2015 Pittsburgh Pirates as World Series Champions, Excuse Me?
I have to admit, seeing a well-respected Baseball Writer like Buster Olney picking the Pittsburgh Pirates to win the World Series, came as a shock to me. I have been a die hard Pirates fan my entire life. This prediction is something I have waited to hear for years. But, as I sit back and think about it, I could only think that this 2015 Pittsburgh Pirates team has too many question marks heading into this season to be considered for a World Series Champion pick. In fact, the first thing that came to my mind is What is Buster Olney thinking?
While reading the news and comments on Buster’s Tweet and also here on Rumbunter, many questions come to mind instantly. My first few thoughts were echoed by this tweet:
Once again, I sat and thought – What is Buster Olney Thinking?
Can Josh Harrison repeat his .315 Batting Average while continuing to amaze us on the base paths? I also must mention that this is Josh’s first season as a Major League Third Baseman. As you may or may not recall, JayHay only started 55 games at third last season. He spent the remainder of his 143 games at the various outfield positions as well as second base and short stop. Is he ready for a full season of third base?
Replacing Russell Martin behind the plate and at bat is a huge question mark. Can his possible replacements stay healthy and contribute? Francisco Cervelli isn’t lighting the world on fire in spring training he is hitting an abysmal .167, but as fellow staffer Matt Bower pointed out yesterday, we’re talking about practice. Chris Stewart has been battling a hamstring injury which may land him an opening day starting spot on the Disabled List. Tony Sanchez has been surprisingly quiet on his twitter account @Tony26Montana, but as Jacob pointed out earlier this week, Tony is off to a red hot start. This has created quite a debate at the catcher spot, thus leaving it a big question mark.
Once again, I sat and thought What is Buster Olney Thinking?
Can Pedro Alvarez be fully relied upon as the starting first baseman? We know what Pedro is capable of doing with the bat, and many think he would be well suited for a DH type role. The elephant in the room when it comes to Pedro is his defense. As staffer Jon Anderson asked, Can Pedro Alvarez’ defense hurt the Pirates? What can we expect from Corey Hart? Yes he did homer yesterday for the first time this spring but can he fill in at first if Pedro struggles. Don’t even get me started on the possibility of seeing Andrew Lambo. Fellow Rumbunter staffer Jon Anderson has already penned an eloquent Dear John letter to Lambo. All of this leaves many questions about the First Baseman position.
Don’t forget the Jordy Mercer and Jung-Ho Kang battle that has been discussed many times. Jordy has been considered a top ten shortstop according to MLB.com. Kang will make the 25 man roster but questions remain as to how Kang will help this team.
Can we keep Andrew McCutchen, Neil Walker and others healthy this season? Does our starting pitching and bullpen continue to have success? What, if any, moves will Neil Huntington make during the season to improve the team? Do we have any prospects that may be called up and contribute immediately? I haven’t even mentioned other teams in National League that have improved heading into this season.
Barring injuries, I see the 2015 Pittsburgh Pirates being a playoff team with the potential to go deeper this season than last. Today, as I sit here and write this, I don’t see the 2015 Pirates as World Series Champions. Answer some of these questions and then maybe, just maybe, we can all witness a World Series at PNC Park this fall. Then, and only then, I will have the answer to What was Buster Olney thinking.
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