It's been a tough year -- so far. And a poll

I still believe the Pirates are an 85-win team. That was my preseason prediction, although I included a "give or take a few games" hedge into my forecast. While I doubt Jeanmar Gomez, Wandy Rodriguez and Jason Grilli will effectively produce to the degree that they did last year and whereas I know their current-year struggles have depressed the wins accumulated so far by the team, I find it easy to imagine the Pirates replacing them with capable pitchers. The trio currently has a collective fWAR of -1.3. More worrisome is Starling Marte's 32% K-rate. That's not going to get it done for a player who does not hit many homeruns. Pedro Alvarez, who does hit home runs, has an insignificant - for him! - K-rate of 20% Hopefully, El Toro will continue to put the bat on the ball and Marte will ‘improve' to match his K-rate of 2013, 24%. Incidently, Marte's BABIP is higher this year than last! He needs to put the ball into play.

Some hopeful signs: Hitters

Team BABIP: .262

League BABIP: .296

Team BB-rate: 8.5%

League BB-rate: 8.4%

Team K-rate: 20.7%

League K-rate: 20.9%

Team ISO: .148

League ISO: .141

It is clear that the BABIP God is very angry with the Pirates. His anger should abate as the season continues.

Some hopeful signs: Pitchers

Team BABIP: .293

League BABIP: .284

Team BB-rate: 2.94%

League BB-rate: 3.22%

Team K-rate: 7.24%

League K-rate: 7.99%

Team ERA/FIP/xFIP: 3.82/4.21/3.73

League ERA/FIP/xFIP: 3.76/3.76/3.76

Despite some poor outings by certain starters and relievers, Pirates pitchers have not been God awful this season. They have mostly been about average in the key metrics listed above. Yet they currently are 24th in FIP. Team pitching may have been undermined by shoddy team defense, though. The Pirates currently 22nd in team Fangraphs team defense metric, -6.3. Last year's rank, 13th at 10.9.

The team's current run differential: -4. Despite team-wide struggles at the plate, the Pirates have played nearly as well as a .500 team. Let us hope the BABIP God takes pity on us soon. If he does, I'd say we can expect improvements going forward as the Pirates field and hit better.

So, a poll:

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of the managing editor (Charlie) or SB Nation. FanPosts are written by Bucs Dugout readers.

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