Pirates’ early hot start ignites question throughout Pittsburgh

Patrick Inman, Contributor

As the first two weeks of baseball draws to a close, Pittsburgh fans were treated to a delightful surprise as the Pirates started off the season in a red-hot fashion, winning 8 of their first 10 games. Although it is only the beginning of the season, fans are hoping this a promising sign for the teams future.

Coming into this season, Pirates fans were up in arms as their ace pitcher (Gerrit Cole), and their best player (Andrew McCutchen) were both traded for a lackluster return. Many fans even resorted to boycotting the Pirates this year, which seems to actually be happening since PNC park is experiencing low attendances despite the great start.

Now as fans are surprised by this start, the main question everyone is asking is whether or not the Pirates can legitimately keep this up for a potential playoff spot. The answer to that, involves a lot of “if” factors.

The main factor being if right fielder Gregory Polanco can actually develop into the highly-touted prospect he once was. If Polanco can hit at least 30 home runs, and drive in 100 plus, their chances increase greatly.

Another major factor is Starling Marte, and if he can regain his form from a couple of years ago. Marte has serious power, but has been limited in terms of production due to his various injuries and an 80-game suspension in 2017 for performance-enhancing drugs. If Marte can produce at the same level as Polanco, or even remotely close, their chances rise.

The relief pitching is another major issue. It has been the glaring hole already, and needs significant improvement if the Pirates want to go anywhere.

As many fans know, the Pirates season depends on a lot of “ifs”. The way I view this, Pirates will not make the playoffs because there are far too many things that need to go right in order for them to do so. However, I do believe this hot start is a positive sign for the future, and the Pirates will probably end up a 500. team, with upside for the future.

This is perhaps better that they do not make it anyways, as the NL West is stacked this year and they would surely receive an early exit.