Baseball Prospectus released its PECOTA projections on Wednesday, with the Pirates projected to finish 78-84 in 2018. That’s three wins better than the team’s actual 2017 finish. That puts them at fourth place in the NL Central, as expected.
The projections naturally fall towards the middle — teams usually don’t get projected for 100 wins or losses, though somebody’s going to perform well above or below expectations and reach the century mark.
Josh Bell is projected at .270/.349/.448 with 21 home runs in 634 plate appearances. Starling Marte (.277/.332/.421, 14 HR) is projected to lead Pirates with 3.1 WARP. Gregory Polanco’s projection (.254/.316/.406, 13 HR) isn’t all that rosy. Francisco Cervelli’s slugging percentage is actually projected to drop a little.
Jameson Taillon (3.51 ERA, 2.6 WARP) is, predictably, projected to lead the pitching staff. Joe Musgrove is projected at 21 starts and a 4.37 ERA, while Michael Feliz projects for a fairly promising 0.5 WARP out of the bullpen.
There’s probably more that may stick out to others, and plenty to sift through that I haven’t touched on yet, but it is a little interesting that the numbers have the Pirates at not much worse than they were in 2017, with (admittedly underperforming versions of) Gerrit Cole and Andrew McCutchen.