Opinion: Pittsburgh Pirates will be better than expected

Austin Troutman / Sports Editor

 

Major League Baseball’s offseason has been somewhat quiet, except for a small market club.

The Pittsburgh Pirates have been making a lot of noise and getting reactions from fans.

However, that reaction is not exactly positive.

Bob Nutting, owner of the Pirates, along with General Manager Neal Huntington, have traded away arguably the two best players on the team.

Those two players are former all-star Gerrit Cole, and 2013 National League Most Valuable Player award winner Andrew McCutchen.

Fans were upset with these trades, but the Pirates are going to be better than most people think.

This team is still built around a young, controllable pitching staff.

Along with some studs in the minors, the Pirates lineup does not seem all that bad as of right now.

Adam Frazier, Josh Harrison and Starling Marte highlight the top of the order, all providing ways to get on base and decent speed to create run opportunities for the guys behind them.

In the middle of the lineup, Josh Bell looks for another impressive power season following his second place Rookie of the Year finish behind Cody Bellinger of the Dodgers.

The back end of the bullpen does not look all too bad either.

Patrolling the ninth inning is flame-throwing lefty Felipe Rivero, who can be trusted in a close game.

In front of him, the Pirates can turn to the options of George Kontos, who has World Series experience, Daniel Hudson, the new man Michael Feliz or A.J. Schugel, who started to find his way in recent years with a devastating changeup.

One thing the Pirates have been good at in past seasons has been finding a way to put together good at bats off the bench, and they still have that in 2018.

Jose Osuna, Sean Rodriguez and David Freese are reliable options in a pinch-hitting role.

In a tough division, no one expects the Pirates to come close to the .500 mark.

Fans are fed up with the Nutting/Huntington regime that many do not even want to go to a game this season.

However, this team could be better than people realize if it can get rolling.

Also, we can not forget about the prospect we have been hearing about for years, Austin Meadows.

In 2009, the Pirates traded away Nate McLouth to bring up a young center fielder Andrew McCutchen, who became the face of the franchise when no one expected it.

Meadows is thrown into this situation now, and we will have to see what he can do.

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