The Pirates may have overhauled their coaching staff and hired a new general manager and president this offseason, but the prognosticators at USA Today are not optimistic about them heading into 2020.
On Tuesday, USA Today released their 2020 MLB predictions, and they predict the Pirates will finish with a 60-102 record, the worst in the National League. That would be nine wins fewer than they had in 2019, where they finished 69-93, and their worst record in a decade.
Only the Tigers (108) and Orioles (105) have more losses in these projected standings.
"The Pirates might have made all the right moves in rebooting their baseball operations, but this may be their worst team since losing 105 games in 2010," USA Today said in its preview.
The Pirates are heading into 2020 without their best starting pitcher, best position player and their closer from this time last year. Jameson Taillon will miss all of 2020 while recovering from Tommy John surgery, and Starling Marte was traded to the Diamondbacks last week. Felipe Vazquez is being held in Westmoreland County prison without bail.
A year ago, USA Today projected the Pirates to go 76-86 and finish in fourth place in the NL Central. In 2018, they pegged the Pirates as a 72-win team, and they would go on to win 82 that season.
USA Today predicts the Cardinals will win the NL Central and the Reds will be in a four way tie for the second wild card spot with the Mets, Phillies and Diamondbacks. They have the Brewers and Cubs both finishing with winning records, but missing the postseason.