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Ask BD 3.0: What will the Pirates look like in September?

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MLB: Spring Training-Pittsburgh Pirates at Atlanta Braves Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Who are the starting 8 position players and who is in the starting pitching rotation after the trade deadline?

Posted by MattInMD

I’m going to cheat a little and make it September rather than August. As I said in connection with another question, I think there’s a good chance the Pirates will be at least in fringy contention in late July. It’ll surprise me if they’re big sellers at the deadline, so I’m going to assume that, at most, they trade Ivan Nova.

Also, we saw last year that Clint Hurdle waited until September before he moved on from soon-to-depart veterans (mainly John Jaso and Chris Stewart) to players with a future in Pittsburgh (Elias Diaz and Jordan Luplow). I think Jordy Mercer’s playing time will be diminished by then, although I don’t think Josh Harrison will be affected, partly because of his two option years. And I just don’t have a good feeling about Chad Kuhl or Corey Dickerson, although I hope I’m wrong. So here’s what I see happening (and, yeah, there’s some optimisim involved here, both with a couple young guys and with injuries):

C: Cervelli
1B: Bell
2B: Harrison
3B: Moran
SS: Kevin Newman
LF: Austin Meadows
CF: Marte
RF: Polanco
SP: Taillon, Williams, Musgrove, Tyler Glasnow, Mitch Keller

If the Pirates are serious in saying they want to be in contention by 2019 at the latest, they have to be looking to get players like Meadows, Newman and Keller ready to play significant roles by the start of next season. So I think what we see in September is going to be a big indicator of the team’s future direction.

Which is more likely

82+ wins or 90+ losses?

Posted by theatrain

Well, obviously now, 82+ wins.

Seriously, I never thought this was a bad team. I just have doubts whether it could exceed mediocrity. And 90+ losses is sub-mediocre.

Who is the biggest impact to the Pirates from the minors in 2018?

Meadows, Luplow, Kramer, Newman, Osuna, Moroff, Kingham, Holmes, Stallings or even the possibility of Keller. I see Tim Williams been thinking they will be aggressive with his promotions

Posted by Joey Mooney

Probably the real answer to this is, It depends on who gets hurt. A fast start in AAA and an injury to Harrison, for instance, could pave the way for Max Moroff or Kevin Kramer.

Apart from injury possibilities, the likelihood of these guys making big contributions this year is probably in inverse proportion to their long-term prospects. The two guys with the best chance of being big league starters are probably Meadows and Newman, and they both still have a lot to prove at AAA. And Nick Kingham and Clay Holmes are facing a lot of competition. The guy who probably has the best chance of making a bit impact this year, oddly enough, may be Jacob Stallings, given what we know can happen with catchers. Or possibly Jose Osuna, whom Hurdle really seems to like and who, we all thought, would probably be up soon. Of course, the team’s early bullpen problems isn’t going to help him.

As for Keller, he’s just really good, but aggressive promotions still won’t get him to the bigs before September, so his impact this year will be limited.