Pittsburgh Pirates: How Did My 2014 Bold Predictions Go?


May 21, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Wandy Rodriguez (51) wipes his brow in the dugout after being removed from the game against the Baltimore Orioles during the second inning at PNC Park. The Pirates won 9-8. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The short answer to my predictions for the 2014 Pittsburgh Pirates season may well be illustrated by the above photo. To say a swing and a miss would be an understatement. Here were my predictions and how they turned out.

1. Robert Andino makes the Opening Day roster- Andino never made it to the majors in 2014 and in Triple- A Indianapolis, he batted .217 with seven home runs and 42 runs batted in 455 total plate appearances. Neil Walker had a great season at second base, Jordy Mercer proved he could handle the starting role at shortstop and Josh Harrison provided an unexpected spark which made Andino an afterthought at best. Sadly this was not my biggest miss.

2. Edinson Volquez gets at least 10 wins- Well I got this one right. The Pirates revived Volquez’s career to the tune of a 13-7 season. Not many could have projected this kind of success even though pitching coach Ray Searage seems to specialize in reclamation projects. Volquez has now moved on to the Kansas City Royals.

3. Kendrys Morales ends up a Pirate- He spent 2014 with the Minnesota Twins and Seattle Mariners last season hitting .218 with eight home runs and 42 runs batted in. My logic was that the Pirates needed first base help but chose to go in a different direction. I was right that the first base production was not great but I was wrong that this was a guy who could help.

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4. Jameson Taillon gets more wins than Gerrit Cole this season- No one saw Taillon’s season ending in April with Tommy John surgery. Cole almost invalidated that because he transformed into the ace of this pitching staff. I mentioned in my PirateFest recap how Searage said Cole learned how to pitch after having some struggles and going through injuries. Now Cole does not feel the need to throw each fastball 98 miles per hour instead saving his velocity for the important pitches. Hopefully Taillon gets well soon.

5. Tony Sanchez does not make the Opening Day roster but will in 2015/start- The first half of the prediction was wrong as Sanchez made the Opening Day roster and made a positive impact at the start of the season. Sanchez defensively though needs a lot of work and was tried at first base for a brief time in the minor leagues last season. This prediction likely will be fully wrong because the Pirates seem committed to Francisco Cervelli and Chris Stewart barring injury.

6. Jose Tabata starts in right field and holds position through All-Star break- Close in terms of staying in the majors but at the end of June he was sent down. Tabata was just given an invitation to spring training and this may be his last opportunity to prove himself.

7. By season’s end Clint Barmes starts at shortstop again- Ouch.

8. Jared Hughes will not be a Pirate this season- All of these predictions with the exception of one ranged from slightly to way off. This was another miss. Hughes had his most complete season in his major league career and got a raise to the tune of a salary slightly over $1 million next season.

9. Wandy Rodriguez wins most games among starters this season- Whoops. In the words of Steve Urkel from Family Matters, “did I do that?” Next.

10. Pirates first baseman by season’s end? Andrew Lambo- The Pirates never gave Lambo a chance and unless the view him as a Garrett Jones utility type where he can play first base or right field. Lambo has shown flashes when given an opportunity, but the Pirates continue to hold him back. Nothing tells me that is going to change.

With that said, 2015 is upon us. I am afraid to make predictions but considering how bad I did for 2014, it cannot get any worse.

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