Spring Training Update: Season Previews Abound
With a week left until the first fastball leaves Roy Oswalt’s hand, I figured I’d take one last look at what we Pirates fans are facing. Is it going to be another long 162 games?
Instead of waxing pessimistic about the black and gold, I’ll play the role of RSS feed aggregator and bring you this off-season’s Most Valuable Posts from around the blogosphere as a sort of review preview.
As an aside: If you’ve read anything I’ve missed unconscionably, feel free to throw up a link in the comments.
I’ll lead with a comprehensive look at the numbers: Pat from WHYGAVS has a multi-part preview running taking a look at—appropriately—“what needs to happen for the Pirates to be good in 2007.”
His thoughts, in short:
- Chris Duffy must be a consistent offensive contributor
- One of the Jose’s must step up on offense.
- We must get 2003-2004 Craig Wilson level performance out of whoever plays right field.
- Jason Bay must continue to produce at a high level.
- Freddy Sanchez must do a reasonable impression of his 2006 self.
- The four pitchers at the top of our rotation must not get hurt.
- The four pitchers at the top of our rotation must improve considerably on their 2006 seasons.
- The bullpen must find a way to replace Mike Gonzalez and the Salomon Torres innings we potentially lose with him at closer.
- Jack Wilson must play well in the field and be a reasonable offensive player (as opposed to the bad one he normally is).
- Adam LaRoche must adapt to PNC Park and at least approach the power numbers he put up last year.
Pat proposed his series as a feature to complement Charlie’s community projections. The frequent commentors over at Bucs Dugout all weighed in with their own two cents, putting together a few dollars’ worth of pre-season estimations. Will Jason Bay slug .564? Only time will tell.
Since Pirates fans are such a depressing lot, Matt from Wait ‘Til Next Year put together an “Optimistic Look at the 2007 Pittsburgh Pirates.” His disclaimer:
This is not for Bob Smizik. This is for the Pirate fan that needs something to hope for. This is for the 12-year-old boy that loves Jack Wilson and constantly begs his parents to take him to PNC Park, despite the fact that he has never known the Pirates to be anything more than a Jay Leno joke.
Steve from The Parrot puts together a creative metaphor, equating wins and losses to “Steak or Dog Food.” A teaser:
As I said, so many negative results (dog food) creates the expectation of more, and the hope for and anticipation of positive results (steak). The whole system has to be changed, from a new bank to better cooks. Until then, expect lots of Iams.
Of course, there’s the work we did here at Lumber Co. and Pittsburgh Pirates Roundtable. I wasted a good bit of time trying to use ZiPS to pick the NL Central Division’s winner. That study was brought on by the reader response to two separate roundtables. For what it’s worth, of the ten bloggers who weighed in with their thoughts, none picked the Pirates to finish any higher than third.
More digestable were the “Ten Things I Need to Know about the Pirates.”
One of the Devil Rays’ announcers made the comment of the year on the radio broadcast of Sunday’s game. “The Pirates have stickers all over their ballpark saying ‘We Will.’ ‘We Will’ what? Fill in the blank.”
Only seven days left until his question’s answered.