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FanGraphs thinks more highly of the Pirates than Baseball Prospectus

Last week, I wrote an article about how Baseball Prospectus released its preliminary standings for the 2021 season. It saw the Pirates winning 61 games, finishing with the worst (or tied for worst) record in baseball. Now FanGraphs has released its projected standings for the upcoming Major League Baseball season and the results envision the Pirates being better than BP’s assessment — though only marginally.

Unsurprisingly, FanGraphs still has Pittsburgh finishing last in the division. But it does think more highly of the Pirates in terms of wins, concluding that the team will finish with a 65-97 record, meaning that they would avoid losing 100 games (that’s sort of a win, right?).

In addition to its record projections, the website also gives the Pirates a 0.4 percent chance to make the playoffs, which, though bad, isn’t the worst odds in the sport: The Rockies come in at 0.1 percent (presumably due mostly to their challenging division), while the Orioles pull up the rear with a 0.0 percent chance.

While the Pirates are given better playoff odds than both of those clubs, the projection is that they’ll finish with the worst record in baseball for the second consecutive year. In some cases, greatness has been borne of futility. Remember when the Nationals drafted Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper in back-to-back drafts? Washington didn’t get fully over the hump with Harper on the roster, but there was a lot of fun baseball which ultimately led to a World Series in 2019, sans Harper.

The Pirates are a long way from being where the Nationals ended up being, of course, but maybe there’s hope on the horizon. Still, enduring years of futility (maybe even shame?) just for a hope or a shot at being legitimately good is no way to live. But in the land of bridges, that’s precisely where we often find ourselves. Here’s to a year of boring games and a boatload of losses. We should all probably keep Iron City on hand this summer.