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Pirates 2024 Spring Training Preview

Paul Skenes walks to the bullpen with his gear soon after being drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Pirates have been out to sea for awhile with little hope. Is land (improvement and a winning season) finally in sight?

It has been five years since the Pittsburgh Pirates finished with a winning record and, they haven’t made the playoffs since 2015. It has certainly been a stormy past for the sailors out to sea. Last season the team showed progress, going from 62-100 in 2022 to 76-86 last year. To add 14 games again this year may be ambitious but going over .500 is not out of the question.

Or, as a friend of mine who is a Pirates fan told me, “the Pirates will do just enough to finish 4th in the NL Central. This will justify not changing personnel in the front office or the coach’s corner for another season. Rinse and repeat for 2025.” Are all Pirates fans this pessimistic?


RP Aroldis Chapman

SP Martin Perez

SP Marco Gonzales

C Yasmani Grandal

1B Randy Tellez

OF Edward Olivares

RP Brent Honeywell

RP Wily Peralta


RP Osvaldo Bido

OF Miguel Andujar

1B Alfonso Rivas

SP Angel Perdomo

Offseason Grade: B

No major additions but no major subtractions, either. To stabilize the rotation, the Pirates signed Martin Perez to a one-year, $8 million deal. Perez will need a bounce back year after being removed from the Rangers rotation last season. A trade with the Atlanta Braves has brought Marco Gonzales to Pittsburgh as well. Gonzales and the Pirates are hoping a change of scenery helps him return to his 2019 form. Gonzales underwent surgery to repair nerve damage in August. The good news is he won’t have to be nervous in Pittsburgh where expectations remain tamped down. While these deals and others helped the Pirates marginally, no offseason signing was a genuine game changer. Internal improvements will be needed to change the Pirates fortunes.

Revamped Rotation

Young arms were hung out to dry last season for the Pirates. SP Mitch Keller was a deserving All-Star for the first half of the season but then fell apart at the end of the year. SP Johan Oviedo would be a bright spot coming into 2024 but had Tommy John surgery in December. Youngster SP Luis Ortiz performed admirably last season in 10 starts. Improvements from the righty will help right the bottom end of the rotation. Top Prospect SP Paul Skenes could make his highly anticipated debut in the dog days of summer if Ortiz or SP Bailey Falter falter in their starts.

All-Stars Past, Present, and Future

The veteran foundation of this year’s Pirates team were perennial All-Stars in the 2010s. DH Andrew McCutchen and Aroldis Chapman are the two biggest names on the roster. Unfortunately, it is 2024, not 2014, so expecting a return to All-Star form for either of them is unlikely. McCutchen signed to return in December and his leadership will be invaluable. Chapman’s familiarity in the postseason will be a tremendous asset if they can make it there.

Needless to say, younger players will need to have All-Star caliber seasons to carry the Pirates. The Pirates will be banking on the Bryans. OF Bryan Reynolds was an All-Star in 2021. A return to form will be a much-needed aid, but after batting .302 in ’21, he has had two seasons batting .262 and .263. The remarkable consistency from ’22 to ’23 suggests ’21 may have been an outlier. 3B Ke’Bryan Hayes improved his average from .244 to .271 while also adding over 100 points to his slugging percentage. Another year of improvement will make Hayes a valuable asset at the hot corner.

The Oneil Hope

SS Oneil Cruz has brought a lot of hype to Pittsburgh. The fear in all Pirates minds must be if he will be traded this year, as were SP Gerrit Cole, OF Jason Bay, and Andrew McCutchen during prominent points in their careers. After fracturing his ankle in April 2023, Cruz missed the rest of the season, so a successful Pirates season begins with a healthy Cruz. This may be putting too much hope on a man with 98 career games under his belt. However, all the physical traits are there for Cruz to be a game breaker for the Pirates if he is healthy all year. At 6’7″, is he ready to meet the tall orders before him? A healthy Cruz alongside Hayes could give the Pirates one of the better left side infields in the league.

Pirates Projected Opening Day Roster

Starting Lineup

1. SS Oneil Criz

2. LF Bryan Reynolds

3. 3B Ke’Bryan Hayes

4. DH Andrew McCutchen

5. CF Jack Suwinski

6. C Yasmani Grandal

7. 1B Rowdy Tellez

8. 2B Liover Peguero

9. RF Joshua Palacios

Bench: Henry Davis, Connor Joe, Ji Hwan Bae, Edward Olivares

Starting Rotation

1. Mitch Keller

2. Martin Perez

3. Marco Gonzales

4. Luis Ortiz

5. Bailey Falter


1. David Bednar

2. Aroldis Chapman

3. Colin Holderman

4. Carmen Mlodzinski

5. Ryan Borucki

6. Dauri Moreta

7. Jose Hernandez

8. Roansy Contreras

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