This may be my first post, but before you leave give it a chance. I have been an avid Buccos fan for the span of my 22 year life. Due to my young age I haven't suffered through the heartbreak of the '92 NLCS, as I was not even wallking, as most of you have. I remember watching the Pirates on my TV with rabbit ears and now having every game at my disposal. The last 3 seasons I have attended upwards of 30 games, including the Wild Card game last season, I sat right behind the guy that caught Marlon Bryds home run. (My claim to fame lol) I have missed a total of 10 games in the last two years and have mostly watched on TV or listened on XM Radio. I have a great passion for baseball and it will always be my first love. "How can you not be romantic about baseball" one of my many Moneyball quotes you will see in my future posts. I hope to provide everyone on here with my interesting twist on what is going on with the team and how I think it will turn out. Enjoy
After 15 long and draining games the Pirates they sit one game under .500. I believe they were the same last season, so it may be too soon to hit the panic button. This is my first post after trolling for the past 3 seasons, reading comments, and hearing how much you fellow bucs fans love statistics. I also believe in statistics; however, this early in the season I like to play things by eye and not so much worry about the statistics. Baseball is a game of streaks and getting hot at the right times. Not every team can have money like the Dodgers, but I would rather watch guys like Glasnow develop than go out and have a 250 Mil salary every year. Its the moments like when I watched Glasnow pitch last season in Charleston and he comes out looking like a bean pole and I think "this guy is lucky to make it through the third", then the next thing I know he was hitting 98 mph on the gun and striking out 12 batters. It makes you appreciate the guys that come through the system and grow with the team. The next section may raise some eyebrows as I am a Tabata fanboy, but I think it could work.
To start i'll talk solely about the Pirates and how I see them this season. First, Starling Marte may be the next big outfielder in the league; however, at the leadoff spot i'm not so sure. Especially in the last week he has let balls in the middle of the zone freeze him and chase pitches a foot off the plate that are breaking away from him. He will be a great MLB outfielder, but I believe more in the 2 spot in the order until he can mature and have more plate discipline. As far as the leadoff spot, I think Tabata is much better suited for the spot. He has a much better eye and if he could play anywhere like he did at the end of last season he would be on base at a high clip.(Moneyball theory) In time, when Polanco is brought up, Marte will understand his approach at the plate and hopefully a 123 of Marte Polanco, and Cutch will be one of the most dynamic outfields and beginning of lineups. The season is at a small sample size which may prove all of this to be utter crap and i'll take the blame for that. As long as Marte gets on base will leadoff trip, trip, triples and I keep hearing Greg Brown calling cannonballs off of Sniders bat I will be just perfectly fine with the lineup. However, i'm a big believer in playing the hot streaks and playing every game at the highest level. I hate to lose and to watch teams I like lose.
The next order of business is Alvarez and the combined production at short stop. Alvarez despite the low overall average, low BABIP, and chasing a few bad pitches as of late has been a pleasant surprise. He is walking at a career rate and hitting mammoth bombs. Overall, I had predicted earlier in the season that Alvarez will hit .255 with 42 home runs and 115 RBI's(Only my GF may have heard that prediction but now all of the maybe 5 people that read this will now know :) ). This is not out of site for him if he continues to have a good eye and stops chasing pitches. He will also help keep Cutch going at a MVP place. As far as shortstop goes....I do not believe Mercer is the answer at short. As much as I want to believe it I think the Pirates make a trade before the deadline for a more established hitter that can provide a slightly better defensive advantage. Which means not trading for Ronny Cedeno....but maybe a Jimmy Rollins? or a Starlin Castro? only if they discipline him and keep his lazy attitude focused.
The Pirates as a group are starting slow and that is nothing new with the team in April. They have in the recent years continued to start off semi-slow and proceed to turn it around when the weather gets warm. The Shark Tank has been a little shaky, but they will turn it around. The Buccos, although frustrating, will be right there in the race for the Central Division Title. The Brewers will NOT be able to continue their pitching dominance which will cause them to wimper out as we get into the summer months. As for the Cincitucky Reds, although they took the series in the Great American Smallpark, they just do not look as tough as they have in the previous seasons. Phillips is loafing around and imho doesn't look like he even wants to be in a Reds uniform. Votto also seems to have lost some motivation even though he will still produce. The Cards are well... the Cards and will be a great matchup for the Bucs all year, as we will most likely have a close split. As for the Cubbies they have the pieces it's just a matter of getting Castro to make smart plays and keeping the player there to rise up as the Pirates did. The central will be a very difficult division for the next 5-10 years and it will be great entertainment for all of us.
Record 89-73, 2nd in the Central, Wild Card
Gaby will return to his his All Star form. Doesn't mean he will be an All Star...
Neil will hit near .290 and continue to be a solid middle of the order bat.
This is my first fanpost as I stated before and I know there will be some criticisms of my writing and analysis, but I am hoping to improve on my articles and provide some fun reading and good discussions on the forums. If you took the time to read this I thank you and.....