Pittsburgh Pirates Roundtable – Why keep watching?

Question:
Which storyline interests you the most about the remainder of the season?

Mike from Hyzdu Headquarters
The stories leading up to this point in the season revolved around the new management team, the draft, and the trade deadline. Now that most have passed I think there will be a few stories left to follow throughout the season. One will most definitely be how Steve Pearce adjusts to major league hitting. His development in the final parts of the season will go a long way to seeing what type of major leaguer he can be. Another somewhat related story is whether Andrew McCutchen will make an appearance in Pittsburgh. With the apparent rebuilding going on McCutchen’s name will be on the lips of most anyone watching the Bucs.
Finally the story that will more than likely dominate this team come the end of the year will be the streak. Everyone will be made aware of the historical significance of this streak as the year progresses. I am sure it will make national news, and maybe get a word in between the endless Steeler coverage here locally. That sadly will be the story for this team, even though many on it will have had little to do with it.
Andy Smith from Bugs & Cranks
I’m really interested in the development of Andy LaRoche. Of the nine players the Pirates acquired last month, he’s reported to have the highest pedigree. His stats in the minors were there, and supposedly all that was holding him back was the Dodgers hesitation to give a starting spot to a young player. Given what the Pirates just gave up on offense, and their lack of power bats in the minor leagues, a hitter like LaRoche would go along way towards aiding the rebuilding process. If he can stay healthy (another question mark), some middle of the line-up pop would make me feel a lot better heading into next season.
Randy Linville from Pittsburgh Lumber Co.
The story line that interests me the most is the development of Jeff Karstens. In the recent past I’ve been excited by the early efforts of Zach Duke and Paul Maholm only to be ultimately underwhelmed by their success. I’m not holding my breath, but it would be great if Karstens could mature into a front of the rotation starter long term.
Jesse from Raise the Jolly Roger!
Right now I am most interested in the Pedro Alvarez situation, and boy am I going to be angry if we don’t sign him. This guy is an unbelievable player, get him on the field. He would have had the possibility to play next year in the bigs if we would have signed him already. I don’t think we will sign him and I’m going to be mad.
Matt Bandi from Pittsburgh Lumber Co.
As the season winds down, I am most interested in seeing how Ian Snell performs. He was the Pirates’ ace coming into the season, and now may be on the verge of losing his spot in the rotation. The front office has added several serviceable arms to the organization, making things very interesting for next spring. Most likely, Paul Maholm is the only starting pitcher to have locked up a job for 2009. If Snell continues to struggle down the stretch, he could very well find himself in Indy next year. It will be very interesting to see if he can manage to salvage the end of this disastrous season.
On that note, I hope that the Pirates keep Snell in Pittsburgh for the remainder of the season. He only has one option remaining, and I would hate for a situation to arise next year in which he must make the roster or pass through waivers. There is no reason to waste that option late in a wasted 2008 season. The team may as well let him pitch and see if he can improve his performance.

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2 Responses to “Pittsburgh Pirates Roundtable – Why keep watching?”

  1. Paul DiBlasi Says:

    There are four milestones in every Pirate season:
    Opening Day – every team is in the race
    Memorial Day – Pirates essentially eliminated from the race
    July 31 Trading Deadline – decent Pirate players moved for “prospects”
    Opening of Steeler’s camp – Pirates disappear from view
    That means opening day 2009 is our next big event.

  2. Paul DiBlasi Says:

    I’m not optimistic about Andy LaRoche.
    He couldn’t beat out 22 year old Blake DeWitt for the starting 3B job. Then when DeWitt only hit .257 with 5 HR in 280 ABs, the Dodgers traded for Casey Blake rather than promoting LaRoche. Clearly the Dodgers had decided that he wasn’t the answer at 3B.
    Furthermore, his modest AAA numbers (.293 5HR in 123AB) seem to be a product of playing in hitter friendly Las Vegas. He hit .364 in Vegas and .253 on the road.
    Overall he seems more Freddy Sanchez – hit .300, high OPB, 15HR — than a real run producer. Also, Baseball American called him a below average fielder and athlete. Given all this I doubt he’s a better option than Neil Walker, Pedro Alverez and yes, Jose Bautistia.


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