Dejan Kovacevic hosted my show this past Friday. He's got a weird way of discussing the Pirates. Unless you're familiar with each player and their nuances, you're not supposed to say the Pirates are going to stink.
Developing such familiarity seems awful time-consuming. Here’s the Reader's Digest version:
The Pirates' best players are Josh Bell and Bryan Reynolds. So it's highly likely that the Pirates' lineup will be subpar.
The Pirates' No. 1 starter is Joe Musgrove, who pitched middle relief when he was with Houston. So it's highly likely that the Pirates' rotation will be subpar. (If you want to argue that somebody else is really the No. 1 starter, OK. He sucks, too.)
The Pirates' closer is in police custody. So it's highly likely that the Pirates' bullpen will be subpar.
Bob Nutting is their owner. The Pirates' payroll will be among MLB's bottom three, and their player development doesn't offer the quality alternative to spending that, say, Tampa Bay's does.
The Pirates lost their first seven exhibition games. That doesn't count for much, but it's not meaningless.
There's no need to complicate. Best-case scenario, the Pirates lose 85 games. Doing even worse seems probable. Predicting anything more optimistic - including the generic "let's wait and see" - is just PR, cheerleading, pretending and obfuscation.
You don't have to be Bill James to see that.
Beat ‘em, Bucs.