Pirates Roundtable: Bold Predictions For the 2023 Pittsburgh Pirates Season

For the final Roundtable of 2022, we’re going with bold predictions for the 2023 season.

There’s no limit here. The predictions can be on any subject with the Pirates, whether a team prediction or an individual player prediction.

What is your bold prediction for the 2023 Pittsburgh Pirates organization?


I think the Pirates will have a winning record after the All-Star break in 2023. There are enough top prospects in the system who could arrive by mid-July that the second half of the season should be a lot more exciting than anything we’ve seen from the Major League club in the last few years. Instead of waiting for those once every 7-10 day moments from Oneil Cruz that impress the Statcast crowds, you’ll be able to celebrate wins more frequently.
Besides the potential top tier prospects joining the team throughout the season, players like Cruz, Rodolfo Castro and Roansy Contreras should all be better with the experience they gained last year. Then you have Mitch Keller who improved mid-season and Ke’Bryan Hayes, who still has some offensive potential we haven’t seen. Bryan Reynolds is still around (as of this writing), but even if he’s moved, I think they are going for more immediate help in return, which wouldn’t push back the rebuild.
I’m not predicting a winning overall 2023 season, but I see the potential for them to be a winning team from July of 2023 and beyond. Depending on how fast the prospects arrive and whether or not there’s a group adjustment period to the majors, we could start to see the winning begin in June as well. My safe (but still bold) estimate believes the All-Star break will mark the turnaround.


I think by the end of the 2023 season Anthony Solometo will be a Top 100 prospect. Maybe that isn’t all that bold, but this is also considering that the lefty has less than 50 career innings at the professional level.

Solometo had a fantastic 2022 season, pitching very well in Bradenton while just 19-years-old. That included striking out more than a batter an inning, and now allowing a home run the entire season.

It seems that he hasn’t even scratched the surface of his potential yet. Solometo sat mostly at 91-93 with his fastball, but got as high as 97 MPH in high school. There seems to be hope he can at the very least, increase that velocity from what we saw in Bradenton last year.

With his unorthodox delivery adding deception, you can imagine the added difficulty in locating a fastball coming out at even 95 or 96.

There’s a chance Solometo becomes even more unhittable than he previously was.


My bold prediction is the regular lineup and rotation at the end of the season.  That’s really what counts this year.  As usual, they’re going to start the season with some regulars who have no chance of being part of a winning Pirates team, although not as many as the last three years.  So what matters is where they end the season, although not every development will be good.  So here’s what I think we’ll see:

C:  Endy Rodriguez
1B/DH:  Carlos Santana, Connor Joe, Malcom Nunez
2B:  Nick Gonzales
SS:  Oneil Cruz
3B:  Ke’Bryan Hayes
LF:  Jack Suwinski/Miguel Andujar
CF:  Ji-Hwan Bae
RF:  Cal Mitchell/Andujar

Rotation:  Mitch Keller, Roansy Contreras, Luis Ortiz, Quinn Priester, Mike Burrows

Some developments that’ll lead to this:

Bryan Reynolds will be traded at the deadline, not because he requested it but because it was always going to happen.

Ji-Man Choi will show that his second half collapse in 2022 was real, but he’ll linger until September as the Pirates vainly hope to ditch a bit of his salary.

After eight years of being Vince Velasquez, Vince Velasquez will shock the Pirates, many fans and Jason Mackey by miraculously turning into . . . Vince Velasquez!  Like Choi, he’ll linger ‘til September as the Pirates hope to deal him to some drunken GM.

The Pirates will trade a couple relievers at the deadline again, but I don’t know which ones because it’s all pretty random with relievers.


Cal Mitchell will win a starting job in spring training and have an above average offensive season in 2023. 

Cal is a Professional Hitter (Trademarked commenter by NMR). His fielding will leave a bit to be desired when it comes to his arm, but his bat has always been his carrying tool. 

As it stands, Bryan Reynolds is probably the only outfielder with a definitive spot going into spring training. I wrote in the previous Pirates Discussion that I wasn’t entirely sold on Connor Joe having a set starting spot on the opening day roster, given he does still have two minor league options. Jack Suwinski may have an inside track at one spot, but I think Cal Mitchell will earn a spot on the team. 

Outside of Cal’s initial taste of Triple-A in 2021 and his first MLB stint in 2022, he has continued to hit at every level with above average offense. I think what stands out the most about Mitchell’s 2022 season, is the fact that he continued to destroy Triple-A pitching throughout the year between promotions and demotions, while getting better at the MLB level after each stop back in Indianapolis. 

In his first 34 Triple-A games of 2022, Cal Mitchell slashed .306/.362/.500 with a wRC+ of 125 before he made his MLB debut. Cal struggled in his initial taste of the majors and returned to Indianapolis, but his second round in Triple-A was for only two weeks after a stretch with a 137 wRC+ over 12 games. His third and final run through Indianapolis of 2022 saw him go above and beyond in 17 games with a wRC+ of 191. Cal’s totals through 63 games with the Indianapolis Indians was .339/.391/.547 with a wRC+ of 146 over the season. 

As for his time in the MLB, the overall numbers weren’t great, but you see growth throughout the year. In 26 games from May 24th to June 26th, he hit .193/.227/.325 with a wRC+ of 51. His second stint of 18 games saw him tick up to a wRC+ of 72. The final call-up where Mitchell stayed from beginning of September till the end of the season — 25 games — he capped off his year with a slash of .267/.360/.373 with a wRC+ of 112. Furthermore, he saw some of his best plate discipline over the final stretch with a 12.8 BB% and 18.6 K% that are both very strong numbers. 

So, my bold prediction is that Cal Mitchell is the Buccos 2023 starting right fielder.


The offseason isn’t over yet, and my expectation is that the Pirates will continue adding to this team. With the way it’s shaping up right now, I could see a 75+ win team. That’s not my bold prediction though.

I think the Pirates will do enough this offseason to get that extra push to a winning season in 2023. This type of winning season won’t put them in contention for the playoffs. As contending teams are fighting to lock down a playoff spot in the final week of the season, I could see the Pirates fighting to lock down a winning record.

The Pirates are adding veterans to their team, which will help the transition later in the season when the wave of prospects from Indianapolis start to arrive. The Pirates will get almost an internal trade deadline boost with that influx of talent arriving throughout the summer. By the end of the season, this team will start to take shape for the future.

My bold prediction is that the Pirates have a winning season in 2023. They haven’t cared about the results at the MLB level the last few years, but I think that changes this year. It already seems to be changing this offseason, and I don’t think they’re finished adding.

There’s a benefit to this push for a winning record. It would make next offseason much easier to add players on multi-year deals, opening them up to better talent than is available to them now. There’s also the benefit of bringing up so many young players in a winning environment, rather than the end of another tanking season.

It’s been frustrating to watch the tanking over the last few years, but I think that’s over. The baseball we see in Pittsburgh this year will be exciting to follow from start to finish of the season, and I think the Pirates make it a priority to finish above .500.

Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.

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Okay Predictions! – I think the Pirates see a 10 game increase, could be more but I’m going to assume that injuries manifest at some point and keep us to a 73-89 season. Still a vast improvement. I see Cruz hitting 30 homers and striking out 150 times. I see Contreras developing into a #1 /2 starter posting a sub 3.50 ERA this year, and I see Mitch Keller taking a big step up to do roughly the same. I see Castro having a great first half, leading to Nick Gonzales being Dealt at the deadline. Castro puts up a WAR of 3+ this year. I see Hayes being much healthier and managing a .750 OPS, and I see Endy Rodriguez cementing himself as the catcher of the future as our former #1 pick begins looking like a complete injury bust by the end of 2023.


Have to join in on BOLD predictions…
Bubba goes for 20 bombs in Greenville while also posting ERA under 3.
Kebryan hits over .300
Bae wins the CF job and Nicki Six gets his stroke back promoted to the show – Shelty won’t play him.
Endy should win job out of camp but gets held back until June.
I know- not bold – but hits 15 bombs in the show once he’s up.
Lastly Bednar not Reynolds is traded at the deadline for another Oviedo type SP.


1. Mitch Keller takes another step in becoming a frontline SP; raising his K rate while keeping his ERA sub 4.

2. My breakout prospects: LonnieWhiteJr, HudsonHead, JackHerman, TresGonzalez, ShalinPolanco, JauriCustodio, JaseBowen, JosiahSightler, JaredJones, ThomasHarrington, JpMassey, JustinMeis, DrewIrvine, RyanHarbin.

3. Ji-HawnBae runs away with the starting CF job and has a Steven Kwan type rookie season.

4.JohanOviedo puts together a really good encore season in the starting rotation. Shows his potential number 3 starter upside that he was thought to have as a prospect in St.Louis.

5. Pirates finish the season .500 or better, are in the Wild Card race but finish right outside the playoffs.

**Pirates take Dylan Crews #1 overall and he becomes the top prospect in all of baseball.

Last edited 1 month ago by pittsburghbob69

1. David Hague takes a action photo of Hayes at 3rd & later finds in the background Dan Potash & Justice kissing in the camera well. Its later revealed that Dan Potash is in fact Travis Williams, the same person living 2 lives. Pittsburghers outrage against travis/dan bc he is Justice’s superior, so Travis/dan is later fired for inappropriate behavior, but more ppl bringing rainbow color clothing in support of Travis/dan to the game excites Bob Nutting bc a new market is now interested & increasing attendance.

2. After a 5 game losing streak in May, Shelty has a breakdown & leaves the team for personal reasons. Don Kelly is put in as interim manager & the team has a winning record under him.

3. Rich Hill throws the slowest pitch in the statcast era by a pitcher.


Unlikely (wait was Jamie Moyer in the statcast era?)


My BOLD predictions are that literally none of our free agent signings are on the roster in September due to them all really stinking BUT the maturation of our sophomores into plus playas and an awesome rookie class kick our record up after the AllStar break. Oh and Reynolds gets traded next week to Toronto for Gary Varsho + the best 3 MiLB arms.


My bold predictions are:

  • Ji-Hwan Bae forces himself into the lineup early, and finishes the year leading the NL in stolen bases and triples. He also finishes 3rd in rookie of the year voting.
  • Oneil Cruz finishes 3rd in the NL in HRs with 35 Homers. He also finishes the year with 35 errors to match his home run total, and to lead all NL shortstops.
  • The Pirates rotation at the end of the year will be Mitch Keller, Roansy Contreras, Quinn Priester, Mike Burrows, and Luis Ortiz. They will all finish with an ERA below 4.00.
  • Endy Rodriguez comes up in early June, and hits so well the Pirates are forced to DH him, and even let him play some 1B and Outfield, when he is not catching. He winds up with 21 HRs, and an OPS over .850. He winds up winning rookie of the year, with the Pirates having Rodriguez and Bae, 1 and 3 in NL rookie of the year voting.
  • Pirates will be 11 games under .500 at the All-star break, but fueled by a huge 2nd half they will wind up 82-80 on the year.

Sounds like a pretty ideal season to me


Here’s my bold predictions…

  • Oneil Cruz will get his K rate under 28% and have a monster year. He’ll be the first Pirate since Stargell to hit 40 HRs. Cruz will also get some MVP votes.
  • Rudy Castro will flame out and they’ll try several guys at 2b and they’ll all flame out.
  • Mitch Keller will take a huge step and start to miss more bat and get his era and fip under 3.5
  • Robert Stephenson is going to be a very solid leverage arm
  • Vince V is going to have a nice year and shock the 30-year-old fan.
  • Cherington is going to trade Reynolds for Pablo Lopez, plus a couple minor league dudes before Opening Day.

weak sauce, go BOLD!

  • Oneil Cruz hits ball that lands on Southside
  • Mayor Gainey offers to buy Section 331-333 for homeless encampment, Nutting agrees after no tickets purchased by fans
  • Oviedo supplants Bednar as Closer by Memorial Day
  • Carlos Santana plays fireworks night, backed by Carlos Santana
  • Bae’s rookie season derailed after chokeslamming incident, promises he’s learned his lesson this time. really means it.
  • Nick Gonzales hits 20 hr in his rookie year
  • Travis Williams announces he will now go by Trisha

I have more.

  • Haha
  • Very well done
  • bullet points are the future

Good stuff.

I think Cruz will hit over 40 HR’s but I will stop short of MVP consideration. I think he will still have growing pains and the huge variable is what happens on defense.

i think Bae will overtake Castro and stake a claim as a long term piece.

Keller / Stephenson – yes

I think either Vince or Hill will deliver and the other will be the easy choice to be replaced by whoever knocks the loudest from AAA.

Lopez is a free agent sooner than Reynolds, so if it is the Marlins I think it will be a different starter. I think if the Rangers are willing to leverage their close to majors prospects, they are the most likely to overwhelm Ben. They are in many ways all in with some older pitchers (deGrom et al) and major investments last year. They are in win NOW mode and can’t afford (IMO) to wait until mid season to bolster a weak outfield. With that.. I still think Ben waits.


Rangers are most definitely in win now mode and I could see them as an aggressive team that could potentially overpay for reynolds. Subscribe


Ok, I subscribed!


BTV says we could get something like white, carter, and leiter for reynolds. I would shake his hand on the way out for that


Agree.. I’ve played with BTV and just wonder if Rangers would really give up that much.


Jeff.. loved the Mitchell post. I think he is the poster player for how you progress. I am probably not as bullish on him, but he smoked AAA therefore he has EARNED a longer look. He deserves some patience.

As for the other predictions.. I like the combo of Wilbur and John. I am excited about the Aug/Sep lineup and rotation possibilities. Even if 1/2 of our AAA prospects push for promotions it will be fun and this wave of prospects appears stronger. However, I think the fun will not necessarily translate to a better record. There will be growing pains as the prospects move to MLB. However, it would be great if those growing pains started to occur this year vs. next. Also, if (and I agree it is likely) Reynolds is traded at the trade deadline, that would significantly lesson the odds of winning post deadline.

My not so bold prediction is that Bae carves out a regular spot in the lineup with his on base skills and base running.


Trade Rumors says Padres making Trent Grisham available. Always been a fan of that guys, great defense and I think there’s more in the bat. I don’t know if the Padres system is barren these days, might take a 3 team trade, but if we could still get a top pitching prospect plus Grisham, maybe a 2nd prospect thrown in? That sounds good to me. Too low a bar? Getting a starting CF back, 26 years old. Wow he’s not a free agent until 2026, cheap contract. I’d do it.

Last edited 1 month ago by clemo83

Thats just a year more control than reynolds i believe


Rather give Swaggerty a shot before doing something like that, that guy couldn’t produce in an environment that his bat was not counted on, here his bat has to produce.


I think it is time to give up on Swaggerty, and move on. He is never going to be much of a hitter. Would like to see them throw him in on a trade.


I tend to agree. When I look at his yearly minor league old school stats nothing screams future starter. At this point in his development when he was drafted no longer should mean anything. I just don’t think he has a ton of value in a trade. Would teams take him, of course, but more as a small add on to a trade or just a minor league player swap.


We can’t change the sensless gifting of Garcia & Hartman
for Joe and Choi today, but we can DFA both tonight
to make a better tomorrow

Wilbur Miller

Not that I’m rushing to add him to my nonexistent fantasy team, but I don’t mind Joe too much. He has a good swing and very good plate discipline, and his name is easy to type. He hasn’t had nearly the opportunities in the bigs as Choi, although he’s only about a year younger, which is kinda shocking. Like so many of the guys they drag in, it’s not so bad provided they’re quick to cut bait when he hits .160, which they often aren’t.
The biggest drawback with Choi is the likelihood that Dumbo will decide his veteran tenure entitles him to play a lot against LHPs. He hits them about as well as a ten-year-old would hit DeGrom.


this reads like a two-bit stump speech, well done.


I have a feeling that, like the Rich Rod trade, neither team will end up thrilled with their return.


They panicked with Choi and will be long gone before understanding why Connor Joe is here. Both finished the season in the mist of the worst career slumps, both injured, both had surgury and either one would be missed on opening day. Whats going to be missed are
more PA for Mitchell, Swags, CSN and I’ll go one further, Gorski
I know Matt and his family and last heard out of that camp was
“on a good time line, feels great and he has some unfinished business to take care of in the International League”


Some unfinished business?! 2 PAs in AAA doesn’t even qualify as a soft-open.


I will tell you which one of the ’round tablers’ I agree with on Sept 15. Until then, I am keeping it a secret. I put it on an envelope in a hermetically sealed jar. It was tuff finding a hermit, lemme tell ya!


Last edited 1 month ago by leefieux

A lot of absurd kool-aid drinking here….just like last year at this time. This is why things never change. Not enough demanding change…you deserve what you accept.


The article is called bold predictions. That means that they aren’t really expecting them to happen but that they can see them in an extreme. You 30 year fans need to lighten up.


What…what exactly do you think P2 will do to make things different in how the organization functions and operates? Explain it to me because I’m genuinely baffled as to how you believe Tim and crew factor into that change.

Wilbur Miller

These guys aren’t even doing Piratefest this year. They probably think Pirates Prospects is a site with info about sunken treasure ships.



Screenshot 2022-12-30 085026.jpg

Ah yes posting more pessimism and doom and gloom on P2 will undoubtedly get Nutting’s attention and ensure the franchise is run better in the future!

Wilbur Miller

Does anybody else find it nearly impossible to upvote with an iPhone? Just doesn’t register. A s***load of my votes aren’t being counted. Fraud!!!


I can’t make the notification bell to work when using tablet. It works when I use a PC.


I phone used the Diebold up voting system, rigged!

Wilbur Miller

They’re switching my upvotes to Yankee blogs!!


Small but bold: we are intrigued by Vilade by the end of the yr.


The pride of Steubenville OH!


This team, as constructed, has the potential to post a winning record. However, I think this is more likely with a stronger start than finish.


Expecting prospects to come up and hit the ground running probably isn’t realistic. Especially thinking they’re going to lead the team to a winning record in the 2nd half.

Guys like Preister and Burrows are probably going to take their lumps. I’m not as high on Contreras as most. I’m not really high on Bae as his exit velos are weak. Gonzales k rate really doesn’t translate to the show. Big year for him and Henry Davis

The 2 rookies who I think will be impact players are Endy & Ortiz.


Just for clarity, I think Contreras has really good upside to be a mid-rotation arm. What scares the sh*t out of me is he lost a ton of velo at the end of the season. I don’t know if its injury related or if his frame simply can’t hold up. If memory serves, he’s been shut down a couple of times due to forearm tightness.


Could always dream on an influx of arms such that roansy becomes a high leverage bullpen arm where his velo could play up.


A couple of things. It’s really hard to win games in September when going up again teams fighting for a playoff spot. Rookies might not be up to it without some vetern help.
The Pirates may never have a winning season with the manager they extended last year. I hope I’m terribly wrong on both points.


This “veteran leadership”
Stuff is almost as ridiculous as judging. Hitter Solely on their batting average. These are professional players who have been competing at a high level since they were tiny children. The idea that somehow they get to MLB and forget what it’s like to be under pressure or “how to win” is just ridiculous.


My bold prediction is Bryan Reynolds signs an extension in spring training (maybe wishful thinking). I also agree with JD on them having a winning record after July. Meaning I think they could come close to .500. However, I’m still thinking 73-76 wins but the possibility of 82. I could very well see them being 65-97 too if things go wrong.


You should’ve stopped after your first sentence?😀😀


Bold Predictions
1) The world finds out Steve Cohen isn’t as rich as he looks and the Mets get stuck with more “Bobby Bonilla” days. Meanwhile, the world finds out Bob Nutting doesn’t act as rich as he is and he cries when the payroll reaches $85M.
2) MLB Trade Rumors crashes at the 3,675th Bryan Reynolds rumor and Yankees fans are shocked when the Pirates don’t actually trade him to them. Reynolds shocks the world when he signs an extension but the rumors continue.
3) Several prospects fail in their transition to the Pirates big league club but two of them tease that there could be superstar potential in their future. One gets hurt and the other demands a trade next year.
4) The team ponders bringing Jamie Moyer out of retirement to join the close to or over 40 club. Julio Franco signs for September and leads the team in WAR while Spaceman Lee calls and asks for a cameo. The young players just can’t get enough of veteranosity!
5) In all seriousness, the Pirates seem to make progress in becoming a competitive team. Sheltie is not re-signed for 2024 and a manager with winning experience is hired. Oscar gets the Oscar for best pitching coach performance on a (barely) losing team but can’t be retained due to financial considerations. Cruz hits the longest homerun of the season. Hayes has the top defensive play of ’23. Gonzales and Priester confirm their status as building blocks for ’24.


‘MLB Trade Rumors crashes at the 3,675th Bryan Reynolds rumor’ – CLASSIC!

I would add.. .and the same 225 comments about the trade.


I agree with WTM’s account of what will happen next year.
My prediction: Gonzales has figured it out and will hit MLB pitching. I also believe he’ll begin to make the transition to LF. There is no reason to bench Gonzales when Johnson arrives, which might happen sooner than we would expect.


oooooo this one’s good.


I’d be happy if they wind up having a winning record during the second half of 2023 because that would have to mean the prospects are making it happen and that would bode well for the near future. Predicting a. winning record for the entire year of 2023 is indeed bold especially if they trade Reynolds, but let us hope.

Scam likely

Oh boy , some are drinking the coolaid. Remember last year when yoshi could hit 30 bombs and the pirates only lose 85-90 games. Not sold on the vets ,they will be better I say 70 -92 but the future will manning all the position in the first week of August.


Closer to reality than most on here…


I would be pumped if Wilbur’s prediction comes true. I’ve been hoping to win or lose with young guys since as long as I can remember. Would be excited to see most any of those guys in the batters box or on the mound. Tired of waiting to see what the youngsters can do.


I agree.and would add that Wilbur’s take agrees with the Pirates FO’s take.


I hope you are right as well. Will be interesting to come back to this article in late September when the Pirates are______?


Agree with JD, a little skeptical about Murph prediction, WM end off season line up is somewhat accurate, on board with Jeff, disagree with Tim. But I love the fact that you all put yourself out there!

Last edited 1 month ago by PirateRican21

I’m in complete agreement with Tim here.
Jeff, Mitchell’s arm was so bad last year it made him beyond “leaves a bit to be desired” defensively. I think his best chance on the team is DH, if Choi or Santana miss time to an injury.

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

He just needs to field well enough and quick throws like Corey Dickerson, who also didn’t have the best arm. Matt Joyce is another OF’er with a bad arm that comes to mind. Then there’s this beaut lol



Jason Bay & Cutch both had terrible arms, but hir enough to overlook


Bernie Williams, Johnny Damon…..there’s a long list of All Stars with weak arms.


I think the challenge with these lists of weak arms vs. Mitchell is that many of these players appeared to me to be better outfielders. So yes, Damon had a real bad arm but could chase down a lot of fly balls. I think Mitchell can peak at average at best range with a weak arm. So as discussed his bat will have to carry him which I think is possible.


Good point. I think there’s a MLB average to above average bat there, walks and power will determine how good, but his potential is better than most.


If coach would have put him in they would have won states. Bet he convinced the Pirates front office he could throw a ball over My Washington.

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