Happy Opening Day 2023, Pittsburgh Pirates Fans!
By Marty Leap
One of the best days of each and every calendar year as Opening Day has arrived for the Pittsburgh Pirates and Major League Baseball
As the old saying goes, hope springs eternal. For the 2023 edition of the Pittsburgh Pirates there will need to be a lot of hope. Once again the Pirates are expected to finish with a losing record. Although, they are not expected to finish last in the National League Central. So, progress?
There are some legitimate reasons for optimism with the Pirates this season. Their lineup was improved in the offseason with the additions of Carlos Santana and Ji-Man Choi. The lineup will also benefit from a full season of Oneil Cruz.
Their lineup is also one that could hit for a sneaky good amount of power. Seeing the Pirates have 5+ players who hit 20+ home runs during the 2023 season would not be a surprise. Even with its other shortcomings, this would make the lineup vastly improved over 2022.
There is also the return of Andrew McCutchen. No one can deny that McCutchen is one of the best players in Pirate history. Many people, myself included, would have McCutchen on their Pirates' Mount Rushmore.
Adding McCutchen will help the team in multiple ways. First and foremost, his bat betters and lengthens the team's lineup. His presence in the clubhouse should also be a huge boost to the club this season.
While the bullpen has plenty of question marks, the Pirate starting rotation could quietly be very solid. ON paper, this is the team's best starting rotation since at least 2018. And it's a group that as highly touted prospects Mike Burrows, Luis Ortiz, and Quinn Priester in position to join and make an imapct this season.
There are other top prospects set to debut in 2023 as well. Endy Rodriguez and Henry Davis are two of the best catching prospects in baseball, and they both should reach the majors this season. Infield prospects Liover Peguero and Nick Gonzales, as well as relievers such as Colin Selby and Tanaj Thomas could all emerge wil big roles in 2023.
Baseball season is here. That's what matters. Today, hope springs eternal for the Pirates. This team should take a big step forward this season and improve their win total by 10+ victories. It's also possible that by the end of the season there is truly light at the end of the rebuilding tunnel.
No matter how it all shakes out, let's all sit back and enjoy it together. Happy baseball season! Let's go Bucs!