This isn't very scientific, but as I cracked open a recent issue of Sports Illustrated -- yes, my sentimental self still subscribes to the hard copy -- I stumbled upon a listing of the top 100 players in Major League Baseball.

Zero Pirates were included.

Upon immediate reflection, I realized I shouldn't have been surprised, but it did hammer home a point several of you made regarding my column about the Pirates' ongoing retool. My angle from the LECOM Park bleachers was mostly about the absence of intangible things like excitement, but there's a measurable, quantifiable lack of star power on this team.

If the opinion of one publication doesn't do it for you, then we can make this argument via projection systems.

Of ZiPS and Steamer, there is precisely one Pirate expected to be ...

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