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Thread: The 2011 Look At The Pittsburgh #Pirates And Predictions

      
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    Default The 2011 Look At The Pittsburgh #Pirates And Predictions

    It is time for the 2011 Pittsburgh Pirates season and with every season comes Prediction time. I was contemplating whether to do a stats prediction because they are hard to do and you're held to your predictions if they are wrong and nobody ever remembers if you happen to be right with one or two. When it comes to the Pittsburgh Pirates, it's difficult to be right. Even someone that thought Charlie Morton was bad before the 2010 season started wouldn't have predicted a 7.57 ERA

    Catcher :

    Chris Snyder #19

    Chris Snyder was brought in along with Pedro Ciriaco in a 5 player trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2010 to help out the Catcher position. Ryan Doumit, the Pittsburgh Pirates starting Catcher for the past couple of season is a well known injury liability, which of course he saw injury once more in 2010. The other thing he is, is poor defensively and at calling games. Both of these to which Chris Snyder is good at.

    Neither Chris Snyder or Ryan Doumit are going to hit for average. Snyder sits around the .220-.230 mark, Doumit around .250. At those levels, it's difficult to see the gain. Both hit for similar power but it's the defense and game calling that the Pirates need the most, not a .250 hitter. As the Pittsburgh Pirates progress forward with a young, below average pitching staff, they need a game caller that can help get the most out of them and they need a catcher that can block the often thrown wild pitch. It's confidence building to a small extent.

    I expect little from Chris Snyder offensively but Defensively and the Game Calling I expect to see an improvement with the team.

    .231 BA | 13 HR | .326 OBP | .410 SLG | .736 OPS


    1B :

    Lyle Overbay #37

    During the Offseason the Pittsburgh Pirates went out and signed Free Agent 1B, Lyle Overbay to a 1 year contract of a mere $5 million. With the team deciding to move Garrett Jones exclusively to RF and implementing a platoon out there with Garrett Jones and Matt Diaz, it left a spot at 1B open.

    Lyle Overbay in nobody's world is a long term solution and Management obviously felt this way too by giving Overbay just a 1 year contract and then evaluating the 1B position again next year not only at the Major League level but in the system as well. With the Pittsburgh Pirates only having Steve Pearce as an MLB option and with his lack of consistency and health, the Pirates opted for Lyle Overbay.

    What Overbay brings more than anything is good Defense. Adam LaRoche was a good Defender too but he had the chance of playing behind a better Defensive infield. With Adam LaRoche gone, the Pittsburgh Pirates need to improve Defense at 1B. With erratic throws and weaknesses defensively at SS and 3B, Overbay provides stability in the IF but also provides a strong glove.

    .259 BA | 17 HR | .352 OBP | .426 SLG | .778 OPS


    2B

    Neil Walker #18

    Entering his 1st Full Season with the Pittsburgh Pirates after taking over for Aki Iwamura in 2010 for 110 games, Walker's strong rookie season has lumped in as part of the young core driving the Pittsburgh Pirates forward. The question about Neil Walker is whether he finally broke out in 2010 or whether it was a fluke. 2011 will answer those questions, but it does make it difficult to make a prediction for Neil Walker.

    Defensively Walker came in and was an instant upgrade over the injured Aki Iwamura in 2010. 2010 was also the first time Neil Walker saw extensive time playing at 2nd Base, so it is a testament to his athletic ability that he played as well at 2B as he did. Not every player can make the conversion as evidence by Delwyn Young's failed attempt in recent seasons. Neil Walker should improve defensively. We often forget that Walker was drafted as a Catcher since he was moved to 3B during his Minor League career where he received rave reviews. I expect the same to occur at 2B based on is past jumping positions and his athletic ability.

    Just don't be surprised or get upset to see that .296 Batting Average fall in Walker's sophomore year. He will be aided by hitting between Jose Tabata and Andrew McCutchen in the lineup, but some sophomore regression with the bat is always a strong possibility with young guys.

    .282 BA | 19 HR | .332 OBP | .443 SLG | .775 OPS


    SS

    #5 Ronny Cedeno

    The Pittsburgh Pirates tried to find a replacement at SS this offseason but there lacked anyone that was a better value than Ronny Cedeno. Ronny Cedeno has the athletic ability to be an average defensive SS but he lacks the mental capacity to stay in games or make important decisions instantly. It's said that is his decision making could catch up to his athletic ability, he'd be a good Defensive Short Stop. Unfortunately that has not happened.

    On the other side of the coin, Cedeno has consistently proven through the past 1.5 seasons what to expect from him Offensively and there's really little reason to expect anything more. That isn't to suggest that he's not capable of producing more or that he won't but from Ronny Cedeno to actually do it, we would need to see it first.

    .255 BA | 10 HR | .290 OBP | .391 SLG | .681 OPS


    3B

    #24 Pedro Alvarez

    El Toro! The player that has given Pittsburgh Pirates fans some hope, but the true hope really came happened when Management finally drafted the BPA who also happened to have one of the toughest MLB agents representing/advising him in Scott Boras. Pedro Alvarez being drafted and eventually signed could possibly be looked at as the beginning to what turned the Pittsburgh Pirates around.

    In his short stint in the Minor Leagues, Pedro started off slowly and then found his way. In 2010 for the Pittsburgh Pirates, the bat in general never quite found it's way, but you could see all of the power potential as Pedro Alvarez cranked out 16 Home Runs in just 95 games. More importantly is that Pedro was largely exposed in the lineup with Garrett Jones slumping last season. Pedro will never be a Gold Glove candidate or probably even an Average 3B defenseman but his bat will make up for it in the meantime.

    It's not completely out of this realm to suggest that Pedro Alvarez could start off the 2011 season slow. I won't suggest that it will be Adam LaRoche slow but there's a strong possibility that he starts off cold, draws questions from the knee-jerk reactionary fans as he did last year during times of a slump and then heats up.

    .271 BA | 27 HR | .329 OBP | .496 SLG | .825 OPS


    RF

    #46 Garrett Jones

    That great 2009 season that gave Pirates fans at least 1 thing to get excited about, disappeared in 2010. Safe enough to call 2009 to an extent, a fluke or over achievement, but it was fun.

    This isn't to suggest that Garrett Jones doesn't have value to the team. He does, just not against lefty handed pitchers which is why he and Mike Diaz will be supplying a platoon. Getting the day off against lefties and being able to concentrate on right handed batters should boost Garrett Jones' numbers. Hitting a little bit lower in the lineup (6th) should help take the target off of his back some as well. Due to his platoon, power numbers should decrease since he'll be logging less AB's.

    .273 BA | 19 HR | .331 OBP | .465 SLG | .796 OPS


    #23 Matt Diaz

    The 2nd part of the RF platoon. Matt Diaz was brought in to hit against left handed pitchers, something that he does well. There will be times that are both due to strategy and reasons that make us scratch our heads that Diaz will be facing RH pitching and Garrett Jones facing LH pitching. Hopefully this doesn't happen too often.

    Neither Diaz or Jones are plus defenders in RF, but both hover very near average which is good enough. With Jose Tabata and Andrew McCutchen providing plus Defense and range, having average play at a position in the OF isn't bad.

    One thing to keep in mind with Matt Diaz is that the more games he's played in his career, the better offensive production he's produced. I don't know enough about his past, nor care enough to go research it to find out why he's had limited AB's in some seasons but when he has played 100 games or more, he's been a .300+ hitter.

    .285 BA | 8 HR | .338 OBP | .463 SLG | .801 OPS


    CF

    #22 Andrew McCutchen

    The cornerstone right now of this franchise. Cutch was the first of the current "core" players to hit the scene and he did it with a bang in 2009. this continued into 2009 as Andrew McCutchen erased any doubters about whether he would endure a sophomore slump.

    New Manager, Clint Hurdle has signaled that Andrew McCutchen will bat 3rd in the lineup. It's a debatable move considering that McCutchen not only is the Pittsburgh Pirates best base stealer but that he also hit for nearly double the power from the Lead Off Spot in 2010. However that is the decision made and Andrew McCutchen is a good player and he will adjust. I just caution and worry about a possible decline in power this season from McCutchen unless he purposely swings for more power in which case a slight decrease in average is possible.

    .288 BA | 12 HR | .372 OBP | .421 SLG | .793 OPS (38 doubles)


    LF

    #31 Jose Tabata

    What a ride it's been for Jose Tabata. He was labeled as a trouble maker by the New York Yankees organization. He finds out that his wife stole someone's baby and was believing that it was his own and despite all of this, he made it to the Big Leagues in 2010 and laid wood to the bat.

    Jose Tabata will be batting lead off for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2011. Keep in mind that Tabata bating lead off in 2010 was a .255 hitter while he produced at a .328 clip from the #2 spot. If there is a struggle by Tabata we could look at the comfort level in the batting lineup. However I think he will be fine and personally I believe that Jose Tabata is out best contact hitter. If there is a guy on this team who will bat .300 in the future it's Jose Tabata. What he won't produce is the standard power you normally get from a corner OF'er but it's debatable whether the Pittsburgh Pirates will ever find that mixture of good hitter + good power + good defense and range for LF at PNC Park. Tabata has IMO 2 of the most important traits especially when you look at the makeup of the pitching staff and it's reliance on defense.

    .281 BA | 6 HR | .335 OBP | .381 SLG | .716 OPS (31 Doubles)


    PITCHING STAFF

    #29 Kevin Correia

    We have had plenty of discussion here at the Pittsburgh Sports Tavern regarding Kevin Correia. He is a difficult one to predict. He had an excellent 2009 season and then a terrible 2010 season. He also dealt with the death of his brother in early May 2010, so the question is how much of that trauma played a part in his drop from 2009 to 2010 and how much of it was just poor pitching?

    What I will continue to maintain is that Kevin Correia is an upgrade over Zach Duke primarily because Zach Duke is defensively more dependent than Kevin Correia and we lack the defense to make Zach Duke any better than how bad he was last season.

    The main difference between Kevin Correia in 2009 and 2010 was his control. He had a 2.9 BB/9 in 2009 and a 4.0 BB/9 in 2010. That's a lot of extra base runners. Correia is toast if he produces the same BB/9 this season. It needs to be closer to 3. If there was a positive from this spring it's that Kevin Correia produced a 2.9 BB/9. If that maintains then the H/9 (Hits against per 9 innings) should stabilize below 10 as he's produced for the past 2 seasons. It's really about the control.

    4.53 ERA | 1.38 WHIP | 7.1 K/9 | 3.1 BB/9


    #28 Paul Maholm

    One word sums up Paul Maholm - Inconsistent. Maholm has shown throughout his career to be a good average left handed starter. The only problem is that he can't do it from season to season. The positive right now looking at Maholm is that every 3 seasons he puts up good numbers even if his first season saw very limited action. It's quite possible that we get a decent season from Paul Maholm last seen in 2008. I'll even take his 2009 results at this point. Anything but what was produced in 2010 but that can be said about most of the Starting Pitchers.

    Control isn't really a factor with Paul Maholm as much as command is. The past 2 seasons, Maholm isn't getting batters to swing and miss. The effect especially with our defense is a lot of hits which equals a lot of bases runners and runs. Paul Maholm has to get his Strike Out rate to be much higher than it has been. 5.0 K/9 in 2010 is going to get him nowhere. That has to improve by at least 1 Strikeout per 9 Innings.

    I just lack the proper faith that Maholm is going to produce the strong command needed to produce good numbers but I expect or hope for something in between. 2009 type numbers at least.

    4.40 ERA | 1.43 WHIP | 5.5 K/9 | 2.8 BB/9


    #49 Ross Ohlendorf

    Talk about your terrible Spring Trainings and Ross Ohlendorf's picture will appear. He had a bad Spring Training in 2010 as well but at least then we found out it was poor conditioning that lead to a shoulder injury. In 2011, we have no idea and if there is a legit reason, it's not come out yet. His BB and K rates have been consistent with his last season, except that his HR rate and H rates have ballooned beyond his normals. I'm not going to be too concerned about his spring.

    Ross Ohlendorf's 2011 has to be about consistency. He has ended the past 2 seasons very well but has spent the first parts of them injured or working extensively through a mechanical overhaul by former Pitching Coach Joe Kerrigan. 2011 is the season where he looks to be healthy, won't be undergoing a mechanical overhaul that takes away his velocity for the first couple of months. It's time for Ross Ohlendorf to step up his game. At his age (29 in august), he has to.

    Ross's end season numbers the past 2 seasons have been pretty good hitting the high 3's and the low 4's. He has posted WHIP's of 1.23 and 1.38

    3.55 ERA | 1.23 WHIP | 7.0 K/9 | 3.3 BB/9


    #53 James McDonald

    The lone feel-good story about the Starting Pitching staff in 2010. James McDonald came over in a trade of Octavio Dotel and instantly became our best and most consistent Starting Pitcher in 2010. The main question regarding James McDonald is whether he can repeat that performance.

    James McDonald's problem his career has been his control. Fantastic K-Rate, very few homers, Low Hit rate, Batters have fairly low averages against him but he struggles with Control. His BB-Rate is often very high. the key to James McDonald is him keeping that BB/9 down to 3.5 and below. He helps himself by producing an average + K rate, the only Starting Pitcher on the staff that has done so, he limits the damage deep.

    Like so much with regards to the pitching, control for the most is going to be key. Most of the guys aren't big swing and miss guys so they need to keep guys off the base of their own doing.

    3.80 ERA | 1.28 WHIP | 8.9 K/9 | 3.5 BB/9


    #50 Charlie Morton

    As they call him "Electric Stuff". If this kid becomes good he'll already have a nickname. For Chuck Morton to get to that level he's going to have to do everything in power to not come close to duplicating most of his 2010 season.

    Everyone had higher hopes for Charlie Morton in 2010 than the end results. I got grilled for my prediction of him falling through, but it was difficult to predict or see the Morton collapse of 2010. We also had no idea until this past Spring Training that former pitching coach, Joe Kerrigan wasn't allowing Charlie Morton to throw his sinker in 2010. After Kerrigan got fired and Ray Searage took over full time, Morton was permitted to use his sinker again and eventually started to look normal again by the end of the season, notching 9 K's in his final outing.

    Figuring out Charlie Morton is difficult. He would look great and then collapse sharply with no end. It's made people wonder if his mental side has taken such a beating that when he runs into adversity in 2011, will he be able to overcome it? We will find out, but I'm sure it helps to have another pitcher in his arsenal.

    Let's do Morton's numbers with the Pittsburgh Pirates eliminating the first half of 2010 and see what we get. This should be, let's hope it is, what we should expect from Charlie Morton.

    4.89 ERA | 1.41 WHIP | 5.9 K/9 | 3.6 BB/9


    There it is. It's probably completely wrong, who knows. it's fun to do. I did with regards to some players go on the "pessimism" side just because it's the Pittsburgh Pirates and some sort of bad seems to happen that is hard to predict. For the most part these are all numbers taken from each of these players careers, most of the numbers from most recent careers. So each is a possible potential and some guys are actually capable of doing more.
    Last edited by Kipper; Feb-27-2015 at 09:28 AM.
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