10 Pittsburgh Pirates Who Will Play a Crucial Role in the Playoff Chase

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10 Pittsburgh Pirates Who Will Play a Crucial Role in the Playoff Chase
Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

The Pirates' excellent start to the 2012 season has been fueled more by key performances from its best players than by overall team depth. If the Bucs are to continue their run all the way to a playoff berth, these performances will have to continue.

Only four Pirate hitters and two starting pitchers who have received significant playing time this season have performed well above league average for their position. A rotating cast of journeymen (#DREWSUTTON, anyone?) has filled many of the other spots.

While strong recent performances at weaker positions have contributed to the latest Pittsburgh hot streak, the Bucs cannot count on this level of production over on extended period of time. Instead, their elite players must carry the team through October.

The following 10 players will determine whether the Pirates make the playoffs this season.

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