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Former MLB pitcher Ryan Dempster praises Pirates for hot start

It’s simple: when you play well, you get noticed.

MLB: Chicago Cubs at St. Louis Cardinals Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Riding high with a 12-7 record in their first 19 games of the season, the Pittsburgh Pirates are drawing the attention of national media outlets.

During Wednesday’s edition of Intentional Talk on MLB Network, former MLB pitcher-turned analyst Ryan Dempster had high praise for the Pirates and their success both on and off the field, even questioning if they are the best story in baseball at the moment.

Both Dempster and co-host Siera Santos said a big factor for the Pirates’ early success is the return of Andrew McCutchen. To summarize, Dempster highlighted Cutch’s ability to bolster a struggling teammate’s attitude while also knowing how to keep players focused during the long season.

This type of attention is exactly what the Pirates need, especially after the chaotic path they’ve endured over the past few years. Bogged down by back-to-back 100-loss seasons, the news of Bryan Reynolds requesting a trade, and losing potential superstar Oneil Cruz to an ankle injury a few weeks ago, it’s a breath of fresh air to see people — especially former MLB pitchers — give the team credit.

Hearing Dempster credit the Pirates carries more weight than some may think, considering he faced them several times over his career as a member of the Chicago Cubs.

It’s also worth noting that the Pirates are garnering attention over the likes of the Tampa Bay Rays, who are 16-3 and started the year on a 13-game winning streak.

It makes the Pirates look like a serious ballclub. Maybe not a World Series contender, but definitely a team that wants to prove that they can hang with the powerhouses in the MLB.

It’s almost reminiscent of the 2012 season when the Pirates started their major turnaround.