30. Pittsburgh Pirates
The Pirates just lost 100 or more games for the third time since 2001. Yes, we know there is some sort of rebuild in place, but bringing in the likes of Roberto Perez and Jose Quintana won’t expedite the process. With one-time key cogs in Adam Frazier and Jacob Stallings no longer part of the plan, the hill is still mighty high for the Pirates to trudge. Now, Bryan Reynolds (.302 batting average, 24 home runs, 90 RBIs in 2021) and Ke’Bryan Hayes are talented enough to make opponents weary. Though neither can help a pitching staff which ranked 28th in team ERA (5.08) last season.
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29. Arizona Diamondbacks
Despite 2021’s dismal 110 losses and just 20 wins on the road, there is actually reason to believe the Diamondbacks will be noticeably improved this season. Now, we’re not talking winning-record good, but more consistently competitive. Why? For starters, versatile rookie Pavin Smith, infielder Josh Rojas and Daulton Varsho each clubbed 11 home runs in 2021. There is obvious work to be done on the mound, but the signing of Mark Melancon, and his 2021-leading 39 saves, is rather intriguing.
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