2008 Pittsburgh Pirates Preview: The Starting Rotation

Sara LegarskyCorrespondent IMarch 29, 2008

In Part II of my three part series of the Pittsburgh Pirates 25-man roster, I will take a look at the five-man starting pitching rotation.

  1. Ian Snell-RP- Coming off of a new deal that could keep him in a Pirate uniform until 2012, Snell is set for a break out season. He has the makings to be the first Pirate with 200 strike outs since Oliver Perez in 2004. This opening day starter has the real makings to be this staff’s ace. He just has to make sure that he doesn’t slow down during the stretch run like last season.
  2. Tom Gorzelanny-LF- The surprise of the staff in 2007, expectations are high for Gorzo. If he continues to do what he did last year, it shouldn’t be long until a long term contract is in the works for him as well.
  3. Paul Maholm-LP- He finished 10-15 last season thanks to a tremendous 2nd half. If Maholm can start off 2008 like he ended 2007, the one-two-three guys in this rotation could be a big surprise to the National League.
  4. Matt Morris-RP- As I like to say, Morris, well, he’s there. He got hit around a lot early this spring, but started top pull it together at the end. However, don’t expect much pitching wise from this guy. Morris is there to teach the young guys and to be an innings eater. It’s important to have a veteran guy in the rotation so that the young guys have someone to learn from. Other than that, as for now he is just a spot filler.
  5. Zach Duke-LP-With the return of Jeff Andrew, expect Zach Duke to be the guy we saw 3 years ago when he went 8-1. He also had an off season to heal completely from shoulder tendonitis. The one thing that is key for Duke to have a bounce back year is for him to remember how to have fun. Expect a 10 game winner out of Duke. This will be excellent coming from the number five sport in the rotation.

An important thing to not about this years starting rotation is the return of Jeff Andrews. Andrews worked with all 4 young guys in the rotation all the way through the minor league system. A minor league system the produced great players in the minors. With him as their coach once again, I think every single on of them will return to the form they had when they first entered the majors.

That’s that for the starting rotation. Tomorrow I conclude this 3 part series with the ever interesting bullpen.