Friday, March 18, 2011

Pirates will suck in 2011

By Jeff

Let's not pull any punches when it comes to the 2011 Pittsburgh Pirates. They are going to have a long, painful season.


The season begins in two weeks from today, and the team still doesn't have a fifth starter. Well, they don't really have any starters. James McDonald was once a highly regarded prospect, but he isn't a real No. 1 the Pirates will use him as this season. Paul Maholm had ERA higher than 5 last season, Ross Ohlendorf is a No. 4 guy, Charlie Morton has yet to put his game together, and Kevin Correia stunk last year and is having a terrible spring.
Rumor has it, The Pirates could have traded
Maholm for Alex Rios a few years ago. Oops.

It's normal for teams to have question marks at the No. 4 and 5 spots of a rotation. Having red flags at all five slots is asking for disaster.


The poor starting pitching is really frustrating when you look at the potential the lineup has. It actually has a chance to be decent to good this year!

Jose Tabata had a good rookie campaign last season. If he can hit near .300 again, the table will be set for Neil Walker, Andrew McCutchen, Pedro Alvarez, Garrett Jones and Lyle Overbay.

OK, so most people outside of Pittsburgh won't recognize the names above, let alone get a little excited about them. But the truth is the top of this lineup can do some damage. Other than Tabata, they all have 20-homer power. The problem is Alvarez is the only one in the group with the potential to hit 30+ home runs any time soon.

Ronny Cedeno and Chris Snyder are not going to do anything to help the offense on a consistent basis, but six out of eight non-pitchers spots isn't too bad.

I'm not saying it's a championship caliber lineup, but it's one of the better ones this team has had in a while. They will get in funks, as they're young, but they will be exciting. McCutchen and Tabata could steal more than 30 bases apiece and they're going to take a lot of extra bases on hits to the outfield. Alvarez is a year older, and Walker hit higher than .300 last year. It's OK to get pumped to see this lineup.


Unfortunately, defense is a little iffy with this squad. Overbay and McCutchen are excellent defenders, but that's it. Tabata is good, but fans still need to see how he handles a full season in the expansive left field of PNC Park. Alvarez is destined for first base, Jones/Matt Diaz are eh in right field, Walker is still learning second and Ronny Cedeno is one of the most inconsistent fielders I've ever seen. One play he will look like a young Jack Wilson, but then the next he looks like Hanley Ramirez with errors all over the diamond. Snyder is an upgrade over Ryan Doumit, but so would one of those nets that you throw a ball into and it bounces back.


I'm not going to pretend I have a clue what this bullpen will do. Joel Hanrahan and Evan Meek are good, but I haven't seen the rest of them pitch much. They are going to need to be good, as they are going to be called upon early and often with this starting rotation.


Clint Hurdle has received nothing but glowing reviews from players and people covering this team. He is completely different than John Russell and Jim Tracy. He has fire and shows emotion. But that doesn't mean he will help this team win.

It's almost unfair to say the manager of the Buccos is good or bad at his job. The Marx brothers made a great point in their latest post about the Lloyd McClendon era Pirates in that it would be hard for any manager, no matter his pedigree, to win with the talent they're given.

What is unfair to bring up is that Hurdle was fired by the Colorado Rockies, replaced by Tracy and then the Rockies went on a tear. Different players respond differently to different coaches. Just because Tracy works in Colorado and Hurdle didn't except for one season, doesn't mean that Hurdle can't succeed in Pittsburgh.

Of course, the talent Hurdle has around him right now means he can't succeed in Pittsburgh.

Mega Man 2 Theme


  1. Is it bad that I think Correia is a bigger question mark than Chaz Morton? I know I'm in the minority, but looking at the advanced stats, it does look like he could be serviceable, especially if he really is allowed to throw his slider again (Amazing research here if you're into the PitchFX graphs I used in posts like my Johan Santana one:

    Infield defense should be much better with Overbay, and Walker finally having some time to learn 2B. I'll play devil's advocate with Cutch because his UZR/150 was -13.6 (cost the team 13.6 runs per 150 games played), which would make him the 2nd worst defensive CF in the league last year-with Matt Kemp the worst.

    I could do 2 or 3 posts just on the flaws of the UZR stat, so I won't really go into this too much. That said, this is the stat everyone pointed to when people complained that Nate McLouth was the worst defensive outfielder the year he won the gold glove.

    The bullpen might actually be pretty competitive. Meek and Hanrahan should be fine. Resop is showing signs he could be an 8th inning guy for most teams after failing as a starter. Jose Veras was a great signing, as he could be Javier Lopez 2.0 (sign old guy who overperforms contract, swap at trade deadline).

    As for your song pick,
    Mega man 2=best game in the Mega Man series

  2. Oh and I forgot. I believe the Vegas line is 67.5. You taking the over or under.

    Swan is the sports gambling master right? Maybe I should ask him.

  3. It's not bad you think Correia is a bigger question mark. He is coming off a bad year and is stinking this spring.

    Morton has a big hill to climb. He was given multiple opportunities last year and he was terrible. Maybe if people saw more of his slider, they would hit it more. Just a thought.

    Give me the under. I really like that line, though. I think 67 is what they win this year.