It is no secret that the Pirates aren’t the most competitive team in MLB, however, this 2021 Pittsburgh Pirates side feels a bit different. There isn’t the competitiveness to win the NL Central, but they have a farm system that has some exciting names and potential breakout players in 2021.
It’s all well and good talking about how the 2021 Pittsburgh Pirates could fare in a division that has seen both the Milwaukee Brewers and the St. Louis Cardinals invest in their respective rosters, but the emphasis should be on how they develop their farm system and start integrating an exciting bunch of prospects into the MLB fold.
2021 Pittsburgh Pirates: What Happened this Off-Season?
The Pirates went down the route of trading experienced players away to gain prospects that will hopefully bring joy to Pittsburgh in the future. This started in December when they traded Josh Bell to the Washington Nationals in exchange for young pitchers Wil Crowe and Eddy Yean.
This was followed by an intriguing and exciting trade for Joe Musgrove. Out went Joe Musgrove, and in came a handful of prospects from both the San Diego Padres and the New York Mets.
The final major deal saw Jameson Taillon head to the New York Yankees. In return for this trade, they received Canaan Smith, Miguel Yajure, Roansy Contreras, and Maikol Escotto.
2021 Pittsburgh Pirates: Zero Chance of NL Central
If we are being honest there is zero chance that the Pirates even mount a serious challenge for the NL Central. Even in a weak division, other teams have made their rosters stronger to compete for the top spot.
The Pirates will be looking purely at doing the best they can, developing younger players and turning players that are currently starters into better players. There is no hiding the fact that this organization has significantly reduced its wage bill and looked at a long-term approach rather than a short-term approach.
So what are the real aspirations of 2021?
2021 Pittsburgh Pirates: Developing the Farm System
This system is led by their top prospect, Ke’Bryan Hayes. The exciting third baseman had a breakout in 2020 in a disappointing year for the Pirates. They finished 19-41, their worst record since 1952, but the emergence of Hayes softened the blow slightly. He finished with a batting average of .378, with five homers.
Other top prospects include 2020 Draftee Nick Gonzales, Oneil Cruz, Quinn Priester, and Liover Peguero. These are all talented prospects, but many of them won’t be touching the Majors roster as of yet. The future of the Pirates seems to be getting brighter, but the 2021 Pittsburgh Pirates are kind of restricted right now.
With the Minor League coming back in 2021, it will give the Pirates time to develop a lot of their talent. This should help them gain a path to the Majors, as well as giving them valuable experience playing competitive baseball.
2021 Pittsburgh Pirates: Projected Roster
SP: Steven Brault, Chad Kuhl, Tyler Anderson, Mitch Keller, JT Brubaker
Bullpen: Luis Oviedo, Carson Fulmer, David Bednar, Kyle Crick, Michael Feliz, Chris Stratton, Richard Rodriguez
Infielders: Colin Moran, Adam Frazier, Ke’Bryan Hayes, Kevin Newman, Todd Frazier
Outfielders: Bryan Reynolds, Anthony Alford, Gregory Polanco, Dustin Fowler
Catcher: Jacob Stallings
Bench: Michael Perez, Phillip Evans, Erik Gonzalez
By all means, this isn’t the strongest roster in the MLB, but there should be enough potential to at least finish with 60 wins. That would be a reasonable target, with the added emphasis on introducing prospects throughout the season.
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