Pittsburgh Pirates Mailbag: March 21, 2018

BRADENTON, FL - FEBRUARY 21: Austin Meadows
BRADENTON, FL - FEBRUARY 21: Austin Meadows /
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Welcome back to our weekly Pittsburgh Pirates mailbag here at Rum Bunter where we tackle all your Pirate related questions

It is that time of the week once again, it is time for Rum Bunter’s weekly Pittsburgh Pirates mailbag.

We are now just 8 days away from Opening Day and the start of the 2018 Major League Baseball regular season. So, there is plenty to dive into involving the Pittsburgh Pirates. Before we start, as always, a big thank you to everyone who submitted questions and participated in this week’s mailbag.

Rightfully so, Austin Meadows is a very popular top for Pirate fans right now. The team’s top osition player prospect was fantastic in Spring Training before being reassigned to minor league camp. Meadows finally looks healthy and was producing like the elite hitting prospect many people view him as.

If the Super 2 date comes and passes in June and Meadows is performing at Triple-A, his future will hinge largely on what Corey Dickerson and Gregory Polanco are doing. If both Dickerson and Polanco are producing, then I doubt Meadows gets the call. The Pirates will want him playing every day, not serving as a fourth outfielder at the Major League level.

Now, if an outfielder is not producing or gets injured then that changes things. If either of these things happen then I believe we will see Meadows this summer. Another factor is that once Meadows is promoted to the Major League level, the Pirates will want him to be in the Majors for good.

Now, if it gets to September and Meadows is still producing I believe he will earn a September call-up no matter what. That said, odds are, at some point between now and September the Pirates will need Meadows for one reason or another.

While this has not been addressed by the Pirates, I would expect Trevor Williams to start one of those two games and Chad Kuhl the other. Barring an injury to one of these two pitchers in the next week, you can probably take that to the bank.

Despite struggling against the Red Sox yesterday, you should still expect Kevin Siegrist to be on the Opening Day roster. This spring he needed to show that he is healthy more than anything and he has done just that. Also, before yesterday he had struck out seven batters while issuing zero walks in four scoreless innings of work.

It all hinges on the starting rotation. The Pirates should have one of the best bullpens in the National League to go along with a solid lineup with a lot of power, both of which are postseason worthy. However, their starting rotation could be very bad. And, unfortunately, the most important part of a baseball team is its starting rotation.

I expect the Pirates to be better than a lot of people expect this season and to be in contention into the summer. But, unless someone like Chad Kuhl or Tyler Glasnow puts it all together or the team adds starting pitching help, I do not expect the rotation to be good enough to get the 2018 Pirates to the postseason. And that is a real shame because with their bullpen and lineup average starting pitching would probably win this team enough games to compete for a Wild Card spot.

Next: Could the Pirates carry an extra pitcher to start the season?

That will do it for this week. If you ever have a question for the mailbag, make sure to submit it on Twitter and we will do our best to get to it.

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