2024 Pittsburgh Pirates Preview

An extensive fantasy baseball preview of the 2024 season

2024 Pittsburgh Pirates Preview Shawn Childs is a legend in the fantasy baseball world and his advice is invaluable. A member of the NFBC Hall of Fame, Shawn has several top-5 finishes in the National Fantasy Baseball Championship as well […]

2024 Pittsburgh Pirates Preview

Shawn Childs is a legend in the fantasy baseball world and his advice is invaluable. A member of the NFBC Hall of Fame, Shawn has several top-5 finishes in the National Fantasy Baseball Championship as well as five NFBC auction championship titles under his belt. He also boasts several prominent in the high-stakes market and multiple huge DFS wins. Shawn's process and evaluation are among the most thorough in the sport and his exclusive FPGscore metric is changing the game. This 2024 Pittsburgh Pirates preview and insight is courtesy of the brilliant mind of one of the sport's best.    This 2024 Pittsburgh Pirates Preview is courtesy of Shawn Childs. Read Shawn's expert fantasy analysis at his Substack. After four consecutive years of regression in their winning percentage, the Pittsburgh Pirates franchise turned the winning needle in a positive direction in 2023. They improved by 14 wins (76-86) but missed the postseason for the eighth straight year. Over the past 31 seasons, the Pirates made the playoffs three times (2013 to 2015). Their last World Series title came in 1979, when “We Are Family” was the theme song to their success. Pittsburgh has four other championship titles (1908, 1925, 1960, and 1971). The Pirates finished 22nd in ERA (4.60), with a slight bump in success by their bullpen (4.27 ERA – 19th). Their relievers had 32 wins, 29 losses, and 47 saves over 626.1 innings with 638 strikeouts. Pittsburgh had the same ranking in runs (692 – 22nd) and RBIs (662), with less success in home runs (159 – 28th). They stole 117 bases on 158 attempts (74.1%). In the offseason, they signed C Yasmini Grandal, 1B Rowdy Tellez, SP Martin Perez, RP Aroldis Chapman, and SP Josh Fleming. The Pirates acquired SP Marco Gonzales from the Braves for cash and a player to be named later. They also picked up OF Edward Olivares in a minor deal with Kansas City. Their only two losses were SP Vince Velasquez and RP Jarlin Garcia. The development of this offense starts with SS Oneil Cruz, 3B Ke’Bryan Hayes, and OF Henry Davis. Pittsburgh has four veteran bats – OF Bryan Reynolds, OF Andrew McCutchen, C Yasmani Grandal, and 1B Rowdy Tellez. A move to league average in scoring would be a win in 2024, and they must hit more home runs. Pittsburgh has a better chance at success with the backend of their bullpen than their starting rotation. They have an ace in the hole – SP Paul Skenes, who should be on the fast track to the majors. Six of their top 10 prospects appear to be pitchers.

Starting Lineup

2B Ji Hwan Bae

After starting his minor league career with no power in 2018 and 2019 (.306 with 93 runs, no home runs, 51 RBIs, and 41 steals over 457 at-bats), Bae started to work his way to the majors with better success the following two seasons after the year off due to COVID-19. His best output came in 2022 at AAA (.289/81/8/53/30 over 419 at-bats). Pittsburgh gave him 10 games of experience (.333/5/0/6/3 over 33 at-bats). He had a top-of-the-order walk rate (10.7) with a favorable strikeout rate (18.8) in his five years in the minors. Last year, Bae made the Pirates out of spring training, leading to 214 at-bats (.238/37/2/19/20) over the first three months. He delivered his best production in April (.250 with 17 runs, two home runs, nine RBIs, and 11 stolen bases over 80 at-bats). Pittsburgh placed him on the injured list in early July with an ankle injury, costing him about six weeks. Bae had no fantasy value after the All-Star break (.217 with 17 runs, no home runs, 13 RBIs, and four steals). His average hit rate (1.351) was below his 2021 (1.500) and 2022 (1.488) seasons in the minors, where he appears to have the ability to hit 10 home runs. Bae had weakness in his contract batting average (.318), an area of more strength in his minor league career (.377). His strikeout rate (24.8) and walk rate (8.1) were below his previous career path. He ranked in the bottom third of the league in exit velocity (88.1) and hard-hit rate (36.8). His groundball rate (59.3) was extremely high in his limited time in the majors (closer to 50% in his minor league career). Fantasy Outlook: Bae is far from a lock to earn a full-time starting job in 2024, but he has the foundation skill set to hit leadoff in the lineup. His batting average projects much higher, and I don’t view him as an empty power hitter. His ADP (488) puts him in the free-agent pool in all redraft leagues. Bae scored 50% of the time last year when he was on base via a hit or walk. His bat came up short against right-handed pitching (.213 with two home runs and 24 RBIs over 230 at-bats). He has 10/30 potential but should be treated as a player to ride only if batting up in the Pirates’ lineup, stealing bases, and showing a better approach. Bae’s homerless streak stands at 301 at-bats...  


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About Shawn Childs 970 Articles
Shawn Childs has been a high stakes Fantasy baseball and football player since 2004 where he had success in his first season (three titles and $25,000 in winnings). In early years of the high stakes market in Fantasy baseball, he was ahead of the curve in player evaluation, draft value, and free agent bidding setting up four top-five finishes in the National Fantasy Baseball Championship. He has four AL-only Auction titles, one NL-only title, and five Main Event titles plus an overall title in 2012 at RTFBC (netted $10,000). This success led to an induction into the NFBC Baseball Hall of Fame. His success in the high stakes market led to a career in providing Fantasy Baseball and Fantasy Football content. On the football side, he’s competed and won in all different formats – auctions, draft championship, main events, and high-dollar leagues. He won 2nd place overall in the 2014 Most Accurate Salary Cap Expert contest at FantasyPros. As a dual-sport player, it was natural to transition to the daily games where he is a “swing for the fences type of guy.” Childs has appeared in one FanDuel NFL Live Final and one DraftKings NFL Live Final, a season-ending tournament which led to a couple of chances to win over $1,000,000.