The Pittsburgh Pirates are shaping up to have one of the best starting rotations in all of baseball in 2019
During the 2018 season, somewhat surprisingly, the starting rotation wound up being a strong point for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Jameson Taillon emerged as an ace, Trevor Williams put together a great season capped off by a historically good second half, and Joe Musgrove emerged as a strong middle of the rotation arm. Additionally, the team added former Tampa Bay ace Chris Archer at the non-waiver trade deadline in July.
With these four and innings eating veteran Ivan Nova all set to return in 2019, it comes as no surprise that the Pirate rotation projects to be a strong point for the team. As a result of the rotation being the team’s strength, Will Leitch of MLB.com ranked the Pirates’ rotation the 10th best in all of baseball.
This is what Leitch had to say about the team’s rotation:
10. Pittsburgh Pirates
Jameson Taillon, Chris Archer, Trevor Williams, Ivan Nova, Joe Musgrove
Archer was the high-profile addition at the non-waiver Trade Deadline, but Taillon is the true ace of this staff, and he’s also three years younger than Archer. Don’t sleep on Williams, by the way, who actually had a lower ERA than Taillon and had a 1.38 ERA in the second half. They could probably use an upgrade on the backend, though.
You can read Leitch’s entire write up on the best rotations in baseball here.
While the Pirate rotation checked in as the 10th best in baseball, Leitch ranked it as the seventh best in the National League. This includes being the third best in the National League Central behind the Cardinals and Cubs.
The Pirate rotation is anchored by a young, budding ace in Taillon. Last season Taillon set a career high in starts (32), innings pitched (191), strikeout rate (22.8%) and fWAR (3.7). His 3.20 ERA and 3.46 FIP were career lows as well.
Taillon is backed up by a multi-time All-Star in Archer, who projects to own a 3.64 ERA, 3.54 FIP, and a 3.8 fWAR in 2019. Youngsters Williams (3.11 ERA, 3.86 FIP, 2.5 fWAR) and Musgrove (4.06 ERA, 3.59 FIP, 2.1 fWAR) are coming off career years, too.
If the Pittsburgh Pirates are going to contend for the postseason in 2019 they will need their starting rotation to pitch well. Luckily for the Pirates, they have a rotation capable of pitching to this high of a level.