Will the pitching staff continue to be the backbone of the Pirates?
The Pirates rotation was a strength last season, but they’re facing a lot of turnover with the loss of Charlie Morton and JA Happ. The Bucs’ strategy is a known commodity around the MLB—pitch to contact and align the defense accordingly. They have been near the top of the league in staff ground ball rate over the past few seasons.
Although this offseason wasn’t filled with big name acquisitions for the starting staff, this is how the Pirates work. They believe their bullpen is enough of a strength that as long as those back-end starters can keep them near or in the lead, they have a good shot of winning. To some extent they’re right, but it’s a risky proposition.
Expectations are all over the place for this group. Will they excel or regress this season?
Next: Garret Cole