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View Full Version : Pittsburgh Pirates... will 2012 see them surprise?



TRF
02-17-2012, 03:39 PM
Last year, the Pirates got off to a hot start. They hung around 1st place for the first half, but eventually faded. Is it possible they built on 2011?

Getting Erik Bedard to anchor the rotation is a gamble, but it's a low risk/high reward gamble. He's only being paid 4.5 mil and is just on a 1 year deal. If he's pitching well and the Pirates are out of it, he might be the most sought after target at the trade deadline. He's got every incentive to pitch well, and frankly when healthy, he's very, very good.

Now it looks like they are about the acquire AJ Burnett. Burnett can still get an out with a K, 173 last year in 190 IP. His ERA will likely drop by a full run going to the NL Central (Might have dropped more had he gone to a bit better team in the NL Central) He could get 200K's this season and give the Pirates a pretty decent 1-2 punch. Once an injury problem, he's been durable since 2008 averaging 33 starts a season.

Maholm is gone but replaced with two better pitchers.

I like a lot of the position players for Pittsburgh, but none more than Andrew McCutchen. He can flat out play. The Pirates are short on power, long on speed. They will play a lot of smallball and try to get teams to beat themselves.

A weakness without a doubt was the bullpen. I liked Veras... gone. Grilli was babied a bit last year, but it was a good year. Meek is awful, Resop... a very up and down career, but he threw a lot of pitches last year. Maybe that isn't a problem for relievers. Hanrahan was outstanding.

But the biggest problem is the offense. Some potential at 3B and CF is rock solid. Everywhere else is kinda meh, but there is enough if the pitching is strong to make some noise again in 2012. I don't think they can contend, but I do think they can make life miserable for the teams that can contend.

bucksfan2
02-17-2012, 03:53 PM
No.

The Central will be competitive and I don't see them better than the Reds, Cards, or Brewers. With an unbalanced schedule they are playing some 45-50 games against those teams.

Also ask yourself, are they better than the:
Braves, Phillies, Marlins, Nationals, Giants, Rockies, Dodgers, and DBacks?

TRF
02-17-2012, 03:58 PM
I don't think they are better than the Reds. I didn't think they were last year either, but they sure pounded the Reds. I'm not impressed with the Dodgers or Rockies, and the Phillies look pretty bad offensively.

They can be a very troublesome team in 2012, and unlike say, the Astros, I don't think thay should be overlooked.

_Sir_Charles_
02-17-2012, 04:06 PM
I like the Pirates, but I liked them last year too. So I think they'll improve, but still be middle of the pack.

Btw, I love the article ESPN posted today. Here's what they said about the Astro's spring training.


HOUSTON: Interestingly, this year's reporting date coincides with the same day the Astros will be eliminated from the NL Central race.

757690
02-17-2012, 04:12 PM
I have the NL Central as a two team race - Reds and Pirates. And I'm serious.

CySeymour
02-17-2012, 04:35 PM
As long as the Pirates aren't giving up much for AJ, I think it's a pretty good more on their part. He's moving from the AL East to the NL Central, which alone will improve his numbers, plus he's moving from Yankee Stadium to PNC Park, which is a very good pitchers park. Could be a great low risk move for them that pays off.

_Sir_Charles_
02-17-2012, 04:35 PM
I have the NL Central as a two team race - Reds and Pirates. And I'm serious.

I have it a 3 team race...for 2nd. Reds run away and hide, Brewers/Cards/Buccos battle it out. I think the Astros will surprise some people and win more than 10 games. :D

westofyou
02-17-2012, 04:36 PM
Another year under .500

MikeThierry
02-17-2012, 04:41 PM
I have the NL Central as a two team race - Reds and Pirates. And I'm serious.


Are they putting LSD in your Skyline Chilli?

CySeymour
02-17-2012, 04:42 PM
I think the Astros will surprise some people and win more than 10 games. :D

When they win their 10th, they'll throw a huge celebration.....then trade Wandy.

traderumor
02-17-2012, 05:17 PM
I say this thread should be started on the same date every year, because its bound to happen at some point.

Probably not this year, though.

757690
02-17-2012, 05:27 PM
Don't underestimate the Burnett trade. He's put up decent peripherals the last few years in the AL East, and his biggest problem has been handling the pressure of NY. He could be a solid #2 15 game winner for the Pirates. The rest of the rotation is solid, but not great. Besides the bullpen, the easier part to fix mid season, they really don't have any holes. On offense, besides McCutchen, nothing great either, but no one that hurts them.

I always am worried about teams with this much young, hungry talent, they have a tendency to surprise. And I've always like Hurdle, especially with a young team.

_Sir_Charles_
02-17-2012, 05:39 PM
The Burnett deal hasn't gone down officially yet has it? I thought it was still "in the works".

*dashes off to check*

~edit~ My bad. They have agreed to the deal. Just pending physical it looks like. Doesn't look to be any word on the prospects heading NY's way though.

George Anderson
02-17-2012, 05:54 PM
I say this thread should be started on the same date every year, because its bound to happen at some point.

Probably not this year, though.

It is why I keep buying my lottery tickets. I am bound to hit one of these days.

However I do like my chances of hitting the lottery more than the Pirates chances of being a serious contender.

TRF
02-17-2012, 05:58 PM
Don't underestimate the Burnett trade. He's put up decent peripherals the last few years in the AL East, and his biggest problem has been handling the pressure of NY. He could be a solid #2 15 game winner for the Pirates. The rest of the rotation is solid, but not great. Besides the bullpen, the easier part to fix mid season, they really don't have any holes. On offense, besides McCutchen, nothing great either, but no one that hurts them.

I always am worried about teams with this much young, hungry talent, they have a tendency to surprise. And I've always like Hurdle, especially with a young team.

Burnett + Bedard has a good chance of winning 30 games. I'm not sure what the rest of the rotation can do, but that is a solid 1-2 punch if Bedard can stay healthy.

RedlegJake
02-17-2012, 06:06 PM
I like Pittsburgh to play much like last year - tough at the start and fading. Burnett, I think will surprise many coming back to the NL and Bedard may, though I think he's less of a sure thing. They're young and hungry, still not quite there but not as far away as a lot people think.

westofyou
02-17-2012, 06:18 PM
Bedard, the new Pere Schourek, 300 innings since 2008, fork him Dano

MikeThierry
02-17-2012, 06:30 PM
Bedard, the new Pere Schourek, 300 innings since 2008, fork him Dano

A rare Pere Schourek reference, lol

PuffyPig
02-17-2012, 06:30 PM
Don't underestimate the Burnett trade. He's put up decent peripherals the last few years in the AL East, and his biggest problem has been handling the pressure of NY. He could be a solid #2 15 game winner for the Pirates.

AJ is 35 years old and has hit more than 13 wins once in his life. The Pirates themselves haven't had a 15 game winner in over a decade (I got tired of looking back more than 10 years, so who knows how long it has been). In the last 4 years, their top winner has averaged 10 wins, with a high of 12.


It would take a perfect storm for him to win 15 games with the Pirates.

Johnny Footstool
02-17-2012, 06:38 PM
They'll have a very difficult time scoring runs. Very difficult.

_Sir_Charles_
02-17-2012, 07:16 PM
The 2 prospects heading back to the Yanks for Burnett look to be Exicardo Cayones and Diego Moreno

http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/player.cgi?utm_source=direct&utm_medium=linker&utm_campaign=Linker&id=cayone001exi

http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/player.cgi?utm_source=direct&utm_medium=linker&utm_campaign=Linker&id=moreno001die

RedsManRick
02-17-2012, 07:21 PM
I see them as around an 80 win team, assuming good health. They just don't have the bats.

powersackers
02-17-2012, 07:37 PM
They have some guys that might surprise like Alex Presley and Jose Tabata. Along with McCutchen that's a very good young OF.

The Reds won't be running off with the division. A nice offseason it was, but not +15 to +20 win offseason that it would take to "run away with it".

My Guesses (at best):
Latos +3 wins
Marshall +3 wins
Ludwick/Heisey platoon: +2 wins
Madson +2 wins
Cozart/Rolen/Francisco and other roster depth improvements because of the signings/trades gives us: +4 wins

That's +14 so 93 Wins. Probably just enough to win it over the runner-up Cardinals. But not a 100 win run away with it season.

_Sir_Charles_
02-17-2012, 07:59 PM
I see them as around an 80 win team, assuming good health. They just don't have the bats.

I just don't know about that. I really thought that last year, their pitching played well above what they should have...but their bats seriously underperformed.

CF McCutchen: I think everybody here would agree that he's their best position player. He's gotten better I think each year. His BA went down quite a bit last year, but his production went up. I don't see him dropping off anytime soon.

2B Walker: He's been pretty steady the past couple of years. He's got some decent power, hits for a solid average.

RF Tabata: The biggest drawback with Jose is his lack of power. He hits for a solid average, has a nice so/bb ratio and he'll get his fair share of extra base hits. I don't think he hurts the club much, but for a RF'er they could certainly use more pop.

LF Presley: Pretty much a Tabata clone at the plate. Decent but they need more OOmph here. McLouth could be a possibility here, but I think they want the 2008 version just like the Reds want the 2008 version of Ludwick.

1B Jones: After his 2009 season, I was pretty high on Garrett. If he can bounce back, he's shown he can hit MLB pitching with authority. IIRC they also still have Derrek Lee. It wouldn't shock me at all to see him have a bounce back year too.

SS Barmes: Clint is a VERY solid shortstop. He's not flashy defensively, but he's rock solid. And with the bat, he's got some pop. You might be surprised to see that he smacked 23 dingers back in '09.

C Barajas: Mediocre is the word that comes to mind. But he does still have some pop in that bat. His problem is managing to put wood on the leather.

3B McGehee: If he can bounce back to his 2009-10 form, they'll be fine here. But what could really help the Pirates is if Alvarez finally shows the promise he had in the minors. He's got the ability, he's just got to put it together in the show. 8th best prospect in the minors in '10.

All things considered, sure, they lack power...but there aren't any really weak spots either. Just about every player (other than McCutchen) had a down year offensively last season. So even some moderate bounce-back could really help them. But the odds of everything going right are so remote, that's why I see them as middle of the pack.

Blitz Dorsey
02-18-2012, 03:10 AM
They'll be decent, especially for Pirate standards. This will be their best team in 21 years, but they'll still struggle to get over .500. I bet they finish right around 80 wins. They'll contend for a while and then fade. Similar to last year, but they'll be a better team. I like Hurdle as their manager. And I definitely think the top of their rotation led by Bedard, Burnett and Morton could be more-than solid. Big risk with Bedard and Burnett, but high reward. And if you're the Pirates, this is clearly the best team you've had in ages, so of course you're going to be excited. But they have no one in the middle of the order to provide punch. Teams will pitch around McCutchen -- and he should be more of a 2-hole hitter anyway, not the lynchpin 3-hole hitter. They'll have to rely guys like McGehee and Alvarez to provide punch and that is likely not going to happen. Alvarez has bust written all over him. This season will be huge for him. Also not sure about D'Arnaud at short. I'd like our very own Zack Cozart over him in a heartbeat. I do like the home-grown Walker kid at second. He'll help them score runs. But overall, they're going to struggle offensively big-time. I also think there is no chance Hanrahan will be anywhere near as good as he was last year as their closer.

mth123
02-18-2012, 06:56 AM
I just don't know about that. I really thought that last year, their pitching played well above what they should have...but their bats seriously underperformed.

CF McCutchen: I think everybody here would agree that he's their best position player. He's gotten better I think each year. His BA went down quite a bit last year, but his production went up. I don't see him dropping off anytime soon.

2B Walker: He's been pretty steady the past couple of years. He's got some decent power, hits for a solid average.

RF Tabata: The biggest drawback with Jose is his lack of power. He hits for a solid average, has a nice so/bb ratio and he'll get his fair share of extra base hits. I don't think he hurts the club much, but for a RF'er they could certainly use more pop.

LF Presley: Pretty much a Tabata clone at the plate. Decent but they need more OOmph here. McLouth could be a possibility here, but I think they want the 2008 version just like the Reds want the 2008 version of Ludwick.

1B Jones: After his 2009 season, I was pretty high on Garrett. If he can bounce back, he's shown he can hit MLB pitching with authority. IIRC they also still have Derrek Lee. It wouldn't shock me at all to see him have a bounce back year too.

SS Barmes: Clint is a VERY solid shortstop. He's not flashy defensively, but he's rock solid. And with the bat, he's got some pop. You might be surprised to see that he smacked 23 dingers back in '09.

C Barajas: Mediocre is the word that comes to mind. But he does still have some pop in that bat. His problem is managing to put wood on the leather.

3B McGehee: If he can bounce back to his 2009-10 form, they'll be fine here. But what could really help the Pirates is if Alvarez finally shows the promise he had in the minors. He's got the ability, he's just got to put it together in the show. 8th best prospect in the minors in '10.

All things considered, sure, they lack power...but there aren't any really weak spots either. Just about every player (other than McCutchen) had a down year offensively last season. So even some moderate bounce-back could really help them. But the odds of everything going right are so remote, that's why I see them as middle of the pack.

1. Lee is a Free Agent who will probably retire.
2. Pedro Alvarez will be the 3B and their best hope for a middle of the order power threat.
3. McGehee and Garrett Jones will split 1B and could provide some sock in a platoon.
4. McCutchen would be my choice as the ideal player for the Reds to acquire if possible and he's the best they have. He would fit well leading off for most teams, but I'd hit him 3rd in Pittsburgh.
5. At some point Starling Marte may arrive and turn Presley into a 4th OF and that may help as well.

Tabata RF
Walker 2B
McCutchen CF
Alvarez 3B
Jones/McGehee 1B
Presley LF
Barajas C
Barmes SS

Burnett
Bedard
Morton
NcDonald
Karstens
Correia

They are a little more promising than in past years, but I can't see them any higher than 4th and they won't be above .500. What they have done is help the rebuild with the moves they have made. Burnett and Bedard should both be decent trade pieces at the deadline and some of the kids might be ready then. If they could get a power option for 1B for say a bedard at the deadlne deal, it would help them a lot. Bedard back to the Red Sox for Lars Anderson might make some sense at some point in July. One of the young pitchers might be pushing for a look in the rotation by then.

marcshoe
02-18-2012, 06:38 PM
Not too many years ago I was listening to a Pirates pre-season show on late-night AM radio with the announcers going on and on about how this would be the year the Pirates turned it all around--they might even win it all! A local celebrity (wish I remembered his name) came on and was being interviewed about some concert he was doing, and the exchange went something like this:

Host: So are you excited about the Pirates' chances this year?

Guest: What???

Host: Don't you think this team's going to be a real contender?

Guest: (scoffs) If this team finishes over five hundred, I"ll walk from here to Harrisburg!

This reminds me of that.

bucksfan2
02-19-2012, 01:48 PM
There was a time when Burnett and Bedard would have been very good additions to a club, any club. That time was about 5 years ago. I don't quite understand the Burnett trade for the Pirates. It kinda reminds me of the Matt Morris trade a handful of years ago. Your giving up something, and talking on salary for what? I think the Pirates are heading in the right direction (I said that) but I don't Burnett will be there when they actually turn into a team with promise.

mth123
02-19-2012, 02:16 PM
There was a time when Burnett and Bedard would have been very good additions to a club, any club. That time was about 5 years ago. I don't quite understand the Burnett trade for the Pirates. It kinda reminds me of the Matt Morris trade a handful of years ago. Your giving up something, and talking on salary for what? I think the Pirates are heading in the right direction (I said that) but I don't Burnett will be there when they actually turn into a team with promise.

I think these guys were just acquired to be dealt for prospects down the road. If you want to supplement your own draft and develop process to assist with a rebuild, there really isn't another alternative with the new CBA. No longer can you take guys late and pay over slot to supplement your talent and no longer can huge amounts go to foreign players. I think this may end-up being a reasonable method for helping the future. They didn't really give up much talent and guys like Bedard and Burnett may fetch pieces down the road that will provide help. The Pirates have pitching coming and they'll make these guys expendable. Bedard to a contender this July may fetch a future every day player that the Pirates wouldn't have had otherwise. The same may happen with Burnett next year.

WebScorpion
02-21-2012, 11:54 AM
They've managed to throw together a huge collection of formerly promising players coming off a down year or two. If every one of them bounces back they could be a formidable team. The odds are a few of them recover which will probably mean a middle of the road season for the buccos. I'd guess they come in just under .500 this year. :dunno: