Pittsburgh Pirates named Baseball America’s Organization of the Year


Some accolades came the Pittsburgh Pirates’ way on Monday as the team was named Baseball America’s Organization of the Year. Previously this offseason we saw ESPN name the Pirates the best franchise in all of baseball. While ESPN’s rankings include not only on-the-field performance but many other factors, such as fan experience, prices, and the ballpark, Baseball America’s rankings focused more on how the Pirates performed in 2015, in addition to trades, signings, and the improvement of players on the field. Pirates’ fans tend to do complaining about management, ownership, and not performing in the playoffs. While these are sometimes valid complaints, it’s important to remember how great of a franchise has been built where there recently was one of the worst franchises in all of baseball.

More from Pirates News

Travis Sawchik from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review contributed a nice piece tfor Baseball America, noting multiple factors that could have contributed to this honor. For one, the Pirates won the second-most games in all of baseball last season, but that alone wouldn’t win them this honor. He notes Gerrit Cole and his development into the ace the Pirates hoped he would become when they drafted him first overall in the 2011 draft. He also notes how the team somehow managed to replace Russell Martin for a much lower price in Francisco Cervelli, how successful the acquisition of Jung Ho Kang turned out to be, and how J.A. Happ‘s performance in Pittsburgh netted him a big contract with Toronto.

The Pirates don’t have the funds of the big market teams, but they have a deep farm system and a front office that knows where to find value. They’ve done it for years in signing starting pitchers that are reclamation projects for next to nothing, and in piecing together a dynamic bullpen for cheap. And the players that they got still manage to outperform many of the players that are signed to big contracts on other teams. Sawchik notes how Cervelli had a higher WAR last season than Martin did, and we all know the value that Andrew McCutchen and Starling Marte continually return on their team-friendly contracts.

Next year, there’s a fair chance that the Pirates could take home this honor again. They hope to graduate stud pitching prospect Tyler Glasnow to the majors in 2016, and star position prospects Josh Bell, Alen Hanson, and Jameson Taillon could join him. Gregory Polanco has the ability to take the next step to becoming a star right fielder, but the team still has holes to fill. If they have another offseason of successful, low-cost signings, the Pirates could be the Organization of the Year in 2016 as well.

For more Hot Stove Talk, please subscribe to our podcast!  You can do so on an iPhone/iPad by clicking this link. Android users – Simply download the Stitcher podcast app and search for “Rum Bunter.” Kicking it old school on a desktop?  Here’s the iTunes link, or you can listen a la carte over at our SoundCloud account.