Pittsburgh Pirates and Five Players to be Excited about Next Year

Tyler CurtisAnalyst IOctober 2, 2010

Pittsburgh Pirates and Five Players to be Excited about Next Year

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    ST. LOUIS - AUGUST 1: Andrew McCutchen of the St. Louis Cardinals fields a fly ball against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Busch Stadium on August 1, 2010 in St. Louis, Missouri.  The Cardinals beat the Pirates 9-1.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    The Pirates are concluding yet another terrible season with only two games left in the 2010 schedule. They are going to pick first overall in next year's draft and have over 100 losses.

    This seems pretty dim and honestly it is hard to get excited over much, but the Pirates have their young core finally and have reinforcements on the way.

    With any luck they will be just a little bit better in 2011 and will make huge strides in 2012. No need to look that far ahead as you will need a reason to get tickets for next year.

    These are the five players that will have you glued to the television next year when the Pirates are on FSN.

No. 5: Jameson Taillon

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    We will not see Taillon pitch in the majors in 2011 and probably wont see him in 2012 either, but he is someone I had to include on the list.

    Watching the development of this 6’7”, 230 pound flamethrower is going to excite fans as much as the play on the field.

    He already hits 94-99 mph on the radar gun and should only improve once he hits the Pirates system. If he runs through the system fast, it will be even more exciting for Pirates fans.

No. 4: Neil Walker

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    As of tonight Walker has hit .299 with 12 home runs and 66 runs batted in. He did all this damage in 107 games. Those numbers may improve or drop slightly after the season is over.

    That is good enough to have him in the Rookie of the Year discussion, and he is as deserving as any other player that is mentioned.

    Any way you look at it, this kid was a surprise and a player I cant wait to see more of. He is an average second baseman but has only been playing there for about a year.

    With a full year in the majors and more time at second base, he is only going to improve.

No. 3: Andrew McCutchen

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    CINCINNATI - SEPTEMBER 12: Andrew McCutchen #22 of the Pittsburgh Pirates swings at a pitch during the game against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ballpark on September 12, 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio. He hit a three run double in the ninth inning to
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    I don’t need to throw stats your way for you to know McCutchen is exciting to watch. Regardless of how well he hits (which is going to be good every year), the guy is fun to watch.

    He has other-worldly speed, will put some over the fence, and makes exciting plays in the field. He has had a good year in his first full year and hopefully will improve more.

    It is truly a honor to get to watch him take the field, and Pirates fans don’t know how lucky they are to watch him day-in and day-out.

No. 2: James McDonald

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    McDonald has been a pleasant surprise since coming over from the Los Angeles Dodgers and has looked great for the Pirates.

    His 4-6 record with a 4.02 ERA wont catch your eye right off the bat. If you dig deeper, you see his numbers with the Pirates are much better.

    He is 4-5 and has a 3.52 ERA. We got him for nothing, and if he continues to improve next year he may be one of the biggest steals ever for the Pirates.

No. 1: Pedro Alvarez

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    CINCINNATI - SEPTEMBER 12:  Pedro Alvarez #17 of the Pittsburgh Pirates is pictured during the game against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ballpark on September 12, 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    To say Alvarez played poorly when he first came up is a massive understatement. He was downright terrible and looked like a bust before he could get his feet wet.

    Then he started to hit the ball over the wall, then he did it again and again. He hasn’t stopped crushing the ball sine that first homer.

    He has 16 on the year in only 94 games. If he keeps hitting the ball out of the yard like this next year, he is going to be very, very fun to watch.