When the baseball season started this April, many fans of the Pittsburgh Pirates believed that they would finish in last place in the league. But no one expected them to be in first place in the Central Division being ahead of the Cubs who won the World Series just a few years before. The Pirates have been investing in players in their minor league system. Which brought up starting pitcher Nick Kingham, who threw over six perfect innings on his major league debut against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Many fans were surprised to see that the Pirates were first in the division at this stage of the season, as many expected the Pirates to be towards the bottom to the standings especially since the departure of Andrew McCutchen and Gerrett Cole who were without a doubt, the backbone of the club for the last few years.
Despite their best players and role-models leaving the club in the offseason, many other players have stepped up to the plate and helped the Pirates win games. One of these players is Italo-Venezuelan catcher Francisco Cervelli who has the third-best batting average on the Pirates with a .305 average. He is also tied for the most home-runs on the team. Another player that has really helped the Pirates is Dominican Center-Fielder Starling Marte who has done surprisingly well despite missing most of last season due to violating the MLB’s substance abuse policies with performance enhancing drugs. Marte currently has six home runs and a .304 batting average.
In the next few days, the Pirates will face the Chicago White Sox in a two game interleague series. The Pirates played the Sox last week and swept them in a two game series. They will also play their first series against the San Diego Padres.
As the 2018 season goes on, the Pirates seemed to have proven that they don’t need fantastic stars to help them win games. In fact, it seems that the Pirates are doing better without McCutchen and Cole, because around this time last year, they had a losing record. So, it seems that the stars such as McCutchen and Cole might have even been weighing the Pirates down.
However, only time will tell if the Pirates are truly as good as they seem as the season heats up in the summer months.