IAN SNELL: 34 innings. Six runs. And just one home run allowed. It's hard to argue with any of that.
RYAN DOUMIT: Torrid hitting at Indianapolis, plus a weird injury to Humberto Cota, got Doumit called back up to Pittsburgh this week. He wasn't in the lineup last night, but, as I mentioned earlier this week, Doumit will find playing time with Ronny Paulino and Adam LaRoche's poor play and Xavier Nady's questionable health. Now is his time to take advantage of it - he's 26 now and has a career hitting line of .238/.324/.395. He's a tough guy to evaluate because he's been injured so much, but no matter what, this is his time to show that he can be more than just raw potential.
SHAWN CHACON: Amazingly, a 2.65 ERA so far this year has some people wondering if he might be a candidate for closer if Salomon Torres continues to falter. And never mind Chacon's 11 strikeouts and ten walks this year. If you think Torres isn't doing a good job as closer, you'll hate Chacon.
PAUL MAHOLM: His complete-game start against Houston on Tuesday dropped his ERA by more than two runs. Obviously, that game doesn't represent a new level of performance, but Maholm's finding his level. He isn't nearly as bad as his first few starts indicated.
MATT CAPPS, DAMASO MARTE and JONAH BAYLISS: The Pirates have leaned very heavily on these three guys, and they've reponded - none has an ERA higher than 1.69.
SALOMON TORRES: Hasn't pitched as badly as the headlines indicate, but he's still giving up runs on what seems like a daily basis and provoking speculation that B.P. Chacon might take over as closer.
RONNY PAULINO: Has a .508 OPS and has scored just three runs so far. If he keeps this up, not even Jim Tracy's love will save him.
BRAD ELDRED: I want this guy to succeed as badly as anyone does, but let's be honest. Put him in the lineup for a season, and he might hit 35 homers. And draw ten walks. And hit a buck sixty. However intruiging his power is, he has no other skills. It is possible to hit 30 homers a year and still be completely worthless, and if Eldred is allowed to prove that, he will.