Projections forecast regression in upcoming season for Pirates
Some of baseball's top projection systems are calling for the Pirates to regress from their 2013 level of performance, which included a 94-win regular season and playoff berth.
Baseball Prospectus updated its projected 2014 standings this week and is calling for the Pirates to finish 78-84, good for fourth in National League Central.
The projection has the Pirates 10 games behind the first-place St. Louis Cardinals and also trailing the Cincinnati Reds and Milwaukee Brewers.
Baseball Prospectus has the Pirates remaining stagnant offensively, projecting them to score the fifth-fewest runs in the National League (653), and calls for the Pirates to surrender 104 more runs than they allowed last season — a jump from 577 runs allowed in 2013 to projecting 681 runs allowed in 2014.
Another prominent projection released recently is more optimistic.
Clay Davenport's 2014 projection calls for the Pirates to finish second in the NL Central and two games out of the final wild-card spot, finishing with an 83-79 mark, seven games behind the Cardinals.
The projection systems are skeptical the Pirates bullpen can repeat its 2013 performance. There's also that Francisco Liriano has struggled with consistency throughout his career and the Pirates have made few roster upgrades this offseason.