Yeah, I know most of you are probably sick of all the Rays comparisons. But if you do plan to read this, I promise I'll try my best to make more sense than the ESPN comparisons. I'd think ESPN would realize that teams don't instantly become playoff contenders... but anyways, the post is after the break.
I decided to compare the 2012 projected roster to the 2008 Rays, mainly just for fun. I used the Rays usual lineup because their team mold was so similar, but I do think Tabata should hit higher in the lineup. I assume NH gets the “coveted” Eric Young Jr, and we absolutely tank the 2nd half of the season, and are able to take Bryce Harper #1. I also took Perrotto’s rumored Duke trade to Texas and lowered it to Holland and lesser prospects, but I think Duke could do pretty well in here too.
1-2B Eric Young Jr. He is a better base-running Akinori Iwamuri. Should at least have the same bat.
2-CF Andrew McCutchen. Almost identical to BJ Upton. Speed, power, average.
3-1B Pedro Alvarez. Carlos Pena’s twin. Strikeouts, power, .250 average.
4-3B Bryce Harper. He'd probably be moved due to Sanchez. At such a young age, I don't see the Longoria power.
5-LF Lastings Milledge. If he can turn his career around, he can be Crawford with more power.
6-C Tony Sanchez. I doubt he hits near .300 like Navarro, but .270 with decent pop seems fine.
7-RF Jose Tabata. He should be much better than Gabe Gross. Think .320 average, maybe some HRs.
8-SS PTBNL. Not sure who takes this spot, but a Jack Wilson type will due. It Shouldn't be too hard to get a Bartlett.
1-Holland. Like James Sheilds, great stuff, can be special if he pans out.
2-Lincoln. Could be Scott Kazmir. Strikeout rates the same, ERA should be similar. Still not dominant in AAA though.
3-Maholm. Maholm pitches like Matt Garza in K’s and ERA. Of course, he doesn't have the upside of Garza.
4-Ohlendorf. Just like Sonnanstine, throws fastball, slider, changeup. Better heat than Sonnanstine, though.
5-Morton. Like Edwin Jackson, great stuff, he's a little inconsistant, but can easily maintain a 4.50 ERA.
The Pirates usually have a pretty good bullpen, and in 2012 it will probably have Moskos, Dubee, Hanrahan, Gorzo, and Dan McCutch at the top. I’m sure we will pick up some flame throwers to fill it out, and I think either Dubee or Moskos can be a dominant closer for us.
Maybe I’m too optimistic in my projections, but I see huge similarities in these lineups. As a side note, I don’t think we’ll be getting Harper, since the Nats are horrid. Our 2 needs are 3B and "Ace". I can see the "Ace" being drafted next year (*cough* AJ COLE), and if Andy LaRoche can start hitting HRs, we can be real good in 2012. However, prospect success rate isn’t 100%, and 5 year plans never work in Pittsburgh, jk.