MLB

Opening Day 2014: Pittsburgh Pirates Season Outlook

Pittsburgh Pirates 2014 Season Outlook

Pittsburgh Pirates Andrew McCutchen
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The Pittsburgh Pirates had a quiet offseason, but the organization is stocked with young pitching that should be able to keep them competitive in 2014. The Pirates probably won't win more than 90 games again this season, but they should certainly compete for one of the National League Wild Card spots. To get you ready for the 2014 season, here is a review of the offseason and a preview of what is to come.

Top 5 Hitters

Pittsburgh Pirates Andrew Lambo
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Top 5 Hitters

Pittsburgh Pirates Andrew McCutchen
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

1. Andrew McCutchen
2. Starling Marte
3. Neil Walker
4. Pedro Alvarez
5. Jose Tabata

The man who needs no introduction is Andrew McCutchen. He is, of course, the reigning NL MVP. To be honest, making a top five hitters list for the Pirates was tough. After Alvarez, it's a bunch of players who are slightly above average or have extreme platoon-splits. Watch out for Starling Marte this season as well.

Top 5 Pitchers

Pittsburgh Pirates Gerrit Cole
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Top 5 Pitchers

Pittsburgh Pirates Gerrit Cole
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

1. Gerrit Cole
2. Francisco Liriano
3. Charlie Morton
4. Wandy Rodriguez
5. Mark Melancon

A sleeper pick to win the NL Cy Young Award this season is Cole. After a relatively slow start to his MLB career, Cole turned into an ace down the stretch for the Pirates. A key for the Bucs in the 2014 season will be the status of Rodriguez. If Rodriguez is healthy, it will be a huge boost for the Pirates.

Top 5 Newcomers

Pittsburgh Pirates Chris Dickerson
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Top 5 Newcomers

Pittsburgh Pirates Chris Dickerson
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

1. Chris Stewart
2. Travis Ishikawa
3. Chris McGuiness
4. Chris Dickerson
5. Edinson Volquez

Like I said, the Pirates had a quiet offseason. Actually, quiet isn't the right word. How about non-existent? That seems much more accurate. Stewart was brought in to be the backup catcher, but he'll start the season on the disabled list. Volquez will start the season as the fifth starter until he inevitably gets released in May.

Top 5 Prospects

Pittsburgh Pirates Gregory Polanco
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Top 5 Prospects

Pittsburgh Pirates Gregory Polanco
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

1. Gregory Polanco
2. Jameson Taillon
3. Tyler Glasnow
4. Austin Meadows
5. Nick Kingham

The Pirates' farm system is loaded. Despite the depth in the system, don't look for many prospects to contribute in 2014. Other than Polanco and Taillon, most of the prospects are at least a year away from debuting in MLB. Polanco is a five-tool athlete with great plate discipline, and Taillon is a workhorse on the mound with a great curveball.

Season Prediction

PNC Park Pittsburgh Pirates
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Season Prediction

PNC Park Pittsburgh Pirates
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pirates have enough talent to win most divisions, but the NL Central will be extremely difficult to win because the St. Louis Cardinals are going to be the best team in baseball. An 88-74 finish seems possible for the Bucs, as does finishing first in the Wild Card standings.