Back to the Future: What the Bucs Could Look Like in 2014

Matt Shetler@@buccos12Correspondent IJanuary 15, 2011

Back to the Future: What the Bucs Could Look Like in 2014

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    PITTSBURGH - AUGUST 03:  Pedro Alvarez #17 of the Pittsburgh Pirates congratulates teammate Lastings Milledge #85 after they scored in the second inning against the Cincinnati Reds during the game on August 3, 2010 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
    Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    As Baseball America just recently released their annual Top Prospects list, now’s a perfect time to take a look at exactly how bright the future of the Pittsburgh Pirates could actually be. At no time during the current 18-year drought has the state of the organization looked so bright.

    While it may not turn into wins this season, expect the Pirates' front office to stick to the current trend of spending money through the draft.  If they do, set a time table of about two-three years before the Pirates have a chance to become competitive year in and year out.

    With that in mind, let’s take a look into the future and what the Pirates potential opening day lineup in 2014 could look like.

Catcher-Tony Sanchez

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    Sanchez, the fourth overall pick in the nation in 2009, has progressed quite nicely since he signed with the Pirates. Being hit in the face with a pitch set his timetable back a bit last season, but Sanchez is still on a good pace to get to the majors quickly.

    He has a chance to be an excellent defensive catcher and should hit for average at the major league level.

First Base-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

    Some scouts feel the move to first is inevitable for Alvarez anyway.  The switch across the diamond won’t be a problem for Pedro. He will offer a solid glove there.

    Alvarez showed glimpses in 2010 of what type of power production he can offer.  By 2014 Alvarez has the chance to become one of the better run producers in the game.

Second Base-Neil Walker

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    PITTSBURGH - JUNE 01:  Neil Walker #18 of the Pittsburgh Pirates is congratulated by teammate Garrett Jones #46 after hitting a two-run homerun, the first of his major league career, against the Chicago Cubs on June 1, 2010 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Penn
    Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    Walker surprised many in 2010, not only with his bat, but with his ability to play a solid second base.  “The Pittsburgh Kid” should continue to grow as a player and become a fixture in the Pirates lineup for years to come.

Third Base-Anthony Rendon

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    Rendon, the likely No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft, has all of the tools to become something special.  The Pirates better draft him.

    If they do, they will be set at the corner infield spots for a long time.

Shortstop-Chase D’Arnaud

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    With all of the prospects the Pirates have acquired and drafted the past couple of seasons, it seems like d’Arnaud’s name has been lost in the shuffle.

    He’s still the Pirates' shortstop of the future though and should arrive within the next year or two.  He can become an above-average glove guy with a pretty good bat that has solid gap to gap power

Left Field-Andrew McCutchen

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    DETROIT - JUNE 13: Andrew McCutchen #22 of the Pittsburgh Pirates bats in the sixth inning against the Detroit Tigers during the game on June 12, 2010 at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan. The Tigers defeated the Pirates 4-3.  (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty
    Leon Halip/Getty Images

    I know you’re thinking there’s no way McCutchen will ever move to left field, but it’s not as crazy as it sounds, especially in the big PNC Park left field.  The interesting thing will be to see what type of numbers Cutch is putting up by 2014.

Center Field-Starling Marte

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    You need a reason to move McCutchen to left field? I give you Starling Marte. Marte is hands down the best athlete in the organization and looks capable of becoming a major league superstar.  He is likely the position player to get the most excited about in the entire organization.

Right Field-Jose Tabata

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    CINCINNATI - SEPTEMBER 11: Jose Tabata #31 of the Pittsburg Pirates swings at a pitch during the game against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on September 11, 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Tabata showed signs of what type of player he can become in his half season in the majors last year.  He’s just going to get better.  Moving him to right field when Marte arrives gives the Pirates potentially one of the most athletic outfields around.

Starting Rotation

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    Jameson Taillon

    Taillon and his rocket arm will become the ace of the Pirates staff that is desperately waiting for a young shot in the arm.  The big Texan and his rocket for an arm could quickly become a Major League stud.

    James McDonald

    Several Pirates pitchers have looked good initially in recent memory, but fizzled out quickly after. This won’t happen to McDonald, who along with possessing a nice fastball has several ways to get opposing hitters out.

    Rudy Owens

    Owens has made quite the impression in the minors and made it quickly.  He has a chance to be in Pittsburgh by next season.  If you have ever watched Owens, this kid can pitch and should likely continue his progression.

    Luis Heredia

    This could be a stretch, but 2014 actually could be the rookie season for the young prodigy, assuming he progresses through the system the way most feel he is capable.  Being that he still isn’t 18, the Pirates will likely take things slow with him, but reports suggest he could be a good one.

    Bryan Morris

    Morris will likely be the young pitcher with the first chance to make an impression on the big club.  He’s a strike thrower just like Owens and shouldn’t have a problem getting to the majors.  Getting there and staying there as we’ve learned has been a problem with some of these guys, but Morris looks like a keeper.

Closer- Stetson Allie

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    This seems a logical move, at least initially in Allie’s career.  A 100 mph fastball closing out games is a nice weapon to have.  Once he learns better command and control, the closer role could become a great fit for him.