Thursday Roundup

The Bucs tied with the Phillies 5-5. Shawn Chacon gave up back to back homers to Ryan Howard and Pat Burrell. Chris Duffy had a stolen base and Jason Bay drove in 3. Ryan Doumit made an awesome throw in the top of the 9th to get the super-speedy Michael Bourn trying to steal second base.

Dejan Kovacevich has a nice piece up previewing Pirates upcoming season listing 5 reasons to believe they can win and 5 reasons to believe they won't.

Can't remember if I posted this or not, but Baseball Prospectus has their preview up of the NL Central. Their projection system (PECOTA) has the Bucs finishing 5th, ahead of the Reds but posting a decent record of 76-86. They don't think Freddy Sanchez will come close to challenging for a batting title again and they note that if the pitching blossoms they might be better than projected. They aren't counting on that though and put the human prediction at 74-88. They put the Cubs winning the division, followed by the Brew Crew, Cards, and Astros. I happen to think that is insanity.

Marty McCleary has been cut from the roster.

As mentioned in the comment section of a previous post, ESPN has their Pirates preview up as well. I don't know who Phil Rogers is, but his reporting is very sloppy and, in some circumstances, flat-out wrong. First, this report was published today, and he lists Jose Castillo as the starting 3rd baseman. We all know that Jim Tracy named Jose BAUTISTA the starting 3rd baseman last week. Second, as hisjazziness pointed out, Zach Duke did NOT start the season hot and then cool off. The third thing is this line right here:

Ronnie Paulino - Big surprise who could drop off this season.
I do not disagree that Paulino was a surprise last season, but to simply suggest he's likely to "drop off" this season is ridiculous. I guess this Phil Rogers fella hasn't been paying any attention to spring training this year, because Ronnie Paulino is just knocking the cover off the ball. In 49 spring ABs, Ronnie is batting .490 with 4 homers, 15 RBI and a slugging percentage of .837. There is no indication that Paulino is going to "drop off." If there is any indication, it's that he's going to "light it up."
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