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Pittsburgh Pirates 2021 Betting Preview

The Pittsburgh Pirates will essentially be eliminated from playoff contention when the first pitch is thrown on Opening Day. The front office has no desire to compete and has not put a product on the field capable of competing in a mediocre National League Central Division.

This is another case of a team tanking for draft picks, hoping that one day those picks turn into superstars and usher in a new era of Pirates baseball. While that has worked for some teams, the Pirates lately have not shown an ability to make sound roster decisions to stay competitive in such a small market.

2020 Results

The Pirates finished dead last in the National League Central in 2020 season, going 19-41 in the 60- game season.

The .317 winning percentage was the worst the franchise recorded since 1952. It was a historically bad season for the Pirates, and 2021 is set to be just as bad if not worse.

What is crazy about the Pirates is they finished 16-24 against the National League Central but a woeful 3-17 against American League Central opponents.

Key Additions 

The front office did virtually nothing to make this roster better. They added a couple of rotation fillers and called it a winter.

They signed starting pitcher Tyler Anderson to a one-year deal and inked long-time journeyman pitcher Trevor Cahill to a one-year deal as well.

These players have not been successful in recent years and do not move the needle much as far as the Pirates competing in 2021.

The real surprise when they released former All-Star third baseman Todd Frazier this week after a good Spring Training. He was a veteran who could have helped guide some of the younger players coming up.

Big losses 

Much like additions, there was not a lot of activity for the Pirates front office this winter.

They did lose starting pitcher Chris Archer in free agency to the team they traded for him from, Tampa Bay. Archer had been pretty abysmal for the Pirates.

They did trade All-Star first baseman Josh Bell to the Washington Nationals in what can only be assumed was a money saver. With COVID-19 having a financial effect around the sport, the small-market Pirates needed to shed some payroll, and Bell was expendable.

2021 Pitching

This is not going to be an effective pitching staff. The Pirates may give up runs at a historically bad rate. 

The rotation is Mitch Keller, Chad Kuhl, Tyler Anderson, JT Brubaker, and Cahill. These are not good starting pitchers at the major league level, and it will show rather early on.

The bullpen is equally as bad as their best reliever, Felipe Vasquez, continues to be on the restricted list as he works through legal issues.


Short of Ke’Bryan Hayes, this offense is bad. The Pirates don’t have a league-average hitter other than Hayes. 

Gregory Polanco has been declining for years  and he is the only other household name in this offense.

You just can’t expect much from an offense that has not been equipped with major league-level talent.

3 Key Players

3B Ke’Bryan Hayes 

The Pirates need Hayes to continue to develop at the major league level and be the face of the Pirates for years to come. He will be the spearhead to the youth movement, and the Pirates’ future success hinges on his success on the field.

OF Gregory Polanco 

Pittsburgh needs Polanco to find his health and his stroke at the plate again. If he could get going early and put together a successful healthy first few months, they could trade him near the deadline to a contender and get future assets for him.

SP Mitch Keller 

Keller is the best starting pitcher the Pirates have, and at 24, he could be a rotation anchor for years to come.

He put together a good season in 2020 in the small sample of outings he got. If he can build on that, he could turn out to be a really special pitching asset for the Pirates.

Schedule Breakdown

The Pirates will go back to an entire 162-game season in 2021 after the 60-game pandemic- shortened season in 2020. Almost half of those games will come against National League Central foes. They will also play a portion of those games against the American League Central Division, whom they went an abysmal 3-17 against in 2020.

Win Totals

BetUS has the Pirates win total at 59 for 2021.That seems about right. They are almost certain to lose 100+ games, but setting it at 59 makes it a little more difficult and not easy money to make. If you are new to sports betting, please check out our MLB betting hub page to get started.

Division Odds

The Pirates have +8000 odds to win the National League Central Division, according to BetUS. That is not anywhere close to where you should be putting any money as it is just a dart throw that likely won’t hit the board.

World Series Odds

The Pirates have the worst odds to win the 2021 World Series at +25000, according to BetUS. It is a miracle that isn’t happening as this team is just constructed to compete with Major league teams this year.