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2016 Recap & 2017 Outlook

On paper this is a lineup that has a lot to like, yet disappointed more times than not. The Pirates ranked 25th in ISO and 13th in wOBA. Hitting half of your games in PNC Park isn't going to create a ton of power, but this lineup severely lacks power. Andrew McCutchen's decline continued, and may be moved at some time this year. Guys like Josh Harrison, Starling Marte, and Jordy Mercer are not exactly screaming power numbers either. Josh Bell is looking to be a full-time first baseman this season, but is not a power hitting first baseman. Much of the Pirates offense will have to come through creating it on the base paths, alongside a good OBP. The pitching staff has two young arms looking to secure full-time spots this year. We had a longer look at Jamison Taillon, but Tyler Glasnow is on the horizon. His only issue is control.

Offseason Moves

Additions:

Subtractions:

Park Factors

PNC Park is a pitcher's park, ranking 25th in home runs last season, and 14th in runs. Left-handed hitters have a little bit more home run potential in PNC, while right-handed hitters struggle for power, as well as doubles. PNC actually is somewhat sneaky though when it comes to offense, especially for opposing teams. This is still a big spacious ballpark, ranking 11th in doubles, and fourth in triples last season. Teams have come in here and have had success. Opponents averaged 4.78 runs per game in PNC Park last season. Pittsburgh averaged just 4.43. In the summer, runs become a bit more neutral, as with most ballparks.

Projected Lineup

Lineup OrderPlayerPosition2016 wOBA vs. RHP2016 ISO vs. RHP2016 wOBA vs. LHP2016 ISO vs. LHP
1Josh Harrison2B.290.093.346.156
2Josh Bell1B.356.156.243.000
3Andrew McCutchenOF.332.172.315.183
4Startling MarteOF.358.155.320.101
5Gregory PolancoOF.332.200.329.224
6David Freese3B.315.125.407.207
7Francisco CervelliC.303.066.401.019
8Jordy MercerSS.290.103.357.176
9PitcherP----

2016 Statistics Used

Projected Rotation

Rotation SpotNameIPK%FIP
1Gerrit Cole11619.43.33
2Jameson Taillon10420.33.71
3Tyler Glasnow16.121.35.17
4Ivan Nova16218.64.11
5Juan Nicasio62.123.34.72

Pitching Outlook & Notes

DFS Rotation Grade: C

DFS Studs:

The Pittsburgh pitchers enjoy a top pitching coach in Ray Searage, and a friendly ballpark. The former number one pick didn't enjoy a healthy 2016 season, with right elbow issues. Gerrit Cole had a strong 2015, and was one of the better pitchers in baseball. If healthy, his strikeouts should be up from last season, and a low to mid threes ERA can follow. Cole has a solid mid 90's fastball, and an above average slider. The only thing to keep an eye on is Cole's health.

Pittsburgh traded Francisco Liriano last season, and are now hoping two of their top picks will pan out. We saw a decent sample of Jameson Taillon last season, who had a 3.43 xFIP over 104 innings. He had a pedestrian 8.3 swinging strike rate, but didn't walk many hitters. Unless Taillon improves in the strikeout department, he won't have much tournament upside. Tyler Glasnow will probably find himself in the bullpen or back in the minors this year, but the talent is there. He had a 10.8 K/9 in AAA last season and was around that mark in 2015.

Much like previous names who came into Pittsburgh to get fixed, Ivan Nova did that last season. Getting out of Yankee Stadium certainly helps too. Nova had a 3.13 xFIP in Pittsburgh, and lowered his ERA by almost two runs. One thing overlooked with Nova is he walked three batters over 64.2 innings in Pittsburgh last season. Nova should be a solid SP2 on DraftKings if you are looking to pay up elsewhere.

Lineup Outlook & Notes

DFS Stacking Grade: C

DFS Studs: Starling Marte, Gregory Polanco

The outfield features three usable guys, although Andrew McCutchen was trending in the opposite direction from the other two. The power suffered a drop off, although looking at strictly home runs you wouldn't be able to tell. His ISO has dropped about 20 points in each of two seasons. Cutch is also not a stolen base threat anymore, dropping off over the last two seasons. Cutch did have a low BABIP compared to his career norm, so average should come back up. I don't mind jumping on the rebound bandwagon for Cutch in the daily world, especially before everyone else does.

Starling Marte hit a career high in stolen bases last season, but his power regressed. If he plays a full season, Marte should hover around 15 home runs, and 30+ stolen bases again. Marte is a reliable bat, and often gets overlooked. Gregory Polanco is only 25 years old, and continues to improve. Polanco hit 22 home runs last season, and posted 27 SB as well. His increased production should continue. Polanco struggled a bit more on the road, carrying a .305 wOBA, compared to a .360 wOBA at PNC Park.

Other names in the lineup will fit in as punt values on most nights, and nothing more. Josh Bell is a young prospect at first base, but his lack of power won't make him useful at the position.



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