Are the Buccos Legit?


Pirates players celebrate after a win. Photo Credit: AP/Gene J. Puskar

The Pittsburgh Pirates have most definitely seen better days. Ever since the Buccos traded Andrew McCutchen, they have not won more than 70 games, and since 2015, the year they won 98 games, they had a winning season exactly one time, in 2018. Additionally, coming off back-to-back 100 loss seasons, following a 19-41 (.317) covid season, the Pirates have built the same reputation as perhaps the worst team in baseball. Poor management, and one of the worst trades of all time are responsible for the Pirates being extremely bad. However, are those days behind us?

The Pirates started off RED HOT, after winning 7 in a row, starting 16-7 this season, first place in the NL, and the best start to a season since 1992, things are looking upward. 

And right now, the Buccos have also been doing all this without arguably their best player, Oneil Cruz, who is out until August with a broken ankle.

The fun doesn’t end with the Young Bucs, as the Pirates brought in loads of veteran talent over the off season as well. A great balance of a young talented core, with the aid of lots of veteran knowledge, this Pirates team has a chance of being quite decent. With the addition of a 3rd wild card spot, don’t be surprised if the Pirates find a way in.

As it seems every year, the Pirates pitching seems like it could be a liability. A good chunk of the bullpen is pretty unknown, aside from hometown hero David Bednar, but despite all of that, the Pirates bullpen has been amazing, and has only blown 1 game and has not really been needed due to the incredible performances by the starters.

The rotation, consisting of Mitch Keller, Rich Hill, Vince Velazquez, Johan Oviedo, and Rosny Contreras. Would you be surprised if I told you that Roansy Contreras, the Pirates future ace, has been “Struggling” the most. A string of eleven, yes eleven, quality starts, meaning 6 innings, letting up less than 3 runs and 6 innings, came to an end only because Rich Hill threw 5 innings letting up 1 run. Even if it wasn’t “quality” per the rule book, it was still solid. The very next day, Vince Velazquez threw 7 innings of shutout ball.

Whether or not this is going to stay consistent, it is something to enjoy while it lasts. It is hard to trust the management of the team, for all we know, the Pirates could be 20 games below .500, with all their star players on a different team come August. Despite the history of the Pirates cheaping out on players like Gerritt Cole, Jameson Taillon, Tyler Glassnow, Austin Meadows, Josh Bell, Adam Frazier, and just about any other decently good player that has come through Pittsburgh, there is hope to believe it is different this year. The Pirates have spent more money than normal lately, last year, signing Ke’Bryan Hayes to a 8 year deal, and signing established veterans this year like Hill, Velazquez, Cutch, Ji Man Choi, Connor Joe, Carlos Santana, and Austin Hedges. All of which have made a tremendous impact either offensively or, in Hedges’ case, defensively.

The next big thing the Pirates have is the Young Bucs. So many very talented player have already showed off their talent, like Ji Hwan Bae, who hit a walkoff 3 run homerun against Houston, and has been Gold Glove caliber in the field, Jack Suwinski, who absolutely rakes righties, and has even been working walks. Tucapita Marcano and Rodolpho Castro, who showed off their hitting power last season, and of course Oniel Cruz, Bryan Reynolds and Hayes, who deserve all the money the Pirates are willing to give them.

The moral of the story is, this team is legit. Many people see that it’s the Pirates and say it is a fluke, but put this exact team in a different uniform and people don’t bat an eye. The stigma of the Pirates is a thing, as they have been terrible since the 90s. However, that has to end at some point.