Pittsburgh Pirates: Projecting the 2018 Starting Rotation
The Pittsburgh Pirates 2018 projected starting rotation is already looking promising. However, it will look slightly different then it did just a season ago.With the departure of former first overall pick Gerrit Cole, the Bucs will have a new ace. That title will now belong to the young gun, Jameson Taillon. The 26-year-old has battled adversity and will now reach his max potential. Hopefully, his supporting cast can do the same.
1) Jameson Taillon RHP: As stated above Taillon slides into that “Ace” role, and rightfully so. At times throughout the 2017 season, he was one of the most consistent starting pitchers. That was until he ran into the injury bug again, this time testicular cancer. However just like every other time in his short career the kid fought back. He now looks to be the go-to man for the Bucs. In his limited amount of starts, Taillon went 8-7 with a 4.44 ERA. The win-loss record is mighty misleading with the way the Pittsburgh Pirates, as a whole, performed just a year ago.
2) Ivan Nova RHP: Nova who ended up being the bright spot from the 2016 trade deadline had another solid season. This year he’ll move up a spot in the rotation and be the number two guy. While not having an out of the world season he had a solid season regardless. He went 11-14 with 4.14 ERA. Nova could potentially take that number one spot from Taillon in Spring Training. Both should have fantastic seasons.
3) Joe Musgrove RHP: One of the pieces acquired from Houston in the Gerrit Cole deal will have a huge impact this season. Musgrove had a similar year to Taillon statistically. A 7-8 record 4.77 ERA. These numbers really aren’t that impressive, but, he did it in a hitter-friendly Minute Maid Park. Although we’ve heard it before ala Jon Niese, however, Musgrove’s “stuff “ is significantly better. Watch for Musgrove to have a career year in the black and gold.
4) Chad Kuhl RHP: Kuhl gets the nod here because he has the experience. While having a down year Kuhl now knows what it takes to be successful. He went 8-11 just a season ago with an ERA of 4.35. Both of which can be immensely better this season with more consistency. However, if Kuhl struggles in Spring Training, or during the season don’t be too surprised if he gets moved to the bullpen. Chad Kuhl may end up making his career as a bullpen arm but they may try him as a starter just a little longer.
5) Steven Brault LHP: Both the fourth and fifth spots are interchangeable. On top of that, there are a number of guys that could compete for these spots. The reason Brault gets the nod here is due to him being a southpaw. The Bucs rotation has a lack of diversity but Brault can add that. He had a spectacular year in the minors and a great attitude about it. He went 10-5 with a 1.94 ERA in Triple-A. Brault could easily be the number three or four starter this year with a good Spring Training.
While the rotation looks solid there are a number of talented guys left out. Names like Tyler Glasnow, Trevor Williams, Clay Holmes, and Mitch Keller. All of which will make a push for the rotation and will probably get a shot at some point with potential injuries. The Pittsburgh Pirates rotation is looking solid for years to come, and hopefully this season they can prove they already are.