2019 MLB Draft review

Before we get into the first-round picks of the MLB Draft, I’ll give a short overview of the entire thing. Three out of the first six picks were high school students. A catcher was taken first overall for the first time since 2003. A lot of these picks probably won’t have any real effect in the MLB for quite a while.

Finally, maybe the best thing about this draft, is that the Toronto Blue Jays drafted Braden Holladay, Roy Halladay’s son, in the 32nd round, because his late father wore number 32 while with the team. Braden has elected to still fulfill his commitment to Penn State University, but it was still a nice gesture by the Blue Jays.

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Progressive Field, hours before Game 1 of the 2016 World Series.” by Arturo Pardavila III is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Okay, now let’s get into the first-round of the MLB Draft.

Top Five

With the first pick in the draft, the Baltimore Orioles drafted Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman. Now, while I do love this pick and it was the obvious choice, it’s going to be interesting to see what the Orioles do with Rutschman over the next couple years. They have a lot of depth at the catcher position. Pedro Severino and Chance Sisco are the two catchers on the main roster currently. While Austin Wynns isn’t currently on the active roster, he’s going to be a good catcher for the Orioles’ organization going forward if they choose to keep him.

Bobby Witt Jr. is also a pick I love by the Royals. Yes, they have Adalberto Mondesi as their current MLB shortstop, and he’s only 23, but at that same time, Witt Jr. is being regarded as the best shortstop since Alex Rodriguez in 1993. I don’t really see it taking long for Witt Jr. to make it to this big-league roster and having an immediate impact. This kid can do it all. Even though he just graduated from high school, he may be the best player in this draft, other than the number one overall pick, which is why it’s perfect Witt Jr. went second. 

With the third pick, the Chicago White Sox made history by picking first basemen Andrew Vaughn. Vaughn is the first right-handed hitting and throwing first basemen to be drafted in the top five picks of the draft. Jose Abreu is the White Sox’ current All-Star first basemen, so this pick is kind of confusing to me, because Vaughn would almost be better as just a DH. He can field, obviously he got drafted third in the MLB draft, but his hitting is what really will drive him to the majors someday.

 I absolutely love J.J. Bleday to the Miami Marlins with the fourth pick. This a player who I could see being the first one to make the majors out of this draft, just because of the team he’s now on. The Marlins need help. They’re in a total rebuild and have no real stars on that team. Bleday has been a star at Vanderbilt for a few years now, and that’s a college that has consistently been good for many years. The only thing missing from his game is having lighting quick speed, but other than that, he’s going to be a great player for many years.

Riley Greene is young, and also the second high school player taken in this draft. Being an outfielder getting drafted this high is always considered to be a good thing, because there is such a big need for outfielders. With him being in Detroit, he probably won’t make the majors for four to five years. His batting will more than likely carry him because of how quick his swing is, and he’s still growing into his power. Overall, this a good pick by the Tigers.

I went into deatil with the top five picks, for the rest if just going to be saying whether it was a good pick just because there is so many players to analyze.

 

Picks six through 32

6: Padres: SS C.J. Abrams– This is a great pick. Looking to the future, you could pair him with Manny Machado on the left side of the infield.

7: Reds: LHP Nick Lodolo- Great pick by the Reds, as he is the top pitching prospect in the draft.

8: Rangers: 3B Josh Jung- Jung is not very good on the base paths in terms of his speed, but he’s very athletic and has a great bat. With Adrian Beltre just retiring, Jung could surprise people and be the Rangers’ first basemen of the future. This is a good pick.

9: Braves: C Shea Langeliers- I like this pick, but I don’t love it if I’m going to be honest. He is probably the best defensive catcher in the draft. Hopefully he can recover from the broken hamate bone. I can see him being in the majors in about five years.

10: Giants: OF Hunter Bishop- I love this pick by the Giants. I’m surprised Bishop fell all the way to 10. In my opinion, Bishop is the best outfielder in the draft.

11: Blue Jays: RHP Alek Manoah- Manoah needs to work on his delivery and control consistency, but with his 6’6” 260 pound frame, he has the potential to dominate. The Blue Jays certainly would benefit from some more bullpen arms.

12: Mets: 3B Brett Baty- I’m skeptical about this pick because of his field instincts and range. His defense is something that needs to be worked on, but his offense is very good.

13: Twins: SS Keoni Cavaco- My thoughts on this pick are pending on whether he fulfills his commitment to San Diego State to attend college and work on his game.

14: Phillies: SS Bryson Stott- This is a great pick by the Phillies because Stott is probably the best college middle infielder out of the draft class. His versatility will allow him to be valuable for many years.

15: Angels: SS Will Wilson- This is an okay pick. Not a great one, but it works. He could eventually flow nicely with Simmons, depending on if he makes the majors, although it would probably benefit his career to move to second base.

16: Diamondbacks: OF Corbin Carroll- Again, my thoughts on this pick are pending on his commitment to UCLA.

17: Nationals: RHP Jackson Rutledge- I love this pick by the Nationals. I see Rutledge making his way through the farm system very quick.

18: Pirates: RHP Quinn Priester- Once again, a great high schooler taken in the first-round. Priester is committed to Texas Christian University.

19: Cardinals: LHP Zack Thompson- This pick is both risky and questionable. Thompson has had a history with injuries since high school.

20: Mariners: RHP George Kirby- This is a great pick by the Mariners. Kirby will be a mainstream in rotations for a while once he makes it to the show.

21: Braves: SS Braden Shewmake- For their second pick in the draft, this was a safe pick, but a good one at that. He will eventually be a good utility player if I had to guess.

22: Rays: SS Greg Jones- This a good pick because he will turn out to be a long-term lead off hitter and will be very dangerous on the base paths.

23: Rockies: 1B Michael Toglia- I’m not sure I really like this pick, just because his contact concerns me.

24: Indians: RHP Daniel Espino- Really like this pick by the Indians because he has so much versatility. Drafted as a reliever, but could very well turn into a starter.

25: Dodgers: Kody Hoese- Great pick for a future star at the hot corner. He has clear power and doesn’t strike out very much.

26: Diamondbacks: LHP Blake Walston- This is a great pick by the Diamondbacks. I really love this pick, because out of high school this kid is throwing a fastball in the low 90’s. He is quickly going to turn into one of the better prospects.

27: Cubs: RHP Ryan Jensen- This is a great pick. As long as Jensen works on his changeup and slider, he will easily make his way through the farm system.

28: Brewers: LHP Ethan Small- Small is still working on development form Tommy John surgery a few years ago, so that makes this a good, but risky pick because he’s so young.

29: Athletics: SS Logan Davidson- Going to be honest, I don’t like this pick. Yes, it was a late first round pick and he can switch hit, but he struggles very badly with hitting when it comes to using a wood bat. He has a lot of his game that needs to develop.

30: SS Anthony Volpe- This is an okay pick. Not a great one, but an okay one because of how many young players the Yankees have. He’s a high schooler, so he will probably go to college.

31: Dodgers: 2B Michael Busch- This is a confusing pick because the Dodgers are a National League team. Busch would work better as DH, because he’s not a very good fielder, but can hit very well.

32: Astros: C Korey Lee- This is a good pick and I like it. He only needs to work on developing his swing and miss rate. Other than that, he is a good defender who can hit.

2019 MLB predictions preview: AL Central

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Cleveland Indians by Keith Allison is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

1. Cleveland Indians

Record: 97-71
Postseason Result: Lost to Houston Astros in the AL Division Series.
Offseason Acquisitions: Traded for Max Moroff from Pittsburgh Pirates, traded for Jake Bauers from Tampa Bay Rays, traded for Jordan Luplow from Pittsburgh Pirates, Walker Locket traded from San Diego Padres, traded for Carlos Santana from Seattle Mariners, traded for Kevin Plawecki from New York Mets, and traded for Nick Wittgren from Miami Marlins.
Offseason Departures: Mike Freeman, Trayce Thompson, James Hoyt, Anthony Gose, Brooks Pounders, Brandon Barnes, Matt Joyce, Dioner Navarro, Ryan Flaherty, Alex Wilson, Ben Taylor, Yu Chang, Corey Anderson, Carlos Gonzalez, Oscar Mercado and Justin Grimm signed with Minors, Mike Napoli retired.
2019 PREVIEW/THE BIG QUESTION: It’s given that Cleveland will more likely than not top this division, again, for the fourth consecutive time. The main eyes should be facing the playoffs after, as Cleveland hasn’t won a World Series since 1948. However, it will be even more difficult than last season for them to do so. Despite the signings during the offseason, shortstop Francisco Lindor will be missed in the beginning due to a strained calf injury. Despite the setbacks, this team will still likely beat out any competition in their division to seal a playoff spot. But this team’s waited long enough for a World Series appearance, therefore, can Cleveland bring the title home?
Prediction: 90-72

 

2. Detroit Tigers

Record: 64-98
Postseason Result: Nice try.
Offseason Acquisitions: Signed Shane Greene from New York Yankees, Matthew Boyd from Toronto Blue Jays, Kaleb Cowart from Seattle Mariners and Josh Harrison from Pittsburgh Pirates.
Offseason Departures: Assigned Casey Mize to Minors, Optioned Dawel Lugo, Eduardo Jimenez, Matt Hall, Sandy Baez, Franklin Perez, Willie Castro, Sergio Alcantara and Victor Reyes to Minors.
2019 PREVIEW/THE BIG QUESTION: For the last two seasons, the Tigers have lost 98 games each, and they’ll be hoping to turn that around. The signings of Josh Harrison and Jordy Mercer will definitely help, but they will need more. Detroit will need to look towards good performances from Nicholas Castellano and Jeimer Candelario for support. However, if anything happens to the two of them, it’s gonna be a long season for Detroit. But can Detroit utilize these players and push for second in the division?

Prediction: 63-97

 

3. Minnesota Twins

Record: 78-84
Postseason Result: Not last season, better luck this time around.
Offseason Acquisitions: Signed Nelson Cruz from Seattle Mariners, Blake Parker from Los Angeles Angels, traded for Daniel Ozoria from Los Angeles Angels, signed Martín Pérez from Texas Rangers and signed Marwin González from Houston Astros.
Offseason Departures: Dario Alvarez, Mike Olt, D.J. Baxendale, Jordany Valdespin, Wilin Rosario, Pat Dean, Kevin Comer, Adam Atkins, Lucas Duda, Adam Rosales and Tomas Telis signed with Minors, traded Zack Granite to Texas Rangers, optioned Andrew Vazquez, Kohl Stewart, Stephen Gonsalves, Nick Gordon, LaMonte Wader Jr., Luis Arraez, Zack Littell, Tyler Duffey and Lewis Thorpe to minors, released Lucas Duda.
2019 PREVIEW/THE BIG QUESTION: The Minnesota Twins have had a wonderful offseason. The most eye-catching player this season for them has to be Byon Buxton. He’s known as ‘the fastest man in baseball’. According to SBNation, he had the best defense in the league, hitting .300/.357/.546 by the latter end of the season. The Twins can also benefit from the services of Logan Morrison and Lance Lynn to stabilize the lineup. Ervin Santana and Jose Berrios. Even though Satana’s got a finger injury to deal with, Jake Odorizzi is an upgrade from last year, so the Twins should be optimistic. Despite it being a long stretch, can Minnesota dethrone Cleveland at the top of the division?
Prediction: 80-82

 

4. Kansas City Royals

Record: 58-104
Postseason Result: Is this question necessary?
Offseason Acquisitions: Signed Brad Boxberger and Jake Diekman from Arizona Diamondbacks, signed Jorge Lopez from Milwaukee Brewers and signed Martin Maldonado from Houston Astros.
Offseason Departures: Assigned Cheslor Cuthbert to Omaha, optioned Arnaldo Hernandez, Ben Lively, Jake Newberry, Josh Staumont, Scott Blewett, Kelvin Gutierrez, Glenn Sparkman, Brett Philips and Jorge Bonifacio to Omaha, assigned Jake Kalish, Andres Machado, Foster Griffin, MJ Melendez, Sebastian Rivero and Samir Duenez to Minor League, traded Jason Adam to Toronto Blue Jays.
2019 PREVIEW/THE BIG QUESTION: The Kansas City Royals didn’t sign much in this offseason nor did they intend to. According to Dayton Moore, the general manager of the team, the team is looking to develop their youth players for the future.

However, going into this season, one main player which will be key for the Royals is Danny Duffy, who’s signed a major five-year, $65 million deal. But although Duffy continues to thrive, he is injury prone, starting no more than 30 games last season. But this season is a good chance for Jorge Soler to show what he’s made of in the case of a Duffy injury.

Though it would be really tough for this young team to make the playoffs, can they outdo themselves and give their fans hope by coming third in the division?
Prediction: 70-92

 

5. Chicago White Sox

Record: 62-100
Postseason Result: Everybody has dreams.
Offseason Acquisitions: Signed Manny Bañuelos from Atlanta Braves, claimed Josh Osich from waivers off of Baltimore Orioles.
Offseason Departures: Assigned Charlie Tilson, Aaron Bummer, Carson Fulmer and Juan Minaya to Minors, Ryan Goins, D.J. Peterson, Matt Skole, Randall Delgado, Evan Marshall, Donn Roach and Brandon Guyer and Preston Tucker signed with Minors.
2019 PREVIEW/THE BIG QUESTION: Though it seems the White Sox don’t fancy winning as of late, they still like to and are surely looking for more of those this season. The main player for the White Sox will be Shortstop Tim Anderson, who will be entering his fourth season with the White Sox. On his MLS debut, he clocked a 2.8 WAR. Along with Anderson, young faces like Michael Kopech, Eloy Jimenez, Luis Robert and Dylan Cease will hopefully please the fans.

This team is nowhere near settled like the others in this division, but there’s no reason the White Sox can’t improve upon last season. Last season, the White Sox won 62 games, consider 70 as excellent improvement. Can Anderson and co. lead the White Sox to an improved 70 wins or more?
Prediction: 70-92

 

Predicted Division Standings:

Cleveland Indians

Minnesota Twins

Detroit Tigers

Kansas City Royals

Chicago White Sox

 

Mount Rushmore: American League Central

00440_n_12ag9rg4vb0449” by clare_and_ben is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Chicago White Sox

  • Frank Thomas, 1B/DH, 1990-2005
  • Nellie Fox, 2B, 1950-1963
  • Minnie Miñoso, LF/3B, 1951-1957, 1960-1961, 1964, 1976, 1980
  • Luke Appling, SS/3B 1930-1943, 1945-1950

An imposing figure at 6’5″, 240 pounds, Frank Thomas (a/k/a The Big Hurt) seemed to clobber the ball every time he connected on his 2,468 career hits, most of which came as a member of the White Sox. But he also had a keen eye, leading the league in walks and on-base percentage four times. The two-time MVP gained a World Series ring his last year with the club despite having only played in 34 games that season.

Fox, seven inches shorter and 80 pounds lighter than Thomas, went to the All-Star game 15 times during his 19-year career while winning the MVP in 1959 and earning three Gold Gloves between 1957 and 1960.

Minnie Miñoso won just as many Gold Gloves as Fox while heading to the All-Star Game nine times. The lifetime .298 hitter also appeared in several White Sox games at the age of 50–and then again at 54! He’d finish his career with 50.5 WAR and four Top 5 finishes for MVP.

Playing his entire 20-year career with the White Sox, Appling, a Hall of Famer, won two batting titles on his way to seven All-Star Games. For his career, he hit only 45 home runs, but his career WAR was 74.4. He finished with a career slash line of .310/.399/.398 for a .798 OPS. Not bad for a guy whose career high in home runs was eight.

 

Jim Thome” by Erik Drost is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Cleveland Indians

  • Larry Doby, CF, 1947-1955, 1958
  • Jim Thome, 1B/DH/3B, 1991-2002, 2011
  • Bob Feller, SP, 1936-1941, 1945-1956
  • Tris Speaker, CF, 1916-1926

The American League’s first African-American ballplayer, Doby, in his first full season in the pros, helped the Indians win their most recent World Series–in 1948. He’d go on to play in seven All-Star Games while leading the league in nine different offensive categories over the years, including winning 2/3 of the Triple Crown in 1954.

Thome, a fellow Hall of Famer, hit 337 of his career 612 home runs as a member of the Indians. Overall, the hefty lefty earned a WAR of 48 while in Cleveland. The five-time All-Star would also go to two World Series with the Indians, both of which they lost.

Debuting at age 17, Feller went 5-3 with a 3.34 ERA and 76 strikeouts over 62 frames in 1936. Overall, he finished with 266 career wins (all with Cleveland) while playing in eight All-Star Games. He won at least 20 games six different times in his career. In 1940, he won the “Pitcher’s Triple Crown,” leading the AL in wins (27), ERA (2.71), and strikeouts (261). Now consider this: he missed three seasons, when he was 23, 24, and 25, due to military service. What might he have accomplished with those three seasons? Regardless, Feller’s one of the best pitchers to have ever played the game.

Finally, Speaker is another exclusion to my rule of leaving out players from the Dead-ball Era. He was just too good. In 11 seasons with Cleveland, he had a .965 OPS despite averaging less than seven home runs per season. A member of Cleveland’s 1920 World Series championship team, he was a doubles-machine (no one’s hit more than his career 792) who hit over .380 three different times.

 

Justin Verlander” by Keith Allison is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Detroit Tigers

  • Al Kaline, RF/1B, 1953-1974
  • Justin Verlander, SP, 2005-2017
  • Hal Newhouser, SP, 1939-1953
  • Ty Cobb, CF, 1905-1926

Kaline finished with just over 3,000 hits, a .297 career batting average and a WAR of 92.8. Though he never won the MVP, he was part of the club that won the 1968 World Series. Plus, he won 10 Gold Gloves, appeared in 18 All-Star Games and won the 1955 batting title–when he was 20.

Still playing today for the Astros, Verlander helped rise the Tigers franchise from the dead. In his rookie season, he helped Detroit win the American League Pennant. His Tigers teams would make the playoffs five times. Overall, Verlander–who won the Rookie of the Year in 2006 and who captured both the Cy Young and MVP in 2011–won 183 games for Detroit. A durable starter, he’d also make six All-Star teams during his tenure.

Newhouser, however, was a southpaw, and he did win a World Series with Detroit–back in 1945. During the course of his career, Newhouser won 207 games with a 3.07 ERA, good enough for 63.3 WAR, 59.4 of which came with Detroit. He won back-to-back MVPs in 1944 and 1945.

Ah, the most famous Tiger of them all–Ty Cobb. Not a very good person. Probably a horrible person, from all accounts. But an incredible ballplayer. He led the league in runs scored five times, hits seven times, doubles three times, triples four times, home runs once (with 9 in 1909, the year in which he won the Triple Crown), RBIs four times, stolen bases six times, on-base percentage seven times, slugging percentage eight times, OPS 10 times and total bases six times while winning 12 batting titles. Incredibly, he won the MVP only once, in 1911. In the most glaring lowlight of his on-field performance, his Tigers reached the World Series three times–and lost every time.

 

Alex Gordon” by Minda Haas Kuhlmann is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Kansas City Royals

  • George Brett, 3B/1B, 1973-1983
  • Bret Saberhagen, SP, 1984-1991
  • Amos Otis, CF, 1970-1983
  • Alex Gordon, 3B/LF, 2007-Present

Brett was by far the easiest choice here, as he’s the only player enshrined in Cooperstown as a Royal. Part of the Royals’ first World Series championship team in 1985, Brett collected more than 3,000 hits, including 317 home runs. The 13-time All-Star won the 1980 MVP, won one Gold Glove and collected three Silver Sluggers. For his career, he slashed .305/.369/.487.

In eight seasons with the Royals, Saberhagen won two Cy Young Awards, in 1985 and 1989. He was also named the 1985 World Series MVP after throwing two complete games (one a shutout) for a 2-0 record and a 0.50 ERA. His importance to the Royals goes beyond his career win-loss record. An important cog in some of the team’s first glories, Saberhagen pitched another eight seasons after leaving Kansas City, but never was the same type of pitcher.

The last two spots really came down to ten players. Among the notable misses: Kevin Appier, Dan Quisenberry, Frank White, Salvador Perez, Willie Wilson and Bo Jackson.

Otis is the only one of four players selected who wasn’t on either the 1985 or 2015 World Series championship teams. But he made five All-Star Games and won three Gold Gloves with the Royals. In his 14 seasons in Kansas City, he totaled 44.8 WAR. While he hit for power, his true value came on the basepaths and in the field.

Gordon is entering the last year of his contract with the Royals. He’s had a star-crossed career: drafted early, praised as a moribund franchise’s savior, then labeled a bust, he re-made himself as a Gold Glove outfielder with a rifle for an arm. His bat’s regressed after 2015, but played key roles in both 2014 (when the Royals lost the World Series) and 2015 (when they won it all). Perhaps more importantly, he stuck around, and will most likely finish his career having only played for the Royals–just like Bret.

 

Kirby Puckett Statue at Target Field” by Jeramey Jannene is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Washington Senators/Minnesota Twins

  • Harmon Killebrew, 1B/3B/LF, 1954-1974
  • Rod Carew, 1B/2B, 1967-1978
  • Kirby Puckett, CF, 1984-1995
  • Walter Johnson, SP, 1907-1927

The Killer played for both the Washington Senators and then the Minnesota Twins, after the franchise re-located prior to the 1961 season. He hit all but 14 of his 573 career home runs as a member of the Senators/Twins en route to 13 All-Star Game appearances that included the 1969 MVP. He helped the Twins reach the 1965 World Series, which they lost in seven games. Overall, as a member of the Senators/Twins, he slashed .258/.378/.514 for an .892 OPS.

The first half of Carew’s career came in Minnesota, where he won the 1977 MVP while making 12 All-Star Games. He won Rookie of the Year in 1967 and went on to win seven batting titles, all while a member of the Twins. He collected over 3,000 hits in his career with over 2,000 of them coming as Twin. In his 12 seasons in Minnesota, he slashed .334/.393/.448.

Man, Puckett was great, and he could have been so much better had his career not tragically ended. But before that unfortunate ending, Puckett led the Twins to a World Series title in 1987. The Hall of Famer reached 10 All-Star Games, won six Gold Gloves and six Silver Sluggers. In 1991, he won the ALCS MVP. In 1989, he won a batting title.

Lastly, there’s Walter Johnson, who won 417 games with the Senators in his 21-year career, all with the Senators. He won two MVP awards in that time while winning 20 or more games 12 times and twice winning 30 or more games. Of the 666 career games he started, he completed 531 of them, including 110 shutouts. Overall, he had 3,509 career strikeouts with a 2.17 ERA and a 1.061 WHIP. His only World Series title came in 1924 when he won his second career MVP. He was 36.

What to Make of the Pirates Hot Start

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Felipe Rivero by Keith Allison is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

BY JUSTABOYANDHISBLOG

The 2018 season symbolizes a new era of Pirates baseball. In the offseason they traded franchise icon, Andrew McCutchen to the Giants and ace Gerrit Cole to the Astros. These moves made it seem as if the Pirates were beginning another rebuild. The Pirates made three straight playoff appearances from 2013-2015. Since 2015, they haven’t made the playoffs or had a winning record. Through six games this year they’re 5-1, which has had some wondering if they could finish above .500 this year. A lot of things have to go right for that to happen, but it’s not impossible. This season’s first six games has shown what this team will need to do to shock the baseball world.

Many people don’t see the Pirates as playoffs contenders because of their pitching staff. Their rotation is lead by Ivan Nova, who is the only starter with more than three years of MLB experience. Their number two pitcher is Jameson Taillon, who has ace stuff, but last year was his first season in the majors. The rest of the Pirates rotation consists of Trevor Williams, Chad Kuhl and Joe Musgrove. Like Taillon, both Williams and Kuhl have one year of MLB experience. In order for this team to make a playoff run they’ll need these pitchers to surpass expectations. They’ll also need them to pitch deep into games, as Trevor Williams was the only starter through their first six games to go six innings.

The performance of the starters is key because the Pirates have a very young and inexperienced bullpen. They have one of the best closers and young arms in baseball in Felipe Rivero. Outside of Rivero, George Kontos is the only other bullpen arm who has had success in the majors. The bullpen will be a big factor in whether or not this team surprises people, as early on they have struggled.

With a full healthy season from both Gregory Polanco and Starling Marte, the Pirates offense should be much better. Their biggest offseason acquisition, Corey Dickerson, is a good replacement for McCutchen. The offense should keep this team competitive on a nightly basis. The pitching will determine how far this team will go. The National league central is one of the most competitive divisions in baseball and only got better in the offseason. The Brewers added Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain to improve their offense. The Cardinals added power with the acquisition of Marcell Ozuna. Facing these teams will show if the Pirates can exceed expectations or not.

So far this season the Pirates have played the Tigers, Twins, and Reds. Both the Tigers and Reds are not supposed to be playoff teams this year. The Twins could be, as their young talent and their improved rotation could make them surprised contenders. Through six games, the Pirates have shown they have what it takes to be a competitive team. The real test will come when they play teams expected to be in the postseason. If the pitching can continue to keep them in games and the offense continues to hit, then this season will be one to remember for the Pirates.