Who is really the best baseball team in the majors? I honestly don't know but I try to figure that out by using basic and advanced statistics. I live for talking about baseball, it's my biggest drive in my life and I will jump on the opportunity to talk baseball with anyone, even with people who I don't really like. For me, Baseball is a piece of art that sits in my mind all day, ready to be painted on at any point of the day.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

30 Teams: Pittsburgh Pirates

By Simon Stracher

This is my first 30 Teams post and I hope you all enjoy it!

I know I know, the lowly Pirates of Pittsburgh. The once storied franchise has sunken to a new low with their 18th consecutive losing season in 2010. But amidst all of this trouble, there is a beacon of hope for these Pirates. General Manager Neal Huntington has infused the farm system with young talent (Pedro Alvarez, Jameson Tailon, etc.), and he has made several reputable signings of veteran players (Kevin Correia, Lyle Overbay, Scott Olsen, etc.). All in all, the Pirates offseason has been quiet, but nevertheless, very productive.

Major League Signings

Notable Minor League Signings

Trades and Claims

Notable Losses

The losses that the Pirates offseason are actually more like gains for them. Last year, Zach Duke had a 5.72 ERA and a 4.95 FIP. Ever since his dazzling 2005 rookie season (1.81 ERA, 2.3 WAR in 84.2 IP) he has not had a ERA lower than 4.06. He simply isn't a very good pitcher. Former top prospect Lastings Milledge is another "loss" for the Pirates. In 1655 PAs, he has accumulated a 1.4 WAR and has an average triple slash line of .269/.328/.394.
Not exactly great numbers.

One of the major deals for the Bucs was the Kevin Correia signing. It was also extremely significant for the franchise. It had been 12 years since the Bucs signed a domestic free agent pitcher to a multiyear deal. The Pirates took this chance on Correia because he is a potential sleeper; a pitcher who can potentially throw 200 innings, and if he regains his 2009 form, he can become the "ace" of this Pirates staff. The acquisitions of Lyle Overbay and Matt Diaz were made in order to provide a shread of respectability to this franchise.

I expect the Pirates to contend in 2013. By then Pedro Alvarez, Jameson Tailon, Neil Walker, Andrew McCutchen, and Jose Tabata will provide a nice nucleus for Huntington to build around. My only problem with the Pirates is their lack of pitching depth. Besides Jameson Tailon, James McDonald (who was acquired in a steal of a trade), Ross Ohlendorf, and Stetson Allie, their rotation in the future looks very weak. Ohlendorf seems to have the potential of a #3 starter at best, and he is already 28 years old. In 2013, he will be at the end of his prime. Even though these are four potentially good pitchers, you never know with prospects (especially prospects who are in Rookie Ball, like Allie and Tailon). In order for this Pirates team to compete in the future, Huntington has to make some moves to acquire pitching talent and be able to lock them up quickly for a inexpensive price (the Pirates cheapness has been well documented).

Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed this post and you enjoy posts in the future.

(Statistics in courtesy of: www.fangraphs.com, www.baseballreference.com, and www.espn.com).

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