If you haven’t heard of the Pittsburgh Pirates organization let me give you a brief history.
The Pirates contend in the National League Central Division against the Cardinals, Cubs, Brewers, Reds, and Astros. They are four-time World Series champions. They won the Series in 1909, 1925, 1960, 1971, and 1979 with players such as Willie Stargell, Dave Parker, Honus Wagner, Al Oliver, Rennie Stennett, and Roberto Clemente. The last time the Pirates were even close to being competitive was in the 1997 season when they were eliminated from playoff contention in the final week of the season. In those years, we saw two top players go such as Barry Bonds and Andy Van Slyke.
Since then we’ve seen players like Nate McLouth, Jack Wilson, Oliver Perez, Jason Bay, Xavier Nady, Jason Kendall, and Freddy Sanchez come and go. The draft picks have not been so great, with people like Bryan Bullington being drafted and nothing happening.
But with the recent trades that they have made in Pittsburgh there is a new feeling of hope.
This season they have traded players Nate McLouth, Jack Wilson, Nyjer Morgan, Sean Burnett, Adam LaRoche, Erick Hinske, Freddy Sanchez, John Grabow, and Tom Gorzelanny.
In-exchange, the Pirates received a slew of prospects that included Jeff Locke, Charlite Morton, Gorkys Hernandez, Lastings Milledge, Hunter Strickland, Argenis Diaz, Ronny Cedeno, Jeff Clement, Aaron Pribanic, Brett Lorin, Nathan Adcock, TIm Alderson, Kevin Hart, Jose Ascanio, and Josh Harrison.
All players who make Pittsburgh’s future mightier.
Right now, Pittsburgh’s rotation includes Zach Duke, Kevin Hart, Paul Maholm, Charlie Morton, and Ross Ohlendorf. Their bullpen includes former Nationals closer Jack Hanrahan and current close Matt Happs. Catcher is Ryan Doumit. Infielders include, Steve Pearce, Delwynn Young, Ronny Cedeno, and Andy LaRoche. Outfielders are Lastings Milledge, Andrew McCutchen, and Garrett Jones.
By 2012, here is what I predict the Pirates starting nine to be:
C: Ryan Doumit
1B: Andy LaRoche
2B: Neil Walker
SS: Ronny Cedeno
3B: Pedro Alvarez
CF: Andrew McCutchen
RF: Jose Tabata
The only real changes are the top prospects coming up. Pedro Alvarez might make an appearance next year along with Neil Walker. Going into the 2012 season Tabata will be a full-time starter as a rookie. Lastings will not be there for long.
As for the rotation here it is…
1. Zach Duke
2. Paul Maholm
3. Tim Alderson
4. Bryan Morris
5. Charlie Morton
Duke, Maholm, and Morton will still be there around the 2012 season. Alderson will be tearing up the minor leagues as well as Morris. Right now, Alderson is 21-6 with a 3.01 ERA in over two seasons in the minor leagues that span forty five games.
The bullpen will consist of Joel Hanrahan being the setup man for Daniel McCutchen. Happs will be gone from Pittsburgh.
This team could become a wild card contender and maybe an NL Central contender but they still need a veteran presence in the lineup to complete the full process of rebuilding. As a baseball fan I have complete faith in the Pirates.
I hope to see this organization do well.
Piece taken from my Baseball Blog http://tatersandgophers.wordpress.com/