Buster Olney Picks Pirates to Win World Series

Buster Olney from ESPN made quite a prediction for the Pittsburgh Pirates this morning, picking them to win the World Series this year. He was very high on the Pirates while posting his rankings early in the season, rating them as the fifth best team in baseball, crediting them with the second best outfield and placing them among the best for their rotation, lineup, defense and bullpen.

Olney did have the Pirates fourth among NL teams in his overall rankings, so something must have changed since January 19th for him to pick them as the World Series winners. It is basically the same team as back then, with Travis Snider and Brandon Cumpton(Tommy John surgery) the key missing pieces and Arquimedes Caminero the key addition. Jung-Ho Kang was officially added three days prior to the article, so it is unlikely he is the reason for the jump.

The Cardinals(ranked 4th by Olney) have done very little since the article and the Washington Nationals(ranked #1) seem to be the team to beat in all of baseball, so take the prediction this morning for what you will.

John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.

When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.

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Kenny Moore

I always like to hear the Pirates getting a little love but World Series champs is going a little far especially with that rotation the Nats have. I have said before the Bucs are missing two specefic type of players….

A true ace and a true clean up hitter.

Cole and Liriano are close but not on that level. With all that said I think Huntington is going to make a huge trade this year. He was very close last year almost getting that ace in trades with Boston and TB. I still say the Rays were crazy not taking our prospects for David Price.

Ben Swogger

I’m not one who cares or even pays attention to what the pundits say but I must admit, it’s pretty cool to be in the conversation for a world series.

Joe W.

a chip and a chair is all you need.


Obviously early and we all know to ignore Spring Training stats and Polanco stung the ball a few times but anyone concerned with him or Kang? Polanco hasn’t made much hard contact this Spring (although today he did) and Kang does seem to striking out a lot. Sure hope Dan Farnsworth is correct on Kang.


I’m not too worried. Kang is going to strike out, and he’s going to do it often, but he hits the ball hard enough to make up for it. I think Polanco will be fine, too. Even McCutchen didn’t look great in his first action. There’s still a couple weeks, they have time to get their bats going.


Besides, the lineup and bench are deep enough to cover for a couple guys struggling out of the gate, and Pedro and Marte have been great this spring. Mercer’s starting to string together some multi-hit games. The Cervelli hit two homers today. The bats are starting to show some life, and there are a lot of capable ones.


I do think the Pirates are the team best equipped to deal with injuries (the Dodgers and Nats are close in that respect, especially to their pitching staffs), but they aren’t the most talented. I like the Pirates’ roster better than the Cardinals’ this year, but only by a little, and the Cards always seem to overperform a bit.

Still, in terms of winning the World Series, it’s kind of a crap shoot. A team just gets hot. Or a pitcher. It’s not necessarily the best team who win it so much as the team who got hot at the right time. Maybe Buster just things the Bucs will get hot in the playoffs.


Nailed it.

I don’t see the fuss over picking any of the teams with a reasonable chance to make the playoffs, including the Pirates. Silly enough trying to predict the “best” team before the season, let alone the team that’ll actually win the WS.


Just noticed that the three guys with visible numbers in the picture are no longer with the team, kinda funny huh?

Eric Saferstein

Pirates owner Bob Nutting refuses to tell fans common sense, ballpark safety information. Legitimate emergency evacuation orders would NEVER come from your personal cell phone. Learn why this is a big deal — agsaf.org


Dontcha know why ? Nutting is too cheap. The new clubhouse at McKechnie Field busted his budget. No more free announcements.


Look, I’m conditioned to expect bad things.


I have the pirates at 102-60 that may be a little optimistic, just not by much. I have been saying for months now that this is the year of the bucs. I’m quite comfortable with this prediction, I mean what’s the worst that could happen if I’m wrong? Some folks on here might pick on me?! My dog might get mange? I think if the pirates don’t win the world series we all feel bad for a few days then get on with our lives, so here’s to a buctober to remember!


If any team wins 102 in the NL this season, I would think it would be the Nationals. That division has the Braves and the Phillies in there who are both really bad. Putting either Niese and/or Gee in the rotation doesn’t strengthen the Mets, who are shaky defensively in the middle infield, also will be offensively challenged even if Duda doesn’t regress.


That could very well be leo, all I’m saying is that the pirates have a better than average shot at winning at least a 100 games and the championship.

Luke sutton

Imma go ahead and predict no NL central team wins 100. Cards are good, PIT is good, CIN is good tho not deep, MIL has enough offense to not be awful, and CHC has stupid young talent that at least makes them interesting. I dont see any Central team winning 95.


I don’t want to go against you pillo, because I would love to see it happen also, but that would be a real chore to pull that off in their division.


I don’t believe that it is out of the question. The Nat’s offense will not be as good as last year, although on paper their pitching is tough to match, but a couple injuries and it would be a whole different story for them, as it would for any team. The Dodgers on the other hand have an offense that is tough to match, and the top end of their pitching staff is better than the top end of the Nat’s, so I would not want them in a short series. That being said, an injury to Greinke or Kershaw would be almost impossible for them to overcome. The Pirates have a better offense than the Nat’s and pitching, that overall, should be able to be equal to the Dodgers, the Pirates one advantage is their depth. Once we hit June, that opens up all of our pitching options, including Taillon, but I wouldn’t really expect him until much later, plus it also puts some more positional depth in play.

I would not be so bold as to predict the Pirates winning the WS, but I do think we should reach the NLCS.


I have been predicting to family and friends that there would be a World Series for Pittsburgh by 2017. I continue to believe this, but I think Buster may be jumping the gun a bit. I remember the Pirates were the trendy pick to win the WS in 1959, but the pundits were a year off. Buster might be off by 2, but I think he’s in the right ballpark.

Lucas Vanderwarker

almost a kiss of death for any team…should would be amazing to see a baseball parade in november in the burgh


Lucas: Exc point – almost like the SI Cover. He is planning that all of the major contributors from 2014 (‘Cutch, Marte, Walker, JHAY, Mercer) will continue to do just as well in 2015, and the threesome of Alvarez, Cervelli, and Polanco will all do above average in 2015. And the Rotation and BP will pitch well and without any major injuries. And the bench will be supportive with timely hits. Nice to even be in the conversation, but I think they need at least another year to seriously challenge.


The only thing Buster Olney really knows is how to get attention. Love my Pirates but they need a couple of things to go right to win the WS starting with Pedro making a comeback.


All other teams mentioned ” need a couple of things to go right to win the WS ” also. The Nats need just a little less than the rest.


Marlins over the Nats… must be a wake-n-baker


A Pirates – Mariners WS would definitely not delight network execs John.


He also picked the Padres to be the surprise team last year, so take his predictions with a grain of salt.


Not that I agree or listen to olney but the padres were a surprise team last year.

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