After winning just 62 games and finishing last in the NL Central last season, the Pittsburgh Pirates immediately got to work restructuring their team. While they did a solid job bolstering their pitching staff and their lineup, did they do enough to get out of the bottom of the division?
2023 Pittsburgh Pirates Betting Preview
|MLB Future Odds||Courtesy of DraftKings as of Monday, March 13|
|Regular Season Win Total:||68.5 (Over -105 / Under -115)|
|Odds to Make the Playoffs:||Yes +1200 / No -2500|
|Odds to Win the NL Central:||+4500|
|Odds to Win the National League:||+12000|
|Odds to Win the World Series:||+25000|
If looking for a few teams that might not think the new more-balanced schedule is much of a benefit, check the NL Central where two entries (the Reds and Bucs) lost 100 games last season, another (the Cubs) had to rally just to avoid 90 losses Even the second-place Brewers played sub-.500 ball after the Fourth of July.
Losing 24 scheduled games against the Central collective is thus not necessarily good news for the Reds and Pirates, in particular. In the case of Pittsburgh, merely avoiding a third-straight 100-loss season would mark as progress, and the Bucs made something of an attempt to upgrade in free agency with Andrew McCutchen’s return to PNC Park a potential feel-good story. But it’s not 2013 anymore when McCutchen was MVP, and the average age of the key free agency adds (McCutchen, SP Rich Hill, DH Carlos Santana, and 1B Ji-Man Choi) is a sprightly 37.
Pittsburgh Pirates Offense
There is some obvious upside in 3B Ke’Bryan Hayes and the wondrous 6-7 SS, Oneil Cruz, but both are hardly finished products, still prone to excessive strikeouts (especially Cruz, with 126 in 331 at-bats last season). Misses at the play also plague star CF Bryan Reynolds,who whiffs way too much (141 strikeouts last season) as Pittsburgh struggles to develop contact hitters in a lineup that suffered almost 1,500 Ks a season ago has continued to kill many Pirates rallies before they got started the past couple of years.
Pittsburgh Pirates Pitching
Though David Bednar is a quality closer, his save chances have been limited by a staff that has mostly failed to develop any reliable starters, as the rotation will be crossing its fingers that Roansy Contreras, who has flashed some upside, can develop the consistency needed of a number one starter. Outside of him, the black-and-gold faithful are just hoping for vets like Hill and another journeyman addition, Vince Velasquez, can at least eat some innings before Derek Shelton has to risk things with his bullpen in front of Bednar.
Pittsburgh Pirates Betting Outlook
The Pirates have some prospects that should see plenty of playing time them this season. Termarr Johnson is their highest-rated prospect, but he is still in single-A ball. Other prospects to look out for include Endy Rodriguez, Luis Oritz and Quinn Priester. At least PNC Park still offers the best sightlines in MLB, and if you subscribe to MLB Extra Innings, listening to either Greg Brown or Joe Block on play-by-play is a nice way to spend a summer evening, so it’s not all bad in the Steel City. Just don’t expect a lot of wins, as it’s another “under” for us in the ‘burgh. Play the Pirates under their regular season win total, which is widely available at 68.5 at the time of posting.
2023 MLB Betting Guide
GoldSheet has teamed up with handicappers from WagerTalk and Sportsmemo to produce a 105-page MLB betting guide for the 2023 season. Check out team previews, stat logs, division odds, win totals and much more to help you prepare for the upcoming baseball season.