Rum Bunter’s 2018 Pittsburgh Pirates Preview: Marty

PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 03: Starling Marte
PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 03: Starling Marte /
6 of 7
Pittsburgh Pirates
WASHINGTON, DC – SEPTEMBER 28: Manager Clint Hurdle /

Worst Position Group

This one is a no brainer. And, unfortunately, it’s the most important part of a baseball team – the starting rotation.

As was discussed above, Jameson Taillon has the chance to become a top-10 pitcher in the National League this season. Trevor Williams is a solid middle of the rotation arm. After these two, however, the Pirate rotation goes off a cliff.

Opening Day starter Ivan Nova is a back of the rotation type pitcher. Allowing 1.15 HR/9, allowing hard contact 32.2 percent of the time, and failing to miss bats (lifetime 8.3 percent swing-and-miss rate) is not a recipe for success. Unfortunately, this is Nova’s recipe and this is why he was booted from the Yankee rotation multiple times during his tenure in New York.

Both Chad Kuhl and Joe Musgrove have good stuff, and as I talked about here Kuhl can be a real x-factor this season, but both pitchers appear to be best suited for swingmen roles in the bullpen. And Musgrove’s career results as indicate as much.

After the team’s starting five there is not much depth, either. Neither Tyler Glasnow nor Steven Brault has found a lot of success as a starter in the Major Leagues and both will start the season in the bullpen. Nick Kingham could give the rotation a nice shot in the arm in a month or two, but he remains an unknown. As are Triple-A rotation members Clay Holmes and Tyler Eppler.

In 2018 the Pittsburgh Pirates will have a lineup and bullpen capable of making the postseason. Their rotation, however, may end up being a total and complete mess.