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by user Timothy Moreland

Let us start it off with a little Pirates Preview. First, Kip Wells appears as if he will miss the season. If the Pirates are smart, they will replace Wells with the newly acquired Victor Santos. Santos is equal in value to Wells and should neutralize the loss of Wells. Overall, losing Wells should only cost the Pirates a win or two at most.


Projected Rotation

Zach Duke

<stats> Player=Zach Duke Type=Pitching Years=2004,2005 </stats>

Oliver Perez

<stats> Player=Oliver Perez Type=Pitching Years=2004,2005 </stats>

Paul Maholm

<stats> Player=Paul Maholm Type=Pitching Years=2005 </stats>

Ian Snell

<stats> Player=Ian Snell Type=Pitching Years=2005 </stats>

Victor Santos

<stats> Player=Victor Santos Type=Pitching Years=2005 </stats>


Duke stands out FAR from the pack, with the rest of the starters probably ending up with ERA's in the mid-4.00s. There is great upside in the 2-4 starters. I am not sure what happened to Oliver last year but it looks as if his breakout in 2004 might have been a fluke. I have a feeling Perez will go down with a serious injury this year. Mike Gonzalez will save over 30 games this year with Torres and Marte providing useful innings from the pen. Roberto Hernandez should add some strength to the pen but my memory of him is coming in for Atlanta and letting up a HR every time (10 HR in 60 IP).

Projected Batting Order

CF Chris Duffy

<stats> Player=Chris Duffy Type=Batting Years=2004,2005 </stats>

3B Joe Randa

<stats> Player=Joe Randa Type=Batting Years=2004,2005 </stats>

1B Sean Casey

<stats> Player=Sean Casey Type=Batting Years=2004,2005 </stats>

LF Jason Bay

<stats> Player=Jason Bay Type=Batting Years=2004,2005 </stats>

RF Jeromy Burnitz

<stats> Player=Jeromy Burnitz Type=Batting Years=2004,2005 </stats>

2B Jose Castillo

<stats> Player=Jose Castillo Type=Batting Years=2004,2005 </stats>

SS Jack Wilson

<stats> Player=Jack Wilson Type=Batting Years=2004,2005 </stats>

C Humberto Cota

<stats> Player=Humberto Cota Type=Batting Years=2004,2005 </stats>

PH Craig Wilson

<stats> Player=Craig Wilson Type=Batting Years=2004,2005 </stats>


Duffy, along with McLouth will provide good speed at the top of the order. Duffy will be the third best offensive starter behind Bay and Casey, unless Burnitz can stay healthy all year. Randa is an average at best defensive player with very little offensive upside. Jason Bay could be one of the top 10 non-pitchers in baseball over the next five years. It is a shame he is in a lineup without anyone near his talent-level. Bay deserves a pat on the back for agreeing to a contract far below what he would have made on the market to stick with this franchise. Jack Wilson was recently signed to a 3 year extension worth $20 million :(. 2006 could have been the last year the Pirates had to have such a TERRIBLE offensive player at shortstop and they go and sign him for about $7 million too much. At least he is an amazing defensive player but it does not make up for his offensive shortcomings. Doumit is a much better catcher, offensively and defensively, than Cota and hopefully will unseat him as the starter. Again this year, the Pirates brought in an inferior hitter (Burnitz) to block Craig Wilson from a starting job. If allowed to play, Wilson would be the 2nd best hitter on the team. Although last year he had his shot and got beaned in the hand, sidelining him for a good chunk of the year.

SIDENOTE: There are a lot of players with a first name starting with "J" in the batting order. I am seeing a marketing scheme on the horizon...the killer J's. Too bad Randa and Burnitz will be gone before the end of the year and Wilson can't hit. So much for that idea.

FINAL PROJECTION: 78-84: 5th place in the NL Central...sorry but the curse of Bonds continues with a 14th straight losing season since the Pirates let him walk via free agency. The Buccos are becoming the Braves of losing.

(also available at www.sportspar.blogspot.com)

Other Moreland Previews
NL East Mets Preview Braves Preview Phillies Preview Nationals Preview
NL Central Brewers Preview Pirates Preview
NL West Diamondbacks Preview Rockies Preview
AL East Yankees Preview Blue Jays Preview Orioles Preview
AL Central Indians Preview White Sox Preview Twins Preview
AL West Athletics Preview Angels Preview Rangers Preview

Date

Mon 03/06/06, 3:37 pm EST



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