The 2022 Major League Baseball season is officially over with the Houston Astros winning the World Series in 6 games. The only good thing was that Dusty Baker got that World Series Ring. The Astros proved once again that good pitching will shut down good hitting. The 4th and 5h games were the pivotal games, especially the 4th game when the Astros no hit the Phillies. I think it gave them the phycological edge. Winning the tight game 5 with some spectacular defense sealed the deal. The Pirates 2022 season ended on opening day. This is the season where management had 2 goals, get a top draft choice and keep player control until 2028. There was no question that the Pirates fielded a team that was guaranteed to lose a lot of games and then made in game decisions to cement loses. This was a team that lost games on purpose, and we will prove that point later. First let us look at what the Pirates could have done during the 2022 season and the most likely result.
The Pirates could have decided to put the best team on the field and win as many games as possible, with those new young players. We will even give them a break and say that Roberto Perez does not get hurt and plays the entire season. Oneil Cruz and Rudolfo Castro would have played full seasons. There would have been other young players who would have played a lot more games. If the Pirates had gone all out and tried to win as many games as possible this year, they probably would have come close to playing .500 ball, winning between 75 and 83 games. The bullpen was too thin, and the starting pitching was not good enough to do much better than that. They would have been drafting in the middle of the pack, unless they got extremely lucky in the lottery. The young players would have become free agents in 2027. We all know the Pirates did not do that; therefore they have control of these players until 2028. These players did gain considerable major league experience, but not enough to move up their free agency. Here is what the Pirates did do.
It has been hard for many people to get their head around the fact that the Pirates did exactly what they wanted to do in 2022, lose baseball games. They lost baseball games on purpose. As much I find this repulsive, I blame this on the MLB system, rather on the Pirates. The Pirates just played the game that MLB has set up and should reap the rewards with some pretty good seasons coming up. The Pirate management team could not come out and say they were losing games on purpose but there really is no other explanation for who they put on the field. They allowed certain players who shall remain nameless, because they have families and children, to make 1072 plate appearances. That is equivalent to two full time position players, or 22% of your starting lineup. This group of individuals had a batting average of .156, an on base percentage of .218 and slugged .230. To put this in perspective, in 2016 the San Franscisco Giants pitching staff had a batting average of .144. It was like the Pirates, instead of using a DH, let pitchers’ bat in two spots of the batting order. The Pirates allowed a group of pitchers to throw 31% of the team’s innings for an ERA of 6.31. I did not include position players pitching in that number. Many times, they put these pitchers in key moments of the game when there were much better choices. According to baseball reference the Pirates were fortunate to lose only 100 games. Despite management’s efforts, the Pirates were a respectable 21-27 in one run games. If they could have done that well in all their games, they would have won 70 games, but management made sure they did not. The 2022 Pirates did exactly what they wanted to do. The 2023 Pirates will contend for the division title. There will be a few things that will have to happen, but more on that tomorrow.