The 2018 Pittsburgh Pirates showed much better than many thought they would, and the club certainly did not lack for intriguing story lines. Which was your favorite?
The 2018 Pittsburgh Pirates were an interesting bunch. From post-game dance parties to surprising trades, long-awaited breakouts to a surprise emergence or two, the team sure kept things interesting.
With a scant four games left in the season, it is not too early to discuss which story line most grabbed our attention this season. Please vote in our poll, and if we missed a worthy choice, please let us know in the comments!
What was your top story line from the 2018 Pittsburgh Pirates?
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The Hot Start
The 11-game midsummer winning streak
Gregory Polanco’s breakout
The emergence of Trevor Williams
The Pirates went for it! The Archer/Kela acquisitions
The de-emphasis on two-seamers/sinkers in favor of sliders/breaking balls
Taillon finding his next level
- The Hot Start - Did anyone expect the Pittsburgh Pirates to come out of the gates swinging? Though their 17-12 record at the end of the season’s first month may now appear modest, the club’s solid start helped set aside fan angst, at least for awhile.
- The 11 game midsummer winning streak was certainly thrilling, and catapulted the Pittsburgh Pirates back into the postseason chase. It also seemingly forced GM Neal Huntington’s hand into making some big moves.
- However, perhaps none of that would have been possible without Gregory Polanco’s breakout. Sure, El Coffee has had good seasons in the past, most notably his 22 home run 2016. But none saw the all-around production that Polanco showed since making an adjustment in backing off of the plate.
- How about Trevor Williams’ emergence? At this point, what more can be said about Williams’ 2018 season? Not much, but BD’s own Alex Stumpf had a fun piece recently about the potential of Williams and Jameson Taillon as a 1-2 punch.
- Hey, remember when the Pittsburgh Pirates actually went for it, acquiring Chris Archer and Keone Kela? What previously was thought of as unthinkable finally happened, and though it took awhile, the club is now seeing the Archer they have lusted after for years. And if Archer or another Pirates starter should stumble, the addition of a serious bullpen arm in Kela just further bolsters what was already a stout insurance policy against ineffectiveness.
- For a pitching enthusiast like me, the most intriguing story line from 2018 involved the club starting to de-empahsize quick outs and two-seamers/sinkers from their starting pitchers in favor of more breaking pitches and strikeouts. Perhaps the club had to be dragged away — kicking and screaming — from its tried and true approach; Perhaps the new voice at the table in assistant pitching coach Justin Meccage had more of an impact than we thought, but it happened. And it has opened the club up for the future in so many ways.
- Finally, Jameson Taillon found his next level, and hitters should be scared.