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Thread: ESPN Crystal Ball for the Pirates (from Rumor Central)

      
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    Default ESPN Crystal Ball for the Pirates (from Rumor Central)

    The Pittsburgh Pirates now have two long-term mainstays in their lineup in Andrew McCutchen and Pedro Alvarez who are under club control for several more years. Now all they have to do to become competitive is find 15 more just like them.

    The Pirates collection of talent is growing but most of the impact players are at least three years away with the possible exceptions of catcher Tony Sanchez, who could see the big leagues in 2011.

    The Bucs had a strong draft this year, but the two of three top talents are prep kids and neither have signed to date.

    It looks like another year of Garrett Jones at first base with Ryan Doumit manning right field and the newly acquired Chris Snyder taking over behind the plate. Alvarez could also man first instead of third if Andy LaRoche's bat takes another step forward, which would push Jones into the outfield.

    Lastings Milledge figures to play a corner spot regularly, and Jose Tabata may start 2011 with a chance to beat out Milledge, Jones or Doumit for an everyday role, which could make one of the veterans trade bait.

    The Pirates lack options at second base and shortstop, where Ronny Cedeno remains the top option along with converted catcher Neil Walker and Delwyn Young, who may be best suited in a reserve role.

    The Pirates also lack impact pitching outside relievers Joel Hanrahan and Evan Meek. Brad Lincoln profiles as a mid-rotation starter at best, joining Paul Maholm, Zach Duke, Jeff Karstens and Ross Ohlendorf as the leaders for rotation spots next season. James McDonald, acquired in the trade for Octavio Dotel, and outfielder Andrew Lambo, could also become factors next spring.

    The Pirates are currently in line for the No. 2-overall pick, which could give them a shot at the No. 1 prospect in the Cape Cod League this summer.


    Keith Law
    George Springer is a stud

    "Springer is a contender for the first overall pick if Anthony Rendon's ankle injury has a lasting effect into 2011. He has incredible bat speed and works deep counts, although the lack of a two-strike approach is a concern. He's an above-average runner who can throw and play center or right field, and his power potential will profile anywhere."


    - Jason A. Churchill


    You would almost think by reading this, that Churchill wrote this in May. To say that Tabata has a chance to beat out Milledge? Tabata is a starter going forward, Milledge is the one of the three outfielders that has the most to prove.

    Heading into next season, Jones, Walker, Alvarez, Tabata, and McCutchen should be all but assured the positions they now play. Jones could be in right or 1st, depending who is available for the other spot.

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    Default Re: ESPN Crystal Ball for the Pirates (from Rumor Central)

    We have two mainstays? Really? I count 4: McCutchen, Walker, Tabata, and Alvarez.

    I would be MORE than happy for Springer to go #1. I'd rather have Rendon or one of the pitchers.
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    Default Re: ESPN Crystal Ball for the Pirates (from Rumor Central)

    Quote Originally Posted by BigBen2112 View Post
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    We have two mainstays? Really? I count 4: McCutchen, Walker, Tabata, and Alvarez.

    I would be MORE than happy for Springer to go #1. I'd rather have Rendon or one of the pitchers.
    I think with Walker you want to see next season with him. He's done great so far and has likely exceeded everyone's expectations but after years of struggling at AAA it's reasonable to want to find out whether he's for real or not.. It's looking like he is but I can understand why one would be hesitant to pencil him in as a mainstay.. Remember, Nate

    Tabata's lack of power at a corner position worries some and i swear keith law has been real hesitant ln tabata?? cant remember. power can develop later. if a guy has the other tools and you can see future projections of power then who cares IMO..
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    Default Re: ESPN Crystal Ball for the Pirates (from Rumor Central)

    Quote Originally Posted by Kipper View Post
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    I think with Walker you want to see next season with him. He's done great so far and has likely exceeded everyone's expectations but after years of struggling at AAA it's reasonable to want to find out whether he's for real or not.. It's looking like he is but I can understand why one would be hesitant to pencil him in as a mainstay.. Remember, Nate

    Tabata's lack of power at a corner position worries some and i swear keith law has been real hesitant ln tabata?? cant remember. power can develop later. if a guy has the other tools and you can see future projections of power then who cares IMO..
    Honestly, I think Tabata is fine as long as you get production from 1B, 3B and the other corner outfield spot...you need players like him...and you also need plus power from other positions...like 2B.

    With Walker I agree you dont proclaim him the next coming of Mazeroski or anything, but honestly he has hit before in the minors and then focused on changing positions...his profile always said he'd hit...and he has.

    Also, we really dont have anyone else and its more than worthwhile to continue to let him see if he can continue to hit.
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    Default Re: ESPN Crystal Ball for the Pirates (from Rumor Central)

    How could he not include Walker. He mentioned Alvarez so I think it must have been written very recently. While I hope Sanchez is one of those mainstays, he hasn't proven it at the ML level yet. If I remember Donut was one to drool over when he came up and look where that got us!!

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    Default Re: ESPN Crystal Ball for the Pirates (from Rumor Central)

    ESPN is well known for its lazy journalism. If Neil had been playing for the Yanks or the Sox...

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    Default Re: ESPN Crystal Ball for the Pirates (from Rumor Central)

    Quote Originally Posted by BigBen2112 View Post
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    Honestly, I think Tabata is fine as long as you get production from 1B, 3B and the other corner outfield spot...you need players like him...and you also need plus power from other positions...like 2B.

    With Walker I agree you dont proclaim him the next coming of Mazeroski or anything, but honestly he has hit before in the minors and then focused on changing positions...his profile always said he'd hit...and he has.

    Also, we really dont have anyone else and its more than worthwhile to continue to let him see if he can continue to hit.
    Sorry Benny. I disagree. I can't say for one corner outfield position that I HAVE to have power from then give another a free pass. Expectations have to be the same all the way around to me. I'm not saying to give up on him and as I've stated the power could develop last but the power or lack of is what is holding him back from being penciled in as a "mainstay" especially moreso to those that feel he's older than what he states. Ultimately we can't have corner players hitting 10 homers or less unless Cutch is hitting 20+ and a position like 2B or SS is hitting 20+. It's a possibilty with Walker's raw power but still I can't give Tabata a free pass for no power.
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    Default Re: ESPN Crystal Ball for the Pirates (from Rumor Central)

    Quote Originally Posted by exNCite View Post
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    How could he not include Walker. He mentioned Alvarez so I think it must have been written very recently. While I hope Sanchez is one of those mainstays, he hasn't proven it at the ML level yet. If I remember Donut was one to drool over when he came up and look where that got us!!
    I'm not sure that any of those guys, even Huntington know what to expect from Walker. The kid is exceeding everyone';s expectations so I think that there's a lot of hesitancy with Walker. The hesitancy will get erased with a strong year next season but like I was saying in my other post I think if he hadn't done so poorly in AAA the previous couple of seasons, he'd be greeted a lot more openly like Pedro and Cutch have by the nationals like Keith Law..

    Just my guess
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    Default Re: ESPN Crystal Ball for the Pirates (from Rumor Central)

    Quote Originally Posted by Kipper View Post
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    Sorry Benny. I disagree. I can't say for one corner outfield position that I HAVE to have power from then give another a free pass. Expectations have to be the same all the way around to me. I'm not saying to give up on him and as I've stated the power could develop last but the power or lack of is what is holding him back from being penciled in as a "mainstay" especially moreso to those that feel he's older than what he states. Ultimately we can't have corner players hitting 10 homers or less unless Cutch is hitting 20+ and a position like 2B or SS is hitting 20+. It's a possibilty with Walker's raw power but still I can't give Tabata a free pass for no power.
    Not sure I agree with you there Kip...its not like you hold one player accountable and another not...its nothing like that...its just you have different building techniques.

    Ben Zobrist is only on pace to hit less-than 10 HRs for the Rays, but is on pace for 34 SB. That's more than fine for the division leading Rays. Why? They have Crawford and Upton...they have run producers who use their speed, base stealing ability, and gap power to get multiple bases for their hits which gives chances for Carlos Pena (Pedro Alvarez) and Longoria (Jones) to knock in.

    I am not comparing us to them completely...but the offensive potential is similar in many areas...the pitching and defense is a different story completely obviously. But McCutchen and Tabata are both easily capable of providing the gap power+base stealing of the Rays Crawford and Upton (or Crawford and Zobrist)...

    And about Walker...I think if you're going to include Alvarez who has yet to really start knocking in the majors...i would think you could include Walker.
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    Default Re: ESPN Crystal Ball for the Pirates (from Rumor Central)

    Quote Originally Posted by Kipper View Post
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    I'm not sure that any of those guys, even Huntington know what to expect from Walker. The kid is exceeding everyone';s expectations so I think that there's a lot of hesitancy with Walker. The hesitancy will get erased with a strong year next season but like I was saying in my other post I think if he hadn't done so poorly in AAA the previous couple of seasons, he'd be greeted a lot more openly like Pedro and Cutch have by the nationals like Keith Law..

    Just my guess
    Freddy Sanchez had a breakout season and then went on to continued success (injury problems aside)...Garrett Jones had an insane season last year and even with a drop off (expected) this season he has continued to hit better than any other option and hits within the MLB starting 1B profile.

    Neil Walker is unlikely to hit at a .803 OPS for the rest of his career (although he hit .806 OPS at AA for two seasons)...if he hits at his AAA .755 OPS he certainly will have a place for the future. Consider: if he hits is season averages...he's going to hi +10 HRs....273 and .750-770 OPS. Subpar for a 3B...quite satisfactory for a young 2B.

    And about him performing subpar in AAA...I mean he certainly had his down times, but in '09 he hit .791 OPS...he had a bad year the year before but at 22 in AAA...and rushed there (at least by my opinion...what only some 460 ABs in AA before his AAA promotion?).
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    Default Re: ESPN Crystal Ball for the Pirates (from Rumor Central)

    Re: Jones -
    and hits within the MLB starting 1B profile.
    About 19th out of 21 qualifiers, amigo...

    Jones has "come back down to Earth," as the saying goes. He is adequate at best at 1B (Pearce is better, but he's pretty much out of the picture all together. I digress.), and really is a RF. Problem is, you've got Edge - and now Doum**** - to play there, as well.
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    Default Re: ESPN Crystal Ball for the Pirates (from Rumor Central)

    Quote Originally Posted by cocktailsfor2 View Post
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    Re: Jones - About 19th out of 21 qualifiers, amigo...

    Jones has "come back down to Earth," as the saying goes. He is adequate at best at 1B (Pearce is better, but he's pretty much out of the picture all together. I digress.), and really is a RF. Problem is, you've got Edge - and now Doum**** - to play there, as well.
    I dont know about all that (among starting 1B):
    Jones= 12th in MLB in 2B, 17th in HRs, 13 in RBI, 12 in H....his BA and OPS are a little lower...but honestly you cant argue with the fact that he's producing at about an average pace in terms of producing runs for the team.
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    Default Re: ESPN Crystal Ball for the Pirates (from Rumor Central)

    I will agree, though, that Jones might profile better as a RF...just because his bat fits better there...
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    Default Re: ESPN Crystal Ball for the Pirates (from Rumor Central)

    Of course Walker will have to continue what he's doing over time, doesn't every player have to do so? While it's true us Pirate fans have burnt by numerous flashes in the pan, how can you not be excited by what Walker has done to this point? I've seen enough from Walker and Tabata to say they are the future at their respective positions. Is it possible they turn into Warren Morris and completely flame out? Of course it is, but that's possible with any player. That's why you keep developing your minors, just in case someone doesn't live up to what they are supposed to.

    Looking forward to next year, the only three spots that I could see addressed are catcher, shortstop, and right field. And honestly, I could see all three spots addressed in house. If they spend all their money on a starter or two, I'd be perfectly content going forward.

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    Default Re: ESPN Crystal Ball for the Pirates (from Rumor Central)

    If Doumit's manning RF, I'll throw up on myself. He just needs to be either a pinch hitter/spot starter or gone. I was ok with him not being able to play D when I thought he could hit .280+, but he's hitting under .260. He can go. I'd rather see Milledge out there.

    Let's recall this about Tabata, the kid is 21 years old and he's hitting **** near .300. I'm thoroughly impressed with him, maybe the most out of anybody. He should, based on age, be just going into his senior year of college. I wonder what hitting .300 as a 21 year old in the ML's translates to for a college batting average. Plus I still think his power will come. He may not be a 35 HR hitter, but I think he'll get 20-25. His bat speed to pull is ridiculous. For an example, Aramis Ramirez didn't hit 30 homers until he turned 23, he hit only 6 when he was 22.

    I still maintain that if we get any sort of improved, or a bump in, pitching, that we'll be .500 next year.

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