Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Pirates Makeover


The Pittsburgh Pirates haven't had a winning season since the Bush administration (old Bush, not young Bush) way back in 1992. This year will not end the futility as they currently sit on a pitiful 36-69 record on their way to an 18th straight losing campaign. When will their fortunes change? Is .500 remotely possible in the near future? Hard to say "yes" to either of those questions considering we're talking about a franchise mired in nearly 2 decades of hopelessness.

Fear not though Bucco fans, because hope is on the way. A new crop of players are in black & gold and are infusing some youth into the lineup and a new style of ball on the field.

Offense:
C- Chris Snyder was just acquired from Arizona, and he and Ryan Doumit (when he recovers from a concussion) will form a formidable backstop duo.

1B- Garrett Jones was scooped out of the minor league garbage bin and has produce admirably for little coin.

2B- Neil Walker has converted relatively smoothly to 2nd base after coming up through the minors as at 3rd. He's hitting for average and power will likely develop for the 24 year old in the coming years.

SS- Ronny Cedeno is nothing to write home about and is a weak spot on the Pirates roster.

3B- Pedro Alverez is only 23 and still learning how to hit, but is getting valuable experience at the big league level.

OF- Jose Tabata, Andrew McCutchen, and Lastings Milledge are all 25 and under. Tabata has really come along in the past few weeks with the stick, McCutchen is a future perennial all-star, and Milledge has finally seemed to put it all together.

A power bat seems to be what is lacking from the lineup, but Alvarez, Jones, and Walker should provide some pop in 2011 with others providing average and speed. They could really meld into a fun group to watch.

Pitching:
Herein lies the problem...keeping runs off the board. Zach Duke and Paul Maholm have not panned out like the Pirates have hoped and one, and possibly both, may be traded away here in August or during the offseason. Starting pitching is a sore spot in the Steel City right now, with Brad Lincoln serving as the only real prospect with MLB time to have 2011 impact aspirations. Jeff Karstens and Ross Ohlendorf are serviceable, but hardly worth building upon as a foundation.

Relief is another matter, Evan Meek and Joel Hanrahan have combined to make a backend of the bullpen worthy of notice. Octavio Dotel, Javier Lopez, and DJ Carrasco also did good jobs, but were just dealt away. James McDonald, who was sent over for Dotel from the Dodgers, has a great live arm and could have a bright future as either a reliever or starter. Just has to harness that raw ability.

Help on the Way?
*Currently in Triple-A or Double-A
Bats- Steve Pearce/1B/OF, Alex Presley/OF, Jim Negrych/2B, Josh Harrison/2B, and Matt Hague/1B.

Arms- Michael Dubee, Rudy Owens, Justin Wilson, Tony Watson, Daniel Moskos, and Jeff Locke.

So how long before the Pirates contend? At least 2-3 seasons away depending on how some of their bats progress and minor league arms develop.

8 comments:

22gigantes said...

No mention of John Bowker? Just curious as to what your take is on him now that's he joined the Bucs.

GM-Carson said...

Bowker could be a decent bat, but he's struggled at the MLB level in with limited exposure the past 2 seasons. Definitely wasn't a bad move by either team. Giants needed Lopez, and the Pirates get some possible help.

GM-Carson said...

Pirates continue makeover, grabbing pitchers Chris Resop and Chan Ho Park off waivers.

Jim said...

Good stuff.

I agree. It will be 2-3 years before Pittsburgh has any hopes of a decent rotation. By that time the "core fore" will be entrenched but Garrett Jones will probably be to old.

I thought the Pirates should have traded Jones for a few pitching prospects. Maybe next year? what do you think?

Also, I don't see Alvarez sticking at third. Terrible going to his right among other problems. If he has to move to first at some point, that will hurt the offense. His power is not as valuable at first. Walker could move to third, but again his bat isn't as valuable as a 2bman.

Jim said...

Good stuff.

I agree. It will be 2-3 years before Pittsburgh has any hopes of a decent rotation. By that time the "core fore" will be entrenched but Garrett Jones will probably be to old.

I thought the Pirates should have traded Jones for a few pitching prospects. Maybe next year? what do you think?

Also, I don't see Alvarez sticking at third. Terrible going to his right among other problems. If he has to move to first at some point, that will hurt the offense. His power is not as valuable at first. Walker could move to third, but again his bat isn't as valuable as a 2bman.

GM-Carson said...

They have hope, and that's what matters right now. I really think they got good arm in the form of James McDonald. He may thrive now that he's outta the pressure cooker of LA.

JeffreyOB said...

People over the last couple years have trashed the Pirates for some/most of the moves they've made. I disagree. Look at players like Nady and McClouth now. The only one that was tough to stomach was Bay. The lean towards obtaining young, high-risk/high-reward players has been apparent for a couple seasons, but when your strategy involves a youth movement, noticeable results will usually take some time.

That said, I love the core of McCutch, Tabata, Alvarez, and Walker. I remain skeptical about Jones and Milledge. I was expecting a regression in Jones' numbers this year, I'm glad that he's proven me wrong thus far. I liked the trades for Snyder and Bowker, and was ecstatic about the McDonald trade. I've been keeping an eye on him for two years in my 5 keeper, 12 team format NL only fantasy league, and am excited to see what the Bucs can do with his potential. Hopefully his first start is an indicator of things to come.

GM-Carson said...

Hey, I'm a PA boy, so I root for the Pirates at all times (except when they play my Phillies). I really hope they can forge a winning team in the next year or so and then hopefully the fans will return to that beautiful stadium.