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NL Central Preview and Review: The Pittsburgh Pirates

Jack Suwinski takes his secondary lead during a road game for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Pirates showed some improvement in 2023, and they are now a sleeper pick to contend in the NL Central.

In the unfolding narrative of the 2023 baseball season, the Pittsburgh Pirates (76-86) showcased a blend of promise and growth. Anchored by a young and talented core, the Pirates embarked on a journey defined by development and potential.

As the season commenced, April introduced the baseball world to the team’s burgeoning stars, each game a canvas upon which the future of the franchise will be painted. May and June saw the young core finding its rhythm, displaying glimpses of brilliance amid the ebbs and flows.

July provided a midsummer showcase, highlighting the progression of these emerging talents. Despite challenges in August, the youthful Pirates maintained their resilience, navigating the complexities of a major league season. September concluded the season, leaving fans with a sense of anticipation for what the talented core might achieve in the seasons to come.

Month By Month

Spring Training and March

Pittsburgh struggled in the preseason, while trying to develop young talent and build cohesiveness. The Pirates finished 9-18 in Spring Training, the second-worst record in the National League. Pittsburgh would go on to start hot in the regular season, picking up a win over the Cincinnati Reds on Opening Day. The Pirates finished 1-0 in the month of March before a dominant April.

April: An Unexpectedly Strong Start (19-9)

In a surprising twist, the Pittsburgh Pirates began the 2023 season with vigor, amassing an impressive 19-9 record in April. The young core’s dynamic performance set an optimistic tone, sparking early-season excitement and fostering hopes for an unexpectedly competitive campaign. OFs Bryan Reynolds and Jack Suwinski led a pleasantly fun team.

May: A Sharp Turn of Fortunes (8-18)

Yet May delivered a stark contrast, as the Pirates navigated a challenging month with an 8-18 record. The initial euphoria gave way to the inevitable rollercoaster nature of baseball, underscoring the team’s learning curve in this transitional phase.

June: Navigating Challenges and Embracing Growth (11-15)

As the calendar turned to June, the Pirates continued their journey, grappling with challenges and embracing growth. The young core’s resilience shone through, intermittent flashes of brilliance offering glimpses into their evolving potential with an 11-15 record.

Room for Improvement

July: Midseason Struggles and Valuable Lessons (8-16)

July unfolded as a chapter of midseason struggles, the Pirates concluding with an 8-16 record. The competitive landscape illuminated areas for improvement, providing valuable lessons for the team to address weaknesses and maintain competitiveness.

August: A Month of Strategic Adjustments (14-15)

Come August, the Pirates engaged in a month of strategic adjustments, concluding with a 14-15 record. The coaching staff and players collaborated to refine approaches, highlighting the team’s commitment to adaptability and growth in the face of evolving challenges.

September: A Strong Finish and Glimpses of the Future (14-13)

The Pirates closed the season in September with a strong finish, boasting a 14-13 record. The young core, having weathered the highs and lows of their inaugural season together, not only showcased growth but also provided glimpses of a promising future.

The 2023 Pittsburgh Pirates season unfolded as a narrative marked by unforeseen highs and challenging lows of a team in transition. April’s unexpectedly strong start fueled early-season optimism but May delivered a sharp turn. June became a pivotal chapter, as the Pirates navigated challenges. July marked midseason struggles, prompting a focused effort to address weaknesses. August saw strategic adjustments, underscoring the team’s commitment to adaptability. The season’s narrative concluded in September with a strong finish, offering tangible progress by the young core and glimpses into the future.


The Pirates stunned the baseball world with a 20-9 start to the season in March and April, providing hope for a Cinderella story. However, expectations quickly plummeted with regression in May.

Pittsburgh’s strong start provides excitement for the future, but there is still a long way to go before contending.

In a division featuring the rising Chicago Cubs and a promising young Cincinnati Reds roster, the Pirates have their work cut out for them in 2024.

Shrewd drafting cultivates hope for a bright future. Well-chosen prospects inject optimism. Development is key, molding raw talent into future stars. Each pick carries potential, a building block for sustained success. We will see if C Henry Davis becomes a star or not.

The Pirates strategically invest in youth, fostering a foundation for competitiveness. Their scouting prowess identifies diamonds in the rough, offering promise for sustained excellence.

However, a bright future hinges on effective development, as young talents mature into the core of a formidable team. The draft becomes a pivotal factor, shaping the narrative of hope for the Pirates and their quest for sustained success.

I do not see Pittsburgh making the playoffs just yet. However, a surprise growth year can speed up the rebuild.

Strong draft classes and proper development ease the burden of playing in a small market, although there is likely a ceiling with limited free agent pull.

I expect an improved record for 2024, but do not see much on the horizon. A franchise riddled with bad luck, heartbreak and suffering, the Pirates have a long way to go before contending.

Pittsburgh improves in 2024, but steers clear of postseason contention.

Prediction: Pittsburgh Pirates (80-82)

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