18 losing seasons and counting. My 21 year old son has no recollection of ever seeing the hometeam play .500 baseball.....but the end is in sight. But it won't happen this year.
For first time in recent memory, there is light at the end of the tunnel. I picked up Yahoo's fantasy baseball mag for 2011 and to my surprise, three Pirates are on their list of the top 20 breakout players for the year:
- Pedro Alvarez
- Jose Tabata
- Neil Walker
The other reason for optimism is they continued the recent trend of not wasting a high draft choice on a player they thought they could sign and instead went after the best (arguably) player on the board this past year with pitching prospects Jamaison Taillon and Stetson Allie. With the first pick in the 2011 draft, I'm hoping they go after someone like Rice's 3B Anthony Rendon who projects as a power hitting corner infielder that could fast track to the majors.
They'll be better offensively in 2011 if for no other reason their top 4 or 5 hitters are still young and an experienced manager with a solid track record as a hitting instructor in the form of Clint Hurdle is going to help.
Pitching in 2011? None. Move on. Actually, one guy who will be interesting to watch (and a late round deep league pitching flier) is James MacDonald who put up some impressive numbers (44K's / 49 innings / 18 BB and allowing only one home / 3.49 ERA / 2.66 FIP) in his 8 starts after coming over from the Dodgers in the Dotel deal. Fangraphs had a story on him and labeled it "the biggest steal of trading season"