Bold predictions for the 2015 Pittsburgh Pirates

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February 28, 2013; Bradenton, FL, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher

Jameson Taillon

(76) throws a pitch in the first inning against the Boston Red Sox at McKechnie Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

One of the more tantalizing prospects in the Pirates system is Jameson Taillon.  Our own tantalizing staff writer Matt Bower has this for us:

"Jameson Taillon helps the Pirates to a NL Central crown as a September call-up. David Price was called-up to the majors on September 14, 2008.  He helped the Tampa Bat Rays become the AL East champions that year, and even earned his first major league win in the ALCS against the Red Sox. I predict that top prospect Jameson Taillon will be the Pirates’ version of David Price in 2015. The 6’5’’ right-handed flame-thrower began tossing bullpen sessions in January, following Tommy John Surgery last year. After 3-4 weeks of bullpen work, he should begin to throw live batting practice and simulated games at Pirates City. The bold prediction is not just that the Pirates will win the NL Central. The team is talented enough that that prediction isn’t bold, believe it or not. When the Bucs and Cards are battling for first place, the organization will recruit a relatively fresh Taillon—who started the season late—for the grueling stretch run. His sinking 92-96 mph fastball and mortifying curve ball will be a welcome addition to a tiring starting rotation. He may not dominate, but he will show flashes of becoming a true ace in the coming years while helping the Bucs to their first division crown since 1992. If my prediction comes true, everyone in Bucco Nation owes me a beer. If I’m wrong, I’ll walk from Pittsburgh to St. Louis. Not really. Bonus off-field prediction:  Jose Tabata will get a tattoo of a neck, on his lips."

Logistically speaking, I’m not sure the neck tattoo thing will work on Tabata’s lips, even though I desperately want to see it.  By comparison, the less epic of Matt’s predictions is what I would consider to be a dream scenario for all Pirate fans:  Division contention late in the season, one of the 4-5 faces of the future getting  meaningful innings.  It’s all there.  Of all of our predictions today, I’d most like to see this one happen.  The tattoo, I mean.

We have a prediction for one of our pitchers of the future.  But what about a pitcher of the past AND present?   The Big Tuna fills us in:

"I predict that the man currently known as “BATMAN”, A.J. Burnett, will be re-energized being back in Pittsburgh and will have an inspired year of baseball.  In two years with the Pirates, Burnett’s ERA was 3.51 in 2013 and 3.30 in 2014 with a 27-22 overall record.  He hasn’t been close to those numbers outside of Pittbsurgh since 2008. In many posts during his exodus period I wrote that “AJ Burnett needs Pittsburgh more than Pittsburgh needs AJ Burnett”.  Based on both respective parties’ 2014 seasons, I believe that was upheld to be a true statement.   Burnett will thrive once again from the love he gets from the fans, the admiration he receives from his teammates, and the respect he commands from the coaching staff.  He will once again be a big fish in a small pond and he’ll perform as such.  Look for Burnett to throw a sub 4.00 ERA season with 15+ wins and 200 strikeouts, if he stays healthy."

Very reasonable expectations from Tony and he seems to agree with Brown that a re-energized Burnett will recapture most of his pre-2014 form.  The 15+ wins I don’t see happening, but he seems to be a lock for a sub-4.00 ERA.   200 strikeouts is also in play if …say it with me everyone!  “If he stays healthy.”

Next, I’ll try to live up to these guys with my own prediction.

Next: A surprising Pirate is quite the catch(er)