Outfield alignment: I think Marte will do fine in CF, and Cutch will do fine in RF. The big question mark will be how well GP adapts to the large LF, compared to playing in the smaller RF. I think we will definitely see some misplays by GP to start the season on balls hit down the line (i.e. the ones where Marte knew if they were going to hit off the wall jutting out or keep rolling down the line). Overall though I think the shift will be beneficial, especially if the Pirates also revert to playing their OF a little deeper.
Josh Bell, Taillon: I think Bell is going to have a good first year, and provide more opportunity for Cutch's comeback in the process. I think Cutch will see more hittable pitches this year, because Kang and Bell are just as dangerous and hitting behind him. Taillon will be the best arm in the rotation.
Glasnow: I think his impact will be in the second half. Not because of Super Two or anything like that, I just think that he is going to have a slow start in the rotation. I do think his impact will be in the rotation though. I know others think it will be in relief, but if the Pirates really want this guy to reach his TOR potential, I don't see them moving him to the pen.
Nova: No, but I don't think he is going to regress all the way to who he was before the Pirates picked him up
Rivero/Hudson/Watson: No, but because I think he will cut down on the number of walks, benefitting from an offseason of working with Ray. I think Hudson is going to do well, and will be right there to take the reins from Watson or Rivero if there is a hiccup. I would love for Watson to do well, but his performance last year in the role did not inspire confidence.
Overall, I am putting a lot of stock in the fact that the Pirates do not have Niese, Liriano, Locke, and Vogey on the roster. I think they will be much stronger out of the gate because of this, and I think that the starters IP problem from last year will not hold over to this year. Also, I don't expect the Cubs staff to be nearly as good as last year. Each member of the staff was putting up career best numbers in one category or another. The season series was 4-14-1 for the Pirates, and I expect it to be more balanced this year.