Just how far away are the Pittsburgh Pirates from contending?
They certainly do not pass the eye test. This year’s tumult was the culmination of a former manager, general manager, and president’s career with the Buccos. Along with a multitude of injuries to supposed star players, the Pirates performed poorly and perhaps even worse than expected.
But if we recall, at the All-Star break the Pirates were just 2.5 games out of first place in the NL central with a record of 44-45 and a -36-run differential. Everyone in the central division was struggling, but the Buccos were doing enough to hang around.
We all know how the story goes from there, but this narrative of “hang around in the first half/collapse in the second half” is no stranger to this organization. In my lifetime alone, the Pirates have seen the wheels come off after the July break several times, going out of their way to destroy the hope that April, May, and June seemed to cultivate. But how do the 2019 Pirates stack up against their teams of the past, and what does it have to say about their future over the next several years?
I dug into FanGraphs for an answer and observed team statistical data in 2019,…