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Dejan Kovacevic has a timely article up about how much improvement we can expect from the Pirates' hitters. Kovacevic focuses on Freddy Sanchez, Jason Bay and Ronny Paulino. It should be pretty clear, I think, that Sanchez is highly likely to hit worse than he did last year and that Paulino is also pretty likely to be worse. Bay is already an elite hitter.

What about the rest of the offense? Well, here are the results of our current poll, which deals with this topic. Fully half of you think that, of the Pirates' young-ish hitters, Jose Bautista is the most likely to step up. Given Bautista's well-rounded skill set, I'd agree, but it's telling that Bautista isn't even assured a starting job right now. The next best breakout candidate, in my mind, is Ryan Doumit (who finished third in the poll), and he doesn't have a job either, at least partly because he can't be depended on to stay healthy.

Pirate fans have a history of (rightly) complaining when promising young players don't get playing time, and yet I haven't seen any complaining this offseason about Bautista or Doumit. And yet about two-thirds of poll respondents said one of those two players was the most likely to break out among the Bucs' young hitters.

This isn't a contradiction, I don't think. I'm guessing most of you don't care very much, because you simply don't think any of the Bucs have much breakout potential. Am I right?