Biertempfel: No baseball insiders picking Bucs to finish better than 3rd Place in NL Central
In an MLB Preview article published Wednesday to TribLive.com, Pirates reporter Rob Biertempfel predicted that the Buccos would finish their 2017 campaign in the same spot they finished 2016: 3rd Place.
Biertempfel also predicted that the only playoff team from the Central Division would be the first-place Cubs, noting that neither the Cardinals nor the Pirates did enough this offseason to take that extra step. In short, he put the divison like this:
The St. Louis Cardinals and (to a lesser degree) the Pirates made some moves this past winter to shore up their rosters, but I don’t believe either club did enough to fully close the gap. The stuck-in-neutral Milwaukee Brewers and rebuilding Cincinnati Reds are a few seasons away from contending.
Interestingly, Biertempfel cited similar predictions from eight other “baseball insiders.” All of the experts showcased picked the Buccos to finish no better than third place in the Central, behind both the Cubs and Cardinals. Buster Olney of ESPN was the only writer featured to give the Bucs a chance for a Wild Card spot, but still predicted (along with the seven other writers) that the Pirates would miss the playoffs again in 2017. The most concerning prediction came from MLB.com writer Mark Sheldon, who placed the Pirates in fourth place behind the Cincinnati Reds.
Vegas odds currently put the Pirates in third place, one game behind St. Louis.
Our 2017 yinzyap Pirates Picks go live Sunday.