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Pirates Power Rankings: Prepping for the Trade Deadline

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Pittsburgh Pirates' Rowdy Tellez (44) is introduced before the Pirates' home opener baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles in Pittsburgh, Friday, April 5, 2024. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

The Pirates played their third consecutive week of .500 baseball to close out the month of June, taking two of three games on the road against the Cincinnati Reds, their NL Central rival, before dropping a series against the Atlanta Braves.

While Pittsburgh’s inability to separate from the rest of the pack could prove frustrating for fans ready to see them turn the corner, the longer they keep their heads above water, the more likely they make a push for the postseason at the trade deadline.

Here’s a look at what various national outlets had to say about the Buccos.

  • Pittsburgh climbed three spots to No. 17 in MLB.com’s rankings, calling the club a ‘terrifying’ matchup on account of their starting pitching and levying a heap of praise for 2023 first overall pick Paul Skenes.
  • CBS Sports clocked them in one spot behind that, promoting them two spots to No. 18 and giving them hype as a potential dark horse for a deep playoff run.
  • Bleacher Report pointed out that the Pirates’ rotation has the sixth-best ERA in baseball (3.59) and, while they didn’t say it could elevate Pittsburgh to a playoff position, they did raise their rank in the standings two spots to No. 19.
  • USA Today demoted the Pirates to No. 22, calling attention to Rowdy Tellez’s strong June… and the fact that his season stats remain underwhelming despite that. 
  • ESPN, which drops its power rankings on Thursdays—ahead of the series loss to the Braves—moved the Pirates up two spots to No. 22, looking to the trade deadline and wondering whether general manager Ben Cherington, owner Bob Nutting and company will buy or sell… especially given the inning limits that Paul Skenes and Jared Jones remain on.
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