The USA Today Baseball Preview was given to me by my wife tonight. Unfortunately for Buccos fans, the 2014 Major League Baseball season predictions don’t show much love for Pittsburgh. Join the club, that’s been a theme all season and we trust someone is keeping the stack of doubters somewhere within eye shot of the locker room.
The special edition preview issue is packed with good information, but little good is predicted for the 2014 Pittsburgh Pirates. The USA Today Sports editors and writers lay out their predictions for the season and even Paul White has the Pirates pegged for a down year from 2013.
White was the lone national writer that showed the Bucs loves prior to their breakout season last year. But in 2014, White has the Bucs at 81-81.
Running through the predictions:
Scott Boeck has the Pirates as a National League wild card along with the Washington Nationals. Boeck has the Cards as the NL Central Champs. Boeck has the Braves and Cardinals as NLDS winners, and the Braves going to the World Series. The Rangers are Boecks’ WS champion.
Stephen Borelli, Sr. editor of Sports Weekly has the Cards as champs along with the Braves and Giants as wild card winters. (Unfortunately all the Braves picks were before arm injuries struck the Braves.) Borelli was the lone staff member to picks the Cards as WS champions.
Steve Gardener Sr. fantasy editor sees it exactly as Borelli.
Gabe Lacques Deputy editor has it the same way, but likes the Diamondbacks to join the Giants. Lacques selects Gregory Polanco as the NL rookie of the year. (Polanco was one of only two picks that didn’t include the popular Billy Hamilton prediction.)
Bob Nightengale has it the same way with Cards champs, but Braves and Diamondbacks as wild cards. (Nightengale went with Archie Bradley as ROY)
Jorge L. Ortiz has the Reds as a wild card entrant along with the Braves and the Cards as champs.
Finally Paul White picks the Cards, with the Dodgers and Reds as wild cards. The Giants are his pick to win the WS beating the Tampa Bay Rays. White selected Andrew McCutchen as the National League MVP. In the team preview, White or John Perrotto depending on how you interpret the information states the Pirates didn’t do enough in the offseason to avert slight slip that can come after breakthrough.
Whatever. Go Bucs.