Pittsburgh Pirates Twitter Mailbag: January 21, 2018


Welcome back to our weekly Pittsburgh Pirates Twitter mailbag here at Rum Bunter, read on to see the answers to this week’s mailbag questions

The past week has been a wild one in the world of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Since we last convened for a Twitter mailbag the team has traded away its best starting pitcher in Gerrit Cole and the face of the franchise Andrew McCutchen.

Additionally, fans have started a petition calling for Bob Nutting to sell the team and people are quite angry. Many fans are also now wondering if more trades could be on the horizon. With all of that said, let’s dive into this week’s Twitter mailbag.

After the team’s recent trades, many people are wondering if Josh Harrison will be the next to go. Not only has there been plenty of trade speculation surrounding Harrison all off-season, he also asked to be traded this past week after Gerrit Cole and Andrew McCutchen were traded away.

For these reasons, I expect Harrison to be traded at some point between now and Spring Training. Also, if the Pirates are committing to a rebuild as it appears trading Harrison for pieces to help speed up the rebuild is the logical move to make.

As for Ivan Nova, I do not expect him to go anywhere. First off, there have been zero trade rumors pertaining to Nova this off-season. Secondly, the Pirates still need to field a starting rotation this upcoming season. And finally, there is not much demand for a career number four or five starting pitcher that is set to make close to $10 million each of the next two seasons.

If the season started today, my money would be on Adam Frazier being the team’s right fielder with Jordan Luplow getting some starts against left-handed pitching. However, the season does not start today but instead in 67 days and odds are the Pirate roster will look differently in 67 days.

If/when Josh Harrison is traded then, odds are, Adam Frazier becomes the team’s starting second baseman. Even if Harrison is not moved, I expect the team to look to add another outfielder either via another trade or someone like Jarrod Dyson in free agency. This new outfielder would start in right field until Austin Meadows arrives at some point this summer.

So when the Pittsburgh Pirates tangle with the Detroit Tigers on March 29, I expect the starting right fielder to be someone who is not currently on the roster.

As currently constructed, the Pirate rotation would appear to have four pitchers locked into it. These four pitchers are Chad Kuhl, Ivan Nova, Jameson Taillon, and Trevor Williams. When Spring Training starts the Pirates will have an open competition for the final rotation spot, just as they did a year ago. Look for Joe Musgrove, Steven Brault, and Tyler Glasnow to be among the pitchers competing for this spot.

In the end, I expect that final rotation spot to go to Joe Musgrove. Not only did the Pirates just acquire Musgrove in the Gerrit Cole trade and therefore will want to give him every opportunity possible to succeed, but he is also the best pitcher of those three mentioned. It would be a surprise if Musgrove is not in the rotation when the season begins.

I am not sure on the visa process for Jung Ho Kang since he is attempting to obtain it through the Dominican Republic. But I do not expect him to play for the Pirates this season.

Austin Meadows will start the season at Triple-A. Yes, the Pirates need a right fielder but Meadows will not be the right fielder to start the season. Not only will they want to avoid Meadows becoming Super 2 eligible, but he also needs time at Triple-A for development after missing a lot of time last year due to hamstring issues.

As I mentioned above, look for Steven Brault to be given a chance to earn a spot in the Pirate rotation to start the season. However, this off-season Neal Huntington hinted at Brault being move to a relief role this season and this is where I believe Brault will end up. While I do not believe Brault will be in the Pirate rotation to start the season, I do believe he will be in the bullpen on Opening Day.

The three names that come to mind here for me are Austin Meadows and Nick Kingham, both of whom should make their Major League debut at some point in June, and Colin Moran.

Of these three players Meadows has the highest ceiling and in the long run I believe will be the best of the group, but for 2018 I’ll take Moran. Not only has Moran already faced Major League pitching, albeit in a super small sample size, he is also the more advanced hitter right now. Additionally, Moran will also be on the active roster on Opening Day while Meadows will not be.

These three players should give the Bucs an exciting core of rookies in 2018.

Next: Bryan Reynolds and launch angles

As always, thank you to everyone who contributed to this week’s mailbag with your questions. Keep an eye peeled on Twitter each week for your opportunity to ask every and any questions you have about the Pittsburgh Pirates.