Leading up to the start of the 2010 Regular Season, Diamond Hoggers will preview each of MLB’s 30 teams. Today’s team is the Pittsburgh Pirates. Stay tuned as Diamond Hoggers will preview every team division by division until the start of the regular season.
When talking about the Pittsburgh Pirates, every discussion really begins and ends with Andrew Mccutchen. He is the face of the franchise and already a star on the rise. Before his second season begins (which will be his first full campaign), there are already discussions about why the Pirates have not offered Mccutchen a long-term extension. Without a doubt, he looks to be that sure of a bet to be a big thing in baseball for a long, long time. The Pirates constantly make the case that they’re re-building, and in that process there is no one better to build around then this young centerfielder. He’s 23 years old coming off a rookie season with a .286 average, 12 home runs and 54 RBIs in four months of everyday duty, plus superlative defense.
Look in comparison, at the right fielder on the Pirates; Lastings Milledge. Milledge was supposed to be everything that Mccutchen already appears on his way to becoming. Ryan Doumit, the catcher is a nice player who can rake but struggles to stay in the lineup. Third baseman Andy LaRoche was a highly touted young player who is at a crossroads in his career now.
From there they’ve got Akinori Iwamura at second base, Garrett Jones in right field, Jeff Clement at first base and Ronny Cedeno at shortstop. That’s an awful lot of cast-offs from around the league. And that’s really what Pirates baseball has been reduced to. And don’t forget Bobby Crosby (trying to make the team over Cedeno) when talking in terms of guys who are cast-offs.
We’re not a fan of their pitching staff. They’re really just a bunch of guys. They’ll trot out Paul Maholm as their ace. From there they go to Ross Ohlendorf, Zach Duke, Charlie Morton, and Kevin Hart. Now, one of these guys could jump up and win 18 games, but we’d say that’s a rather unlikely bet.
The closer is Octavio Dotel, another cast-off from elsewhere around the league and a guy who’s sure to implode at some point and lose his job to some young arm in Pittsburgh. They should have hung onto burly Matt Capps in our opinion. The set up guy will be either Joel Hanrahan or Evan Meek.
We won’t mix words, the cupboard is bare in Pittsburgh unless you’re talking about Andrew Mccutchen. It’d be nice if Doumit stayed healthy and Lastings Milledge realized his potential, but you’re probably again looking at a 92ish loss team. And about 9 of their wins will come against the Reds who can never seem to just go out in a business-like fashion and sweep this bums.
The Pirates aren’t really even on the right track. They have one soon to be superstar and a bunch of other guys who are really nothing to write about. Watch Mccutchen make you go wow and then remember that he’s buried in Pittsburgh. It’s too bad, but we still see these guys as the worst team in the National League and potentially all of baseball.