Sunday, January 31, 2010

Why the Pirates won't stink (as much) in 2010

With PirateFest this weekend, I began thinking about what the team this year would look like. My conclusion, as you can see in detail below, is that they just CAN’T be any worse than last year (I know, famous last words). But, this is the team moving forward. The Pirates need to have some of the young guys step up as they enter their ‘prime.’

A couple of other notes before moving on to the analysis:
*Thursday’s nights FCA meeting with Don Kelly and his wife Carrie went well. It’s neat to hear a person’s story of how they’ve had to work hard and persevere to achieve great things. Big thanks to Pittsburgh Area FCA Director Dennis Drennen for putting it all together.

*The big story at PirateFest this weekend was that Mario Lemieux (owner of the Penguins) made an offer to buy the Pirates. I don’t see it happening anytime soon as the current ownership and management have worked so hard the last two years establishing a foundation for the future. To sell right now would be a waste of all of their investment.

*I need more work at riding on my trainer. The rear end was not happy after only about half an hour. I ended up doing two hours, but didn’t do a good job of keeping my cadence up.

Here’s a position by position breakdown of the Battlin’ Bucs:

Left Field
2009 -Nyjer Morgan (.307 BA/.757 OPS/3 HR/39 RBI) good speed, little pop, and very replaceable.
2010 - Lastings Millege age-24. (.279/.696/4/21 in 65 games) He had a hand injury that he was recovering from last season, so he should be stronger this year.
Advantage: 2010

Center Field
2009 - Nate McClouth (.256/.788/20/70). May have peaked in the first half of 2008. Didn’t really miss him with Andrew McCutchen patrolling center field
2010 - Andrew McCutchen age-23 (.286/.836/12/54 in 108 games after getting called up)
Advantage: 2010 because Cutch happens

Right Field
2009 - To start the year, a combination of Brandon Moss (.236/.668/7/41) and Eric Hinske (.242/.780/8/25) and replaced by Garret Jones for the 2nd half of the year
2010 - Depending on how Jeff Clement looks at first base, either Garret Jones age-28 (.293/.932/21/44 in 82 games) or Ryan Church age-31
Advantage: 2010

Third Base
2009 - Andy LaRoche (.258/.731/12/64)
2010 - Andy LaRoche age-26
Advantage: 2010 just because of having a year under his belt at the major leagues

2009 - Jack Wilson (.255/.654/5/39) and lots of GREAT defense
2010 - Ronny Cedeno age-26 or maybe Bobby Crosby age-30
Advantage: Offensively 2010, Defensively 2009, overall 2009

Second Base
2009 - Freddy Sanchez (.293/.742/7/41) good defense, but some shoulder and knee injuries
2010 - Akinori Iwamura age-30 (.290/.745/1/22 while missing a good chunk of the year with a knee after getting taken out at 2B)
Advantage: Push, but leaning towards 2010 because Iwamura draws more walks and has more speed than Sanchez (so a better #2 hole hitter) and they play comparable defense.

First Base
2009 - Adam LaRoche (.277/.843/25/83) with his standard month-long slump thrown in
2010 - Jeff Clement age-26 or Garret Jones
Advantage: 2009 without question unless Jones ends up playing 1B and equals his season from last year

2009 - Ryan Doumit (.250/.714/10/38)
2010 - Ryan Doumit age-28 has to be healthier this year
Advantage: 2010

Starting Pitchers
Paul Maholm (8-9, 4.44 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, 119 K)
Ian Snell (7-10, 4.44, 1.59, 89)
Zach Duke (11-16, 4.06, 1.31, 106)
Ross Ohlendorf (11-10, 3.92, 1.23, 109)
Jeff Karstens (4-6, 5.42, 1.48, 52)

2010: Maholm-27, Duke-26, Ohlendorf-27, Charlie Morton-26, Kevin Hart-27/Daniel McCutchen-27/Brad Lincoln-24
Advantage: 2010 - Just getting rid of the headcase Snell is a plus. Ohlendorf and Morton are a year older with Ohlendorf’s highlight being the striking out the side with 9 pitches. For Morton, if you take out that UGLY 10 runs in 1 IP against Jen Harrison’s Cubbies, his ERA was 3.66 and WHIP was 1.38. Also, the competition will keep the #5 spot a little better than last year until Brad Lincoln takes it over.

Advantage: 2010

2009: Burnett, Yates, Grabow, Chavez, Veal, Hansen, Capps
2010: Long man (Hart, McCutchen, Carrasco, …), Lopez, Meek, Hanrahan, Donnelly, Dotel
Advantage: 2010 mostly because it can’t be any worse than last year’s and they brought in more veteran guys to stabilize things here.

On top of this, add in that at AAA Indianapolis there are many prospects waiting that will probably get called up this summer: Pedro Alvarez, Jose Tabata, Brad Lincoln, Neal Walker, and Brandon Jones.
Not that I’m calling for a World Series appearance this year, but it just HAS to be better that last season. DOESN’T IT?

Let’s Go Bucs!


Steve said...

A couple of things. I like how the Pirates are trying to improve the cheaper way. Farm System.

I like on base/slugging percentage as a statistical baseline instead of OPS. OPS is too much of a shortcut for me. I want to know who is power and who is walks and who is both. Important in my opinion.

If they can have less than 90 losses this year that would be great. I really am intrigued by Ohlendorf, and love the outfield.

I'll be watching. :)

Oh yeah, Alvarez will probably be a stud!!

Steve said...

Well that was bad phrasing. I didn't mean you took a shortcut. I meant for me it is easier to read on base with slugging. Just what I am used to I guess. Obviously your write up here is not a short cut at all.

I didn't want to be misunderstood. I hate that.

Anyway, I will be really really interested to see how close they can get to .500.

Best of Luck, and best wishes!!!

runningyankee said...

love the optimism!!!!!