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Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 13:54 PM

2020 MLB Pittsburgh Pirates World Series Odds & Picks

The Future is the Focus for
the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2020

After fielding competitive teams for most of the last decade, the Pittsburgh Pirates are set to bottom out in 2020 after finishing in last place in the NL Central last season. The Pirates dealt Starling Marte to the Arizona Diamondbacks in January as a clear sign they were rebuilding, and their $51 million payroll is $42 million less than any other team in the division.

There is a new GM (Ben Cherington) and a new manager (Derek Shelton) in the Steel City, and they will be given time to turn things around.

2020 Pittsburgh Pirates World Series
Betting Online Odds at FanDuel: +50000

Odds provided by FanDuel (IN, NJ, PA & WV only)
Subject to Change - T&C's Apply, 21+

2020 Pittsburgh Pirates Season
World Series Odds Overview

The Pirates are tied with six other teams as the clubs with the longest World Series odds. Pittsburgh is incredibly unlikely to even finish the season with 75 wins, and this team will likely flirt with 100 losses with so little proven talent on the roster. Most fans should turn their attention to the farm system and hope that some of Pittsburgh’s high-ceiling prospects pan out.

National League Central

Each of the other four teams in the division is projected to finish the season with a winning record. The Cubs and Cardinals are the two favorites to win the NL Central, and the Reds and Brewers aren’t far behind those two teams. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh has astronomical odds of +7000 to win the NL Central at FanDuel.

On the Hill

Pittsburgh is hoping to get anything out of Chris Archer after trading away burgeoning stars Austin Meadows and Tyler Glasnow for the right-hander at the 2018 trade deadline. Archer imploded last season, posting a 3-9 record with a career-high 5.19 ERA and a career-high 1.412 WHIP to match. He continues to strike out hitters at a solid rate with a 10.8 K/9 last season, but his walk rate shot up and his fastball tailed off. Archer decided to mix up his off-season training ahead of the 2020 season, and the Pirates are hoping it pays dividends.

Joe Musgrove was the Pirates’ best arm in 2019. Musgrove threw 170.1 innings in his first full season as a starter, tallying a 4.44 ERA and a 1.215 WHIP. He showed excellent control with a 2.1 BB/9 rate, and he strikes out a fair number of hitters (8.3 K/9). His slider and curveball were elite pitches last season, but he needs to tighten up his approach against lefties.

There’s nothing else to be particularly excited about in the Pirates’ rotation. Trevor Williams and Steven Brault are both below average pitchers, while Mitch Keller is still developing as a starter. Pittsburgh will use Keone Kela as its closer, and he looked sharp in relief after being acquired from Texas.

At the Plate

Slugger Josh Bell is the lone bright spot for the rebuilding Pirates in 2020.
Slugger Josh Bell is the lone bright spot for the rebuilding Pirates in 2020. (AP)

Josh Bell is the only player left on the team with elite power. Bell crushed 37 home runs and knocked in 116 runs as the most feared hitter in Pittsburgh’s lineup in 2019, and his .936 OPS was easily the best mark on the team. He strikes out a decent amount, but he has a good eye and draws walks consistently. Unfortunately, there is no one to protect him in the lineup, so don’t be surprised if pitchers intentionally put him on base more often to take the bat out of his hands.

The big question for the Pirates is Gregory Polanco. Polanco has missed over 200 games in the last three years, so injuries are a major concern for the right fielder. He was having a great spring before the season was put on hold, and Pittsburgh is hoping that he can become a steady presence in the lineup.

Bryan Reynolds surpassed expectations with the season he put together in 2019. He led the Pirates with a .314 average, and he showed far more power than anyone expected after lackluster numbers in the minors. If his power continues to grow, he could be the club’s next superstar, giving them another asset to trade off in the next four to five years.

2020 Pittsburgh Pirates World Series Projection

If you’re looking at Pittsburgh from a glass half-full perspective, you see a team that could flirt with .500. In that case, Archer and Williams would have bounce-back seasons on the mound, while Polanco stayed injury free and young talents like Reynolds and Kevin Newman continue to develop. That appears to be the best case scenario though, so it’s unwise to bet on the Pirates to win the World Series.

2020 Pittsburgh Pirates World Series Free Pick:
Not a chance - Pick another team!

Odds provided by FanDuel (IN, NJ, PA & WV only)
Subject to Change - T&C's Apply, 21+

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