Well, that went pretty much as expected. About 60 wins and about 100 loses is exactly what I put in my season preview. It was a rough season, it seemed like there’s more questions than answers but we might also start to see some light at the end of the tunnel.
Outfield C-: Bryan Reynolds was clearly the best player on the team. The Pirates need to look into locking him long term, which they should try to get done before opening day 2022. Ben Gamel was claimed off waivers in May and played good enough to be a starter, which isn’t that great on this team. Yoshi Tsutsugo was brought in as a free agent and like Gamel was good enough to play for this team. Anthony Alford and Cole Tucker and some other guys not even worth mentioning. Oh and Gregory Polanco, the final player of the 2015 season remaining with the team, was let go. Overall his career with the Pirates was a huge disappointment. I mean he looked like Dave Parker but instead he looked like a confused baby giraffe out there. It’s a good lesson in not getting excited about a player before he does something exciting.
Corner IF C: The Pirates tried a bunch of guys at 1B this year like Todd Frazier and John Nogowski and Will Craig, but when it was all said and done they would have been better off with just Column Moran there all season. Unlike Will Craig, he probably would have just stepped on first. Hayes at 3B was excellent on the field, he’s probably the best fielding 3B I can remember. It would have been nice to see him hit though. It was a bit frustrating to see him not do so well with the bat, but maybe the early season injury slowed him down.
Middle IF D: Adam Frazier did well enough to leave Pittsburgh at the trade deadline. Kevin Newman I guess played shortstop well enough to not be completely horrible. Wilmer Difo played 2B and 3B a lot and he was okay. The last two games of the year had O’Neil Cruz come up and start his major league career. Michael Chavis and Hoy Park both got to start at 2B after the deadline.
Catcher B: Jacob Stallings continued to be a very good fielding catcher but his bat is not that great. He will probably continue to be the catcher until Henry Davis is ready to take over the position in a few years. Perez was a backup in every sense of the word. It would be nice to see if they can upgrade the backup for 2022.
Bench D: They had a bench in the dugout. Some guys sat on it and kept the wind from blowing it over.
Starting Pitching F+: They had a starting staff too supposedly. Tyler Anderson got the heck out of Pittsburgh at the deadline. JT Brubaker only lasted until early September before an injury took him out. Chad Kuhl was demoted to the bullpen. Will Crowe and Mitch Keller looked unimpressive. Although Keller did do better after returning from AAA. Max Kranick and Bryse Wilson got a bunch of starts. And not one starter got an ERA+ over 97. So yeah they were bad.
Relief Pitching C: In normal Pirates fashion, the relievers were either good or they were bad. Didn’t seem like there was guys who were just average. Rich Rodriguez got traded away to the Braves to help with their playoff push. Clay Holmes and Austin Davis brought actual players in return at the deadline. David Bednar and Chris Stratton both looked good and were sort of co-closers after Rich Rod left. Chasen Shreve was decent too. They also got rid of some of the garbage like Kyle Crick and Michael Feliz. But some is still here like Nick Mears, Chase De Jong, Duane Underwood JR and Trevor Cahill. None of them were impressive at all.
Manager and Coaching Staff C-: It’s hard to blame the manager when the team is this bad. Yeah, Shelton does annoying manager stuff. There’s probably a book managers all must read called "Stupid Shit We Do to Piss off Fans". However, the players never really gave up and quit trying. The coaching staff saw hitting coach Rick Eckstein exit late in the season while he oversaw the worst hitting team in baseball. Oscar Marin oversaw a pitching staff that gave up the fifth most runs in baseball.
General Manager C+: The Pirates traded away a bunch of players at the deadline. They got other players in return. I wasn’t surprised by the returns. I thought the Clay Holmes trade was fantastic until he got to the Yankees and turned in to a good pitcher. I haven’t been too impressed with the returns. At the draft they took a catcher and most outsiders consider the Pirates 2021 draft the best one out of MLB. So yeah, I guess he did okay. Obviously we won’t know for a few years.
Owner F (as in F those guys): The younger version of Mr. Burns still owns the team. Profits will be used to maintain the ski lifts at Seven Springs and they will be able to pocket the money saved by not paying Gregory Polanco anymore. All kidding aside, I find it funny people complain about payroll when the team is clearly in the middle of a rebuild. Of course we have been here before, we were told that they would be expanding payroll when the time is right. Well the time came and they didn’t really expand payroll. They didn’t make the team better either through trades or free agency.
The rest of the division:
The Brewers were really good this past year. The Cardinals made what looked like ridiculous trades and got to the playoffs by the strength of a 17 game win streak. The Reds could hit but not pitch. The Cubs traded everyone good away because "Ricketts is cheap! Sale the team!"
So with the wild card done and gone…
The NL: The Giants and Brewers go to the NLCS.
The AL: The Rays and Astros go to the ALCS.
NLCS: Brewers beat the Giants
ALCS: Rays beat the Astros.
WS: Brewers and Rays destroy the tv ratings and they cancel it after 6 games. Or the Rays win it all. Buck Bokai appears out of a Worm Hole with Jake Sisko and hits the walk off grand slam in the bottom of the 9th of game 7 for the Rays to win it 4-3.