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What to Expect in 2010

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These are just for fun. I don't think decisiveness is necessarily a virtue when trying to predict the future, because there are a fairly wide range of outcomes for each player's performance. Just because I say something bad about Tim Alderson here, for example, doesn't mean I don't think Alderson is a prospect. Nonetheless, here are some wild-eyed and not-super-serious predictions. Feel free to post your own in the comments.

-P- The Pirates will finish fifth in the NL Central, ahead of the Astros. They will not, however, finish anywhere near .500.

-P- Ryan Doumit will be traded or on the DL by June. Zach Duke will be traded by the July deadline.

-P- Andrew McCutchen will take a small step backward with his hitting. He's a great young player who made genuine strides last year, but I still suspect his brilliant debut was a bit too good to be sustainable in the near term. He will, however, emerge as one of the best defensive centerfielders in baseball.

-P- Lastings Milledge will take a step forward, continuing to hit for average while adding some power, but no one will notice because they'll be too busy freaking out about some minor attitude flareup.

-P- Charlie Morton will be best starter in a reasonably good Pirates rotation. Ross Ohlendorf, whose late-season surge wasn't really supported by his peripherals, will take a small step backward. 

-P- Brad Lincoln will join the Pirates rotation by June. He won't be inspiring, but he'll get the job done.

-P- Pedro Alvarez will bump Andy LaRoche to second base in June. Alvarez will be as good as advertised, hitting 30+ homers between AAA and the big leagues.

-P- Chris Jakubauskas will emerge as a solid reliever. He will not start, however, denying the Bucs' public address people the pleasure of using this (NSFW) as his at-bat music.

-P- The performances of the various veterans the Pirates have traded over the past couple years will collectively do little to make the Bucs regret shipping them off.

-P- The Pirates will cut Ramon Vazquez in Spring Training.

-P- Tim Alderson will collapse as a prospect, posting a five-plus ERA for Altoona. 

-P- Neil Walker and Danny Moskos will both play badly and will still be given much better than they deserve by fans who remember them primarily as former first-round picks.

-P- One of the Pirates' prospect-packed Class A teams will win a league championship. The West Virginia Power will have problems finding playing time for all their pitching prospects.

-P- Quinton Miller will emerge as one of the Pirates' best prospects.

-P- By season's end, the Bucs' farm system will be widely regarded as one of the best in baseball.

-P- Few fans who say "I'M DONE WITH THIS TEAM" will, in fact, be done with the team.