Even if the team isn’t quite a contender, there are plenty of reasons to follow the 2020 Pittsburgh Pirates. Bryan Reynolds and Josh Bell are interesting hitters, though there’s a decent chance that neither ever replicates their 2019 success. Chris Archer is a fun puzzle; can he regain the scintillating form he flashed at times on the Rays, or will he be more 2019 Chris Archer, all homers and walks? Mitch Keller is awesome, except when he’s terrible. Those are all storylines you can follow as a Pirates fan. Me? I’m going to be watching Joe Musgrove.
Musgrove put together a nice season in 2019, his second straight year of more than 100 innings and more than 2 WAR. That sounds great, but it’s a little less impressive under the hood. His RA9-WAR has been significantly lower, and if you’re more of an underlying skill person than a runs allowed type, his above-average FIP’s have been misleading; they’re largely down to his suppression of home runs, and if that skill fades, his results might start to look more like his xFIP:
Joe Musgrove, Home Run Suppressor?