Wednesday, March 4, 2009

#30 Pittsburgh Pirates

Pittsburgh Pirates
Last Year: 67-95 (6th in NL Central)
This Year: 6th in NL Central

The Pirates franchise is a disaster. The last time this team finished above .500 was 1992. That will give them the longest streak of losing season in U.S. major sports history. The last team to finish above .500 was a team with pre-steroids Barry Bonds and was coached by a Jim Leyland who was only 48 years old. This team has history with Bonds, Roberto Clemente, Willy Stargell, Bill Mazeroski, Ralph Kiner and Honus Wagner. This team has won 5 World Series titles; only the Yankees, Cardinals, Athletics, Red Sox and Dodgers have more. This current team in no way resembles those teams. The biggest problem is that no one seems to care about the Pirates (including the front office) and that is a shame.

Opening Day Lineup (w/projections)
LF Nyjer Morgan .295 2 HR 35 RBI 32 SB
2B Freddy Sanchez .297 9 HR 65 RBI
CF Nate McLouth .273 24 HR 95 RBI 20 SB
C Ryan Doumit .303 16 HR 75 RBI
1B Adam LaRoche .271 21 HR 87 RBI
LF Brandon Moss .265 18 HR 75 RBI
3B Andy LaRoche .255 13 HR 44 RBI
SS Jack Wilson .273 5 HR 47 RBI
P Paul Maholm

LHP Paul Maholm 10-12 3.87 ERA 133 K
RHP Ian Snell 7-12 4.35 ERA 143 K
LHP Zach Duke 4-11 4.78 ERA 90 K
LHP Tom Gorzelanny 5-9 4.92 ERA 93 K
RHP Ross Ohlendorf 3-7 5.34 ERA 103 K

CP RHP Matt Capps 3.12 ERA 20 SV 45 K

Best Case Scenario: Everyone else decides to cancel their season or the MLB decides not to drug test the Pirates. Seriously if Andy LaRoche delivers on his potential, McLouth and Doumit don't regress, and Duke and Gorzelanny pitch out of their mind they could win 70 games and not be the worst team in the MLB.

Worst Case Scenario: They are the worst case scenario. They don't find a single starter worth a MLB jersey. McLouth, Doumit or Adam LaRoche get hurt or traded. This team struggles to win 60 games.

Most Important Player to Success: Ian Snell. They need a pitcher to step up and at least win a few games for them and pitch into the 7th inning. He has the stuff and if he gets it going he can be that guy. The problem is they still need a lot more than him.

Outlook: This is a terrible team. They have some guy who can hit some home runs, but they have no one that a pitcher is scared to throw to. They also don't bat for average and lack speed which a young, small market team needs. The big problem is the rotation. They don't have a single pitcher who can stop a losing streak and there will be plenty of them. This team is a total wasteland.

The most interesting thing about the Pittsburgh franchise is that they have been at the bottom for over a decade now. They get high draft picks but they are incompetent at drafting and developing players. They only have 3 players in Baseball America's Top 100 prospects. That is terrible for a team drafting in the top 5 every year. To show their ineptitude here are their 1st round picks from 1999-2004: Bobby Bradley, Sean Burnett, John Van Benschoten, Bryan Bullington, Paul Maholm and Neil Walker. The next player taken in those drafts in order are Barry Zito, Boof Bonser, Colt Griffin, BJ Upton, John Danks and Jered Weaver. That makes Kevin McHale look like a genius. I don't see the Pirates making the playoffs anytime soon.

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