5 Reasons Why Pittsburgh Pirates Are In Better Position Than Your Favorite Team

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5 Reasons Why Pittsburgh Pirates Are In Great Position

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Charles LeClaire-USA Today Sports

Let’s face it: The Pittsburgh Pirates have been the laughing stock of MLB for nearly 20 years; we won’t count the first few years of losing because most teams have a couple of losing seasons every now and then. It appears things are starting to change for the small market Pirates, and it is about time.

The Pirates are tied for first place in the National League Central division after losing an ugly game against the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday. The Pirates were able to take two out of three against the Cardinals and win the series, however. The Pirates are a deep organization. I say organization because they aren’t just deep at the Major League level; they are deep all the way down the farm system.

When Pirates general manager Neal Huntington took over the position six seasons ago, he instituted a “five-year plan”. He has received a ton of criticism over the years, but he really shouldn’t have. He was working with the budget of a small market team that had trouble selling tickets in recent seasons. Putting a winning team on the field without a large budget can’t be an easy task. Sure, if you want to nitpick and say his five-year plan wasn’t successful because it took six seasons to finally have the success he hoped for then go for it. It just shows how scarred you are because of 20 years of losing, and quite frankly, I feel sorry for you because you would seem to be a rather miserable person. Seriously, you should be enjoying this season. Don’t take this season for granted, and don’t let it pass by without appreciating it because as you old school Pirates’ fans know, 20 more years of losing is always a possibility.

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Starting Pitching

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Charles LeClaire-USA Today Sports

Francisco Liriano, A.J. Burnett and Charlie Morton are one of MLB’s best 1-2-3 combinations. The Los Angeles Dodgers are probably the only team that can throw out a better combination at the top of their rotation.

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The Shark Tank

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Charles LeClaire-USA Today Sports

The Pirates’ bullpen, or the “Shark Tank”, has been outstanding this season. Led by closer Jason Grilli and setup man Mark Melancon, they have been the most dominant bullpen in baseball.

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Andrew McCutchen

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Charles LeClaire-USA Today Sports

Not a lot of teams can say they have an Andrew McCutchen. Actually, only one team can say such a thing. He’s a legitimate superstar and MVP candidate, and he will be for years to come.

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Front Office

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Charles LeClaire-USA Today Sports

The Pirates’ front office is one of the more shrewd front offices in baseball. They know how to put together a roster without breaking the bank, and when the time comes, they are willing to spend a little extra money to get the guy they really want. If you don’t believe me, here are some examples of players the front office has acquired by overpaying or trading for them and eating significant salary: Russell Martin, A.J. Burnett, Wandy Rodriguez, Justin Morneau.

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Elite Farm System

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Kim Klement-USA Today Sports

The Pirates have a top five farm system, and some even think they have the best farm system. I think there may be one or two better systems like the St. Louis Cardinals and Minnesota Twins. The Pirates have high-end talents like Jameson Taillon and Gregory Polanco, as well as plenty of everyday players that could develop into All-Stars like Alen Hanson, Reese McGuire and Austin Meadows.

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