Time and time again, we've come to the same conclusion about the 2007 Pirates: They'll go as far as the top of the order carries them. We're not worried about Sanchez, LaRoche and Bay. We're confident that our starting rotation can at least achieve mediocrity. We lost our closer, but our bullpen is still a strength. It's Duffy and Wilson that make us nervous.
I decided to take a look at the 2006 Pirates to find out how the team did with different players at the top of the order. Back to the Retrosheet method--counting, tallying and concluding.
For the purposes of this study, I went through the 162 box scores from last season and recorded the names of anyone who started a game batting first or second. Roll call:
1. Chris Duffy, 72 games; Jose Bautista, 44; Nate McLouth, 43; Jack Wilson, 1; Freddy Sanchez, 1.
2. Jack Wilson, 127 games; Jose Bautista, 14; Nate McLouth, 10; Jose Hernandez, 4; Joe Randa, 3; Freddy Sanchez, 3; Chris Duffy, 1.
I broke the season into two halves, with the Al...