Betting Odds Show Pirates Destined For Last In NL Central Once Again

It seems like the oddsmakers are trying to tell us something. The National League Central futures show four of the five teams with odds between +225 and +350 to win the division. The fifth team, the Pittsburgh Pirates, are at +10000 to win the division. Clearly, not much is expected of them this season.

The 2019 season was one the Pittsburgh Pirates was one they would much rather forget about. Pittsburgh ended the season in the cellar of the National League Central, posting a 69-93 record, which was second-worst in the National League. While they were a Top 10 team in terms of team batting average, the Pirates were basically in the bottom half of the league in every other team statistic. Individually, only All-Star first basemen Josh Bell and closer Felipe Vazquez were able to standout. Bell was Top 10 in the NL in both homeruns (37) and RBIs (116), while Vasquez posted a 1.65 ERA and 28 saves. Besides that, there was not much to more to write home about the Pirates. What’s in store for this team in 2020?

PITTSBURGH PIRATES
TO WIN WORLD SERIES: +50000
TO WIN NL PENNANT: +8000
REGULAR SEASON WIN TOTAL: 69.5

OFFSEASON CHANGES

Sadly, Pittsburgh’s offseason was also not something that gave people a lot of optimism. The most notable move the Pirates made this winter was trading away their consensus best player in Starling Marte to the Arizona Diamondbacks for a couple of prospects. Marte had been a staple of this Pittsburgh team for seven years, hitting over .281 in every season since his rookie season. He hit .295 in 2019 and had career-highs in homeruns with 23 and RBI’s with 82, and will be missed in an already lackluster lineup. Pittsburgh’s other offseason moves included bringing in Jarrod Dyson to take Marte’s spot in center field. Dyson is a subpar hitter but will still play solid defense and steal some bases. Still, they will be feeling a hole in the outfield with Marte gone.

IF THINGS GO RIGHT…

The Pirates can push for a .500 record. They will probably still miss the playoffs but several young rising stars will continue to improve and give them hope for the future. Despite all their defeats last year, Pittsburgh did have a few youngsters looking to make more leaps in 2020. Both rookie left fielder Bryan Reynolds and rookie shortstop Kevin Newman were in the Rookie of the Year discussions after posting .312 and .308 batting averages, respectively. Colin Moran hit .277 in his first year in the bigs and was third on the team in RBI’s with 80. If there is anything the Pirates could hope for in the upcoming season, it is that these trio of young sluggers can continue to get better and make Pittsburgh a destination for talent in the coming years.

IF THINGS GO WRONG…

The Pirates could be right back in this situation next year. Pittsburgh got a bad rap after trading five-time All-Star, 2013 NL MVP, and fan-favorite Andrew McCutchen a couple seasons ago, so most aren’t pleased they basically did it again with Marte.

Beyond that, the Pirates do have some nice young pieces but if they develop as expected, this will again be a team that loses a ton of games. They seem to be determined to win by rebuilding their farm system to create young stars, but there is no telling how long that could take.

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