Pittsburgh Pirates Odds: MLB Win Totals, Projections, Possible Bets

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Written By Mo Nuwwarah | Last Updated
Pirates odds

Welcome to TheLines.com’s 2024 Spring Training preview of MLB odds. We’ll preview every team’s 2024 season with a focus on MLB win totals and World Series odds. We’ll evaluate each team’s roster and see if there are any wagers worth considering. Today, we’ll look at Pittsburgh Pirates odds.

Surprisingly, the Pirates hung around in the NL Central race for quite a while in 2023 before fading down the stretch. Granted, it’s the NL Central, but that still counted as a successful season for the Buccos.

Can they continue to build with an intriguing core of players with under-30 positions and make the NL Central powers sweat?

Use the nav bar in the top left below to compare different MLB futures markets.

Pirates Odds: An Overview And What The Projections Say

First, let’s compare the market on Pirates odds to publicly available projections from FanGraphs and Baseball Prospectus.

  • 2023 wins: 76
  • Market wins: /
  • FanGraphs wins: 77.7
  • Baseball Prospectus wins: 72.8

The projections are split on the Pirates, with FanGraphs quite a bit more optimistic than PECOTA. The market splits the difference and expects a similar output to last season, when the Pirates played like a 74-win team, experiencing a bit of sequencing luck.

Pittsburgh didn’t lose anything meaningful from that team and has a couple of sources of optimism for 2024. One is the aforementioned youth of some of the hitters. The other is the infusion of young pitching that could arrive with top prospects Paul Skenes and Jared Jones knocking on the door of the majors.

Evaluating The Pirates Roster

Bats And Defense

Pittsburgh had a weak offense in 2023. A lack of power seemed to be the main culprit, as the Pirates ranked 24th in slugging and 22nd in isolated power. Even adjusting for their cavernous home park, the Pirates’ 90 wRC+ was only good for 25th.

Of course, not having Oneil Cruz for most of the season threw a wrench into things. An above-average hitter who can (maybe?) handle shortstop is quite a helpful player to have around, but Cruz broke his ankle very early and only took 40 PAs.

Now, Cruz is back, and he’ll be joined by Bryan Reynolds and Ke’Bryan Hayes as the under-30 nucleus, all of whom project as above-average regulars. Reynolds had a down season but scorched the ball — his .360 xwOBA far outpaced his .338 actual, so he should bounce back.

The biggest question for the Pirates is whether Henry Davis will make it a core four instead of a terrific trio. The erstwhile catcher moved to the outfield last year, and he responded by stinking up the joint on both sides of the ball. He projects as a below-average defender, but the Pirates have little choice but to try him back there after how poorly 2023 went. His bat was comically effective against high-minor pitching, so there’s still plenty of room for hope here.

The bottom of the order looks weak. Overall, the offense looks below average but should improve.

The defense looks much the same, but there’s a downside here if Davis can’t figure it out behind the plate and Cruz’s athleticism takes a hit. Hayes is a superstar there, but the Pirates would likely be happy with average play from everyone else.

Pitching

This is where things could potentially get exciting for Pittsburgh.

At the moment, the Pirates project is to roll out a notably subpar rotation, including the likes of Marco Gonzales, Martin Perez, and Luis Ortiz. Gonzales is a decent bounce-back candidate but won’t do anything better than eat league-average innings. Perez is probably cooked as an MLB starter but has previously provided boring, barely palatable innings. Ortiz had a rough rookie season in which he barely struck out more guys than he walked. Perhaps he’ll improve.

Mitch Keller looks like a solid mid-rotation starter after two straight years of above-average performance, though. And if Skenes and Jones can join him, the Pirates might have something interesting cooking.

Jones crushed it in the high minors last year. And Skenes, the fireballing No. 1 overall pick from the 2023 draft, won’t need much seasoning before he’s ready. Some of the projection systems already forecast an above-average season despite Skenes not having any real experience as a pro.

The bullpen is a source of surprising strength. Incumbent closer David Bednar and Aroldis Chapman form one of the nastiest 1-2 punches at the back of any bullpen. The setup crew is a bit weaker, but there’s probably enough competence to make this a fringe top-10 unit.

Possible Bets On Pirates Odds

Pittsburgh is a team with a reasonable amount of upside, with young bats and even younger pitching possibly on the precipice of breaking out. There’s enough talent that this could be an interesting team in futures markets for a weak NL Central at a long price.

Unfortunately, +1600 or so isn’t enough to get me interested. Anything north of +2000 might be worth a look, but this isn’t quite enough for me.

The bottom of the order still looks rough, and the defense will probably be pretty bad. Given the low talent level of the rotation — at least at the start — that’s a problem. It’s hard to expect Skenes and Jones to hit the ground running enough to overcome all of these issues. The bullpen’s strong, but even that could just lead to some trades if the Pirates keep building to the future.

Pittsburgh probably ultimately land near their win total. Unless the prices get decently longer on the division, there’s not much interest here from a betting standpoint.

Best of luck if you decide to bet on the Pirates odds this spring.

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