Pittsburgh Pirates Top 25
The Pittsburgh Pirates 2016 season didn’t exactly go to plan. Finishing with a 78-83 record, many fans were disappointed in what was supposed to be an early season playoff contender. The Pirates outfield is packed to the gills with talent, and should be better on defense with Andrew McCutchen shuffling over to Left Field. Much of the 2017 outlook hinges with Cutch getting back on track to his previous elite status. While a .256/.336/.430 slash isn’t a terrible output, it was a significant drop in production for the 5-time All-Star.
The Pirates are blessed with plenty of young elite-level talent at the major league level. Gregory Polanco, Gerrit Cole, and Jameson Taillon are forming a core with McCutchen and Starling Marte that proves to put the Pirates back on the radar as 2017 playoff contenders. Last year the Pirates made a couple mid-season deals that changed the shape of the farm system slightly. Versatile outfielder Tito Polo was shipped to the Yankees along with left-handed starter Stephen Tarpley in a deal that saw Ivan Nova come back to Pittsburgh. The trade immediately looked to pay off, with Nova posting a sparking 3:52 BB:K rate in 11 starts with the Bucs last year. Many thought Polo and Tarpley were a steep price to pay for Nova, but my guess is that both teams are happy with their returns.