5. Pittsburgh Pirates
The Pittsburgh Pirates, believe it or not, finished above both the Milwaukee Brewers and the St. Louis Cardinals in terms of batting average last season. The Pirates were actually in the Top 5 of the entire league. I don’t expect a terrible drop off from the Buccos, but they didn’t do much to improve their hitting over the offseason.
The Pirates have some quality arms in the rotation, but when it comes to the batting order, there’s not a lot of feared hitters up and down the Pittsburgh lineup. Every outfielder on the team brings a fair share of pop to the order, but the Pirates’ infield doesn’t have much in the way of a productive bat.
Gregory Polanco, Starling Marte, and Corey Dickerson are all very talented hitters in the Pittsburgh lineup, but that’s about where it stops. Polanco had a bit of down year in terms of batting average (.254), but still led the Bucs in homers with 23.
Francisco Cervelli provides a nice bat as the team’s backstop and Adam Frazier is expected to excel with Josh Harrison no longer in the lineup, but the Pirates roster still seems to have a lot of holes offensively.
While Trevor Williams, Jameson Tallion, and Chris Archer provide the Pittsburgh Pirates with one of the best starting rotations in the NL Central, their offense just seems to be lacking a big time slugger. Though the Pirates lack a lot of power in the lineup, the one thing they possess is plate discipline. Pittsburgh had the fewest strikeouts in the NL last season.