The Pittsburgh Pirates' Second-Half Preview
The Pirates first half record of 30-58 is another indication of an 18th straight losing season and another possible 100 loss season. The first half gave fans very few things to be happy about, but there were a few.
For one, the performance of the bullpen, which has been very good. The Evan Meek- Joel Hanrahan seventh and eighth inning combo has been very effective
Another positive first half thing has been the promotion of youngsters: Pedro Alvarez, Neil Walker, Jose Tabata and Brad Lincoln. That, coupled with many youngsters performing well throughout the minor leagues, give fans some real hope going forward.
The final positive thing of the first half has been Andrew McCutchen. He’s been around over a full calendar year now and keeps showing signs of being a legitimate stud.
So what should we look forward to in the second half of the season? While the record likely won’t get much better, there are several things that should keep fans intrested for the rest of the season.
For one, the youngsters should slowly start to get better. All four of the guys up right now should make the team worth keeping an eye on the rest of the way.
The trading deadline should also be worth keeping an eye on. While there won’t be a fire sale similar to years past; if the Pirates are smart, they will deal some of the current dead weight on the club. That includes: Ryan Doumit, Zach Duke and Ryan Church, among others.
They should also look into dealing some productive bullpen arms such as Brenden Donally, Octavio Dotel and DJ Carrasco. Stick to the plan and keep bringing in young players to the system.
With trades, you need new bodies to take their places, which means we could see even more young players promoted to the big club. Shortstop Argenis Diaz and left handed reliever Daniel Moskos are likely the first two on the radar.
As for the play on the field, it can’t get much worse fundamentally than the first half. The fundamentals have to start to improve all the way around, which could lead to a few more wins. Also, the starting pitching has to get better and the Pirates have to start to hit as a team.
One main area of focus has to be the play on the road, where the Bucs are a major league worst 11-38. They have to find ways to win on the road.
The plan to do this should be to continue to get younger at the big league level. The current mix of vets just flat out haven’t produced and their time should be up. Turn things over to a group of talented young players. While they will initially struggle at the major league level, let them grow together and learn to win together. It’s a risky plan, but it worked for the Rays. At this point, it’s worth trying to an extent, the current group won’t get much better until changes are made.
If anything, in the second half, the Pirates aren’t likely to improve their win total much, but are more likely to improve their chances at landing the number one overall pick, where they currently sit only one game ahead of the Baltimore Orioles.
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