That's exactly how my site works - it turns a folder structure of markdown(ish) files into a folder structure of indexed and cross-linked html, then rsync's the result to my server. No database, no dependencies, just files and a python script or two.
I even exported and converted 400 posts from WordPress using a small script.
I looked at pelican at the time. I can't remember why I didn't use it, but rolling my own was a fun project.