assuring themselves of their first winning season since 1992, and they have a realistic chance at an even greater accomplishment. The Pirates are currently in playoff position, 2.5 games ahead of the Cardinals for the National League's second Wild Card spot. Baseball Prospectus calculates that there’s a 55.5% chance the Pirates make the playoffs this year.

But a lot can happen in two months. The Pirates made midseason upgrades a year ago, acquiring Derrek Lee and Ryan Ludwick, only to falter down the stretch and finish with a 72-90 record. This year's Pirates team is much better at preventing runs, yet it doesn't generate much offense. The Pirates are 11th in the NL in runs scored and their team on-base percentage is just .303.

For the Pirates to finish below .500, they’d have to finish 18-35 or worse. To win 90 games, they’d have to finish 28-25 or better. With 53 games to go, a lot of uncertainty exists…

62 Responses to Poll: How Will The Pirates Finish? Leave a Reply

  1. Karkat 3 years ago

    Insofar as we can call the new wildcard play-in game the “playoffs,” I think they’ll make it.

  2. melonis_rex 3 years ago

    Wildcard berth. Of course, the Pirates could finish in 3rd place and get one of those (as could several other teams).

  3. Brian_Bixler 3 years ago

    I’m a Pirates fan and I still don’t think they’ll make the playoffs. In all likely hood the Cardinals will get that 2nd wild card. The remaining schedule seems a bit like last year where they’re playing better teams late in the year, and this year’s team just doesn’t have the pop to get to the playoffs. This offseason hopefully we acquire a guy like Nick Swisher or Melky Cabrera to get the offense rolling, though I would prefer them to get a short-stop to replace Barmes.But if they get a solid offensive player to fill the middle of the order, then I think the Pirates will win the division next year. They’ll probably have Gerrit Cole up with the team along with one or two of their lefties in AAA to help out in the rotation (or ‘pen).

    • Aircool 3 years ago

      Sadness…. And exactly how will they afford Swisher’s 12-15 million dollar per year contract? I find it interesting you cited two Switch Hitters as your needs, seems a good move to add some offensive versatility, and i would further add that a bad switch hitter is not really of any use. Got to be at least above average from one side of the plate, otherwise its a waste. And if Cabrera doesn’t stay in San Francisco, there is no way that the Pirates can afford is 14-18 Million Dollar Contract…. A Good Shortstop is expensive, thats why you don’t have a better one, but it was my understanding (And i don’t claim to know all that much about most pirates players) but isn’t Barmes a strong defensive shortstop? Doesn’t that bring value to you? But yes your problem is one more bat to go with McCutchen, but no you can’t afford it…. Gerrit Cole isn’t near the Majors is he? Scratch that, Double A right now, it isn’t impossible to see him in the Majors, but don’t forget he isn’t a quality major league player, he is a quality prospect. He could come up and tear it up in the Majors next year, it is possible but extremely unlikely, he has a high ceiling but his current ability isn’t much to talk about yet. Same can be said of your lefties, don’t even care who you are talking about, helping out, Minor Leaguers don’t have huge impacts at the Major League level, it almost always takes 1-2 years to develop and round out your flaws at the major league level to be both consistent and effective. Basically I Disagree with everything you said except the Pirates won’t make the playoffs, unreliable pitching rotation which doesn’t have experience pitching large amounts of innings in a season, Save AJ Burnett, don’t expect them to be effective at the 170-180 Innings pitched mark, if they even make it there.

      • Aircool 3 years ago

        Apparently there was rumour that Cabrera was informally offered a 3 year 27 million deal, a while before extension talks were put on hold… but no wonder they were put on hold….. The guy is hitting like .340? and .400 OBP? You want to pay him 9 Million a year? Lol, they were probably put on hold out of fear of aggravating him mid season….. No way he gets less than 12 million a year, but I will say this, His defense isn’t amazing by any means so maybe i am overvaluing the price of his bat, he isn’t really big on the long ball so It’s entirely possible.

        • Brian_Bixler 3 years ago

          I wouldn’t pay either Cabrera or Swisher 18 and 15 million, respectively. Cabrera is having a great year, yes. But I feel that players should produce multiple years of that kind of production to get the kind of deals you proposed. Swisher, in my opinion, isn’t really one of the elite hitters in the game, so to pay him that much seems ridiculous.

          And I looked up some numbers on Clint’s defensive game. Out of 24 qualifying short-stops in the MLB, he ranks 14th in fielding % (.975) and he’s played the 15th most games of those short-stops with 96. If your into range factor, his ranks second to last only ahead of Elliot Johnson from TB, with a range factor of 3.65. His D isn’t enough to get over how bad he’s been at the plate.

          I’d prefer J.J. Hardy. Top range factor among short-stops. Second best fielding % (.991), 107 games played, and he’s got power, with 16 HR’s. His batting avg is low, but its higher than Barmes at least. Do you know if Hardy is a free agent this year?

          • Aircool 3 years ago

            Hardy is a free agent at the end of 2014, so two more years. But thanks for taking the upper end of my spreads lol. The Thing is, Swisher is already being paid 10 Million this year, and it is going to go up, he signed a 6 year 36 million contract, that expires this year. He is not an elite hitter, but he is one of the better switch hitters whose defence is underrated but not spectacular by any means, And he is good at working the count and getting on base.. he is one of the better hitters in baseball at working the count, he has very smart at bats. There is a market for a switch hitter who can work the count and has above average power. He is not susceptible to matchups, you know a lefty out the bullpen, he will work the at bat and punish mistakes. Elite Players get 18-25 million a year, unless they take a team friendly deal, Swisher will either stay a yankee, which would require a team friendly deal for the yankees to get under the 189 million luxury tax by 2014, or get his paycheck. Swisher is not elite, but he is very good, 12-15 million is a possible price and any less than 12, I think he would remain a yankee, 100%, so then there is no free agent pricing on him.

            And I really didn’t know how good clint barmes was at defense lol, i just thought i had heard people say he was a strong defender you know commentators or whatever, evidently i concocted that one.

    • I don’t see them going after an outfielder in FA a SS maybe but at this point i don’t know who is going to be available.

  4. Jeff 3 years ago

    Prediction- the NL Wild Card game will not involve any travel, because the two teams playing will already be there to end the season.

  5. Claude Cw Pinner 3 years ago

    They will be the second wild card and play the Braves…where we will beat them and send them into another 20 year funk.

  6. hiflyer000 3 years ago

    I don’t think they’ll make it because they did practically nothing at the trade deadline, while other wild card contenders got better. Its a shame because they could have gotten a good impact bat for next to nothing and really energized the franchise and fan base.

    • ericc123 3 years ago

      The Cards and Reds each added one reliever. The Pirates added a good left handed starter, a young cost controlled first baseman, a young cost controlled power hitting outfielder and an experienced reliever. The best move they probably made was bringing up/not trading Starling Marte. I’m not sure all of these moves will work out for them, but you definitely can’t say they did nothing at the trade deadline.

      • Aircool 3 years ago

        Travis Snider…. Is young and low cost, but not a power hitting outfielder….. He has a little trouble with the thing called the Strikeout, and has little to no plate discipline which was the reason for the large portion of his failure in Toronto, and why he was shipped out like damaged goods to the Pirates for a quality reliever and potential spot starter in Brad Lincoln. That trade was a huge loss for the pirates no matter how you slice it, Maybe Snider will finally figure things out in the NL, but as indicated by his performance in Toronto over the years, don’t expect much. There is a reason why a lot of people turned down a deal to acquire Wandy Rodriguez… he isn’t nearly as good as he once was, but i won’t pretend to know him well, Who watches the astros? Chad Qualls….. Please, with the short stint I saw him play with the Yankees, he was completely useless, No Command of his fastball or his alternate pitches, and his ERA this season is disgustingly high, another losing trade for pittsburgh, McGehee is a good bat. Finally Gaby Sanchez.. This may be the only winning trade they made this deadline, but I don’t expect Sanchez to perform like he has in the past before next season, he has been in terrible form all year, and it’ll probably take an off season and a spring training to just get him back into his previous form, don’t expect to get much help from him at first, for now.

        • Lincoln will never be a starter again. Ok maybe he will just not a good one. He only has 2 pitches. The Pirated took a calculated gamble and so farSnider has held his own. McGehee was about ot get DFA and they got a reliever out of him. How is that a bad trade? Sanchez trade i can agree with you on. Finally i am not saying Wandy is a top of the league pitcher. He is what he is a solid #3 starter and they gave up Zach Duke part 2, a decent OF prospect and minor league pitcher that probably has a 5% chance of seeing the majors. I like the pirates moves at the deadline. They improved the team now and on down the line.

          • Aircool 3 years ago

            And the blue jays should never use him as a starter, he will be very effective in the late innings, but currently the Blue Jays are struggling with the rotation having 3 of their starters injured and two of them getting Tommy John Surgery and will be out for 1 Year +. So you just never know. Right now the rotation is filled with a bunch of mediocre Quadruple A pitchers. And Ericc i am not arguing semantics, I’m just simply stating that the Pirates didn’t really add, in fact in many ways they subtracted, Qualls < McGehee, The Yankees got Qualls on Waivers, so that was a free trade for them, and they got a quality role playing bat, Snider < Lincoln, Snider has consistently failed at the big league level, i have watched him play for most of his major league career, living in canada and getting all the blue jays matches on TV, and he has no plate discipline, or either that or he can't identify balls and strikes…. So i wasn't arguing semantics i was just saying these were subtractions not additions. I'm sure Pirates fans don't want to hear this, but it is for the most part true. And if Snider doesn't hit at least a reasonable number in the NL Central…. Then i'm glad he isn't part of the blue jays organization any more…. Because he was never handling the AL East.

        • ericc123 3 years ago

          Caleb, you are arguing semantics with me. You’ll notice that I said that I’m not sure that all of these moves will work out, but I was replying to the comment that they did nothing at the trade deadline. The success of the trades will be determined at a later date, but it is hard to argue that with the quantity of trades they made, that they did nothing. They were trying to get better in the short and long term. Whether or not they were successful remains to be seen.

      • bigpat 3 years ago

        They did things at the deadline but not much to help the team win now. Sanchez and Snider are reclamation projects. I think each of them can be good but it’s not like going out to get a proven bat. Then again a lot of teams may be disappointed when the rentals they brought it. Just describing what he sees from his perspective.

    • Todd Smith 3 years ago

      I’m curious who this good impact bat was that they could have had for next to nothing.

      Hunter Pence – who I would hardly call a good impact bat at this point – could have been had for Lincoln + Marte + prospects. Hardly next to nothing. That would have left the Pirates with an outfield of McCutchen, Pence and Presley – which is a significant downgrade from the current outfield of McCutchen, Marte and Snider.

      • Aircool 3 years ago

        That is what i was trying to say in an earlier post, the Pirates can’t afford such a bat anyways, the salary is too much, they would have to entertain deals for Gerrit Cole to have the team giving them this hot shot player Eat the majority if not all of the incoming players salary… You don’t just get a 15 Million + Caliber hitter for free because you traded for him…

  7. one step at a time. get them 20 wins to get out of this 19 year skid. i’ve been counting the games needed for .500, with the ‘extra’ wild card slot there are quite a few teams still in the hunt at the .500 mark which suggests a wild card birth is not out of the question.

    Of course that is all assuming the Pirates don’t go on a extended hot streak or slump.

  8. johnsilver 3 years ago

    I hope they take the Central crown. Have Stargell, Moreno, Robinson, Stennett etc.. On hand as a celebration Think Candelaria is a broadcaster, so he’s always there.

    • Karkat 3 years ago

      That’d be pretty cool to see, but I’ve been riding the Reds all season.

      • PWNdroia 3 years ago

        Reds might win it, but if they do I guarantee they’ll lose in the playoffs. Their pitching isn’t that great.

        • Karkat 3 years ago

          I don’t know, the NL playoffs are going to be kind of nuts. Between the Strasburg-less Nationals and teams tired from the play-in game, I’ve been predicting a Reds-Giants NLCS for a while now.

        • TophersReds 3 years ago

          Oh no! A random kid on the internet gurantees the Reds will lose in the playoffs!

          Get your facts straight. 5th best SP ERA in the NL, 7th best in baseball at 3.77. Best bullpen in baseball (2.49 Bullpen ERA. Next best? Oakland at 2.89). Tell me more about how the pitching ‘isn’t that great’.

          You do know 9 out of the 10 playoff teams lose, right? Good grief.

          • PWNdroia 3 years ago

            Maybe great now, but I think they’ll tire. Please tell me who these top 3 pitchers are because I know they aren’t Mike Leake, Bronson Arroyo, or the guy they got from the Padres (forgot his name).

          • TophersReds 3 years ago

            Latos has a 2 ERA in his last 9 starts. Cueto has an ERA in the mid 2s. Homer Bailey had a 3.4 ERA before his last 2 starts. OK, once again.

        • Aircool 3 years ago

          But at least they have a guy like Cueto who has a good track record not great… and if Latos can get his pitching back to the level everyone who has seen him pitch knows it can be at, that is not a bad One – Two, and they would only really need one more pitcher, they can run a 3 man rotation in the playoffs. Maybe the odd spot start to give those three men a rest.

      • johnsilver 3 years ago

        I liked the Pirates in the 60’s-70’s, but never really followed them much after that.

        This new “bunch” would be exciting to watch and no HGH crowd would be a plus for them also.

        I’d like to see the NLCS down to LAD and Pittsburgh, but that is really stretching it on both ends.

        • Karkat 3 years ago

          I liked the not being born for another 20 years in the 60’s and 70’s x_x

          • johnsilver 3 years ago

            LOL. Sorry about bringing it up then Karkat.

            Was a big fan of them. Pirates were one of the stronger NL teams for around 20 years before “big money” tactics took over the game.

            Should say followed Boston always 1st, Pirates, Phillies, LAD, Oakland.. Liked lots of teams.. Still do follow more than 1 of course

    • arthur3 3 years ago

      Willie Stargell died 11 years ago

      • johnsilver 3 years ago

        Oh man.. Thanks for that.. had no idea..

        One of my favorites from those early 70’s Buc teams, along with Sanguillen, Bill robinson, Jimmy Rooker, Clemente (yeah, I now he passed away)

        • formerdraftpick 3 years ago

          Have Sammy Khalifia in a Stargell jersey.

  9. Aircool 3 years ago

    I think the Pirates have a team worthy of the Playoffs, I just don’t know if their pitching is going to make it down the stretch. if the pitching holds up, they are in the playoffs, this is true of all teams who can all be out if pitching implodes down the stretch, but I think the pirates may be more susceptible than most teams to this issue. AJ Burnett, has had lots of issues pitching, although this may have just been the pressures of New York and the AL East. Erik Bedard, enough said, this is a person who has played a career of almost exclusively mediocrity, having broken 150 Inning pitched only twice… and has lost 12 games this year, I fail to see him being remotely effective down the stretch, Is James McDonald as good as he has shown this season? I don’t know, we can only wait and see, but it is only his second year as a starter, and last year he had a little trouble with a couple things called the walk and the homerun, and that has continued this year. 24 HRs and 78 Walks, 13 and 51 so far.

    Oh well it’s a long comment but really the fact that I have this much doubt about Pittsburgh, which everyone knows is a team founded on its pitching not its hitting, is not a good sign for Pirates fans.

  10. PWNdroia 3 years ago

    I think they’ll just miss the playoffs, but be over .500. I just don’t think they have it in them. AJ Burnett can’t keep holding this team together.

  11. Remember92 3 years ago

    It will come down to the pitching for the Pirates. But not for the reasons that a lot of commenters think. Since the last week of May the Pirates have had one of the best offenses in the whole league. And in that time they have played to over 20 games over .500. It was their abismal start offensively that hurt them early in the year. And the lights out pitching then is the only thing that kept them afloat. If guys don’t flame out at the 170+ inning mark then they will be there in the end with not only a wildcard berth but possibly the division. Because can Cincy keep playing .800 ball. or St. Louis playing tremendous the rest of the way as well.Cincy’s starters minus two have never logged over 140 innings in a year as well. And the Cards rotation is getting healthier but have a history of injuries as well. The division is still wide open…

  12. Todd Smith 3 years ago

    I still think the Pirates will take the division. The Reds went on a crazy hot streak winning – what – 22 out of 25 games, and the Pirates are still right there only 3 games back. With a couple of series still left between the Reds and Pirates, there’s still plenty of time to overtake the division.

  13. Greatone1210 3 years ago

    Above .500 but miss the playoffs by a short margin. This is coming from a diehard season ticket holder. I think what we are seeing this year is just the start of something better and the Bucs return to glory (or at something like that). This current team does not have the pitching or offense to go deep in the playoffs. But in the next two years we will see some improvement all around including Cole, Taillon, and some position players as well. Plus if we add any potential players brought in from FA and trades, we look to be ready to compete again.

    • BradyAndersonsSideburns 3 years ago

      I think they will squeak their way into the playoffs. You’re right though, this team should only get better, they have a ridiculous amount of young talent that is either up or will be soon.

  14. I voted above .500 but no playoffs…narrowly missing. However, A.J. Burnett should be a candidate for Comeback Player of the Year, and Andrew McCutchen should be the MVP over Joey Votto…they are why the Pirates have come this far. The rest of the pitching, however, has to answer the bell.

    Now, with the second wild-card, this could help them.

    • Aircool 3 years ago

      It’s not comeback player of the year material to be honest, it’s more like you went to an easier division and league and your stuff could cut it, but honestly it appears AJ Burnett completely chokes under pressure. No offence to NL and NL Central fans, but what team in the NL has a lineup as deep as the Red Sox or Tigers and such. I could be completely forgetting one but i do not think it exists… I think the Phillies of 2011 were that team, but they obviously imploded this year. I would mention the Yankees as well including the Tigers and Red Sox but he was on that team, so he didn’t have to face them obviously…

      I suppose i am being very critical of the Pirates, perhaps harshly so, but its because there isn’t much to praise, McCutchen, McDonald (Who may be a one hit wonder…) the rest is not amazing…. You can find the rest on any other team. But the thing that makes it worse is that most of the names in your rotation are those of people who have a track record of failure. Even McDonald was 18-20 career record coming into this season… I just can’t imagine this working out, like this isn’t even a case of moneyball, these players just weren’t and aren’t good minus a few exceptions. Once again I am being harsh, but this isn’t a team that should adequately stand the test of a full season, can it? Anything is possible in baseball, well within reason, Good Baseball is Good Baseball.. Just don’t think it will.

      • Gabraham 3 years ago

        The St. Louis Cardinals offense says, “hello.”

        • Aircool 3 years ago

          Yup, I looked up their stats, they are certainly an offensive team worth mention, my only issue with them was that they don’t have the depth in the lineup that the Yankees and Red Sox and a few other AL Teams have in terms of just that raw ability to go out of the park and such, but they are a good offensive team, you are definitely right.

      • letsgobucs 3 years ago

        You obviously have now watched enough baseball to realize that the best team “on paper” NEVER wins it all. Look at some of the World Series winning teams of the past decade, some of them weren’t even close to the best team in their division. AJ Burnett is going to win the NL CY YOUNG, not Comeback Player. You will eat your words. No, these Pirates aren’t ready for the postseason yet, but they may get there, and that is a huge accomplishment from where I am sitting.

        • Aircool 3 years ago

          The teams that are better on paper, are better on paper for a reason, they have better players… They win more consistently over the course of a season. Over the span of less than 20 games… A team that is worse on paper can win a world series; however, the Pirates are atrocious on paper, they have good players, they have a solid team, they just have too many holes whether it be on the field in the rotation or the bullpen, having traded Lincoln away. AJ Burnett won’t win the CY Young, he will be a competitor I am sure. But this is still the pirates’ first winning season in a long time, and they have a good team, its just not playoff material, and it seems susceptible to failure down the september stretch, it has a pitching staff who a few members just don’t have much or any experience pitching 160+ Innings a season, they may do fine, or they may completely fail, the latter is more likely but the former is possible. That is my biggest concern.

      • DempseyK 3 years ago

        Like you suggested, I believe you are being harsh…too harsh in fact. I dont think it is fair to say that Cutch is the only good player on the team. I think Pedro Alvarez and Neil Walker are special players that are NOT a dime a dozen. And Starling Marte and Travis Snider have the potential to fall into that catagory shortly also. They will surely have the oppertunity to prove they belong on that list. As far as pitching goes, I give tons of credit to the scouting dept. and Huntington. He made acquisitions based on intangibles and characteristics regardless of how many major league innings they had or had not pitched. And he has done well with many of them. Just because players dont get playing time with organization “A” doesnt mean they cannot be solid big league players for organization “B” Huntington has made his fair share of mistakes, but as a whole, Im impressed with his talent evaluations…especially with pitching (not so much with over the hill veterans in the field) Look at Michael “The Fort” McKenry, he was never given playing time beyond triple A, and as a platoon type guy he is putting up career numbers. They have made smart pickups from other peoples “under the radar scrap heap”. Kudos to them. And BTW, AJ Burnett should not only be the comeback player of the year, but he should be the Cy Young winner this year also…And Cutch is the obvious MVP.

        • $5822868 3 years ago

          I disagree about Alvarez being a ‘special’ p[ayer. His defense is abysmal and beside hitting a few long home runs a sub-250 batting average isn’t going to cut it. Walker is a special player mainly because he has become a secondbaseman.

      • bucsws2014 3 years ago

        Whatever. He did win a WS game. And he had .500 record vs. AL teams during his Yankees years but a sub-.500 record vs. NL teams during that same period. He was ridiculously effective vs. the Yankees in 07-08 when with Toronto.

        But you can believe what you want.

        When you go through the numbers and history it becomes pretty obvious that a big part of the problem was Yankees catching.

        • Aircool 3 years ago

          Hmmm… No. If you think even with a year of Russell Martin one of the games best defensive catchers, who can call a good game, wasn’t enough of a time to perhaps dissuade an opinion that Posada was a problem, which could have been a possibility, you would still have to agree, that AJ Burnett being physically unable to locate his fastball and prevent hanging curveballs while in New York, and consistently giving up like 4-6 runs in 3-5 innings of work, is not the fault of catching. Burnett just couldn’t handle the pressure. Simple.

  15. goner 3 years ago

    I voted “playoff berth,” because you gotta think the Reds are due for as much regression as the Pirates.

    And if last year’s collapse is the worst case scenario, then they can’t miss finishing above .500, IMO.

  16. bigpat 3 years ago

    I’m sticking by my prediction of them facing off against the Braves in the Wild Card Playoff and winning.

  17. Scott Krouse 3 years ago

    They remind me of a young 1988 Pirate team that almost beat the mighty Mets for the NL East crown, but faded down the stretch. The next few years were magic in Pittsburgh (damn you Francisco Cabrera!!!). With Marte, Cole, Tallion, etc coming, their 4 year window is just opening. NOTE: I make one road trip a year to PNC – and will be there this Saturday night with a guaranteed soldout crowd to see this team.

  18. Douglas Rau 3 years ago

    The last time the Pirates had a winning season, gas was about $0.95/gallon.

  19. voted for no playoffs this time but above .500. sorry, i just don’t see this team keeping up with the Dodgers, Cardinals, or any other wild card contenders. the Braves are all but out of their reach for the first wild card too.

  20. Aircool 3 years ago

    It is entirely possible it happens….. what baseball have you been watching? The NL East has been cutting each other out of the wildcard all year, the top 4 teams in that division, because those Marlins were a sore disappointment, have been cutting away at each others chance to make the wildcard with all these 2 out of three and split four game series in a heavily competitive and very balanced division. It is going to be extremely tough for them to make it when compared to the Central Division, which has only 3 strong teams with the Brewers Cubs and Astros rounding them out, that is three teams to beat on and a those top three teams can split games amongst themselves. the NL East teams do not have that luxury, they only have the Marlins to beat on. Furthermore since there are 6 teams they play each other less, meaning that they have less of an effect on the other’s record. and I mean 1 team has less of an effect on anothers, which basically means the Reds and Cardinals don’t play as much as the Braves and any other individual team in the NL East, so they won’t be impeding each other from getting good records.

  21. Don’t forget the D’backs now, they’re still very much in the division and wc races.

  22. Odawg8 3 years ago

    I’d like to point out that the Phillies have the same record as the Marlins…

  23. Aircool 3 years ago

    Forgot about them :( But honestly even now the Phillies and Marlins > Astros and Cubs. Like are there 2 worse teams in baseball?

  24. Neil Guzman 3 years ago

    *entire Rockies organization in unison* Don’t forget about us!

  25. Aircool 3 years ago

    Lol, no your starting pitching is atrocious but you have good players… just need to acquire a better pitching coach and a couple good starters including an Ace, this is hard to come by, but you aren’t nearly in the terrible spot of the Astros and Cubs, although your record is disgusting.

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