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  1. Doumit is still around. Don’t you think he’ll be getting some AB’s at first and right?

    Comment by ofMontreal — March 2, 2011 @ 1:36 pm

  2. Matt Diaz is also slated to platoon with Garrett Jones in RF… and Kevin Hart will likely open up the year on the DL.

    No offense Joe, but it doesn’t look like this preview was researched very well.

    Comment by gonfalon — March 2, 2011 @ 1:53 pm

  3. It was two omissions. One was intentional — I don’t think Doumit really has a place to play. I whiffed on Diaz. My bad. That does make Jones’s/RF’s projection look a bit better.

    Comment by Joe Pawlikowski — March 2, 2011 @ 1:55 pm

  4. Most certainly, but it will be coming off the bench. He’s no longer a viable starting catcher, but he could catch some games, and he’ll be the 4th or 5th OF depending on how they use Matt Diaz.

    (And I think it would’ve been good for Joe–or whoever was assigned to/volunteered to write this preview–to put more of this into the preview. I think it’s mostly fine, but it kind of skips over the fact that the Pirates will likely have several battles for playing time, with Diaz seeing time at 1B and in the OF and Doumit seeing time at C, 1B, and OF. And then there’s Steven Pearce, former top prospect who could also see time at–you guessed it–1B and OF, but only if there’s an injury, most likely.)

    Comment by Jim — March 2, 2011 @ 1:56 pm

  5. The problem, Jim, is that in just talking about the projected starters the article is already over 1,800 words. I thought that, for the sake of brevity, that I leave the bench players off the list. Diaz was an admitted omission, since I think he’ll get a decent number of PAs. But I left out Doumit, Pearce, etc., because it would make the thing even huger.

    Comment by Joe Pawlikowski — March 2, 2011 @ 2:02 pm

  6. Neil Walker had a (very) negative UZR last year. His +0.1 was just his six games at 3B. In 105 games at 2B, the position he’ll play in 2011, he posted a -10.8.

    Comment by epoc — March 2, 2011 @ 2:22 pm

  7. Walker’s walk rate is going to be critical. He’s in the second tier of offensive second baseman if he gets that up to a sufficient level. If not, he’s extremely average, and his defense will kill his value.

    Tabata is similar, though he has plus-plus defense in the corner outfield to compensate to some extent if his OBP is low.

    Comment by Kirsh — March 2, 2011 @ 4:21 pm

  8. Didn’t McLouth blame his low UZR’s on playing aggressively shallow? Taking away the XBH’s seems to be the opposite tactic in the McCutcheon era.

    Comment by gdc — March 2, 2011 @ 4:29 pm

  9. In one paragraph you say McCutchen is the league’s best centerfielder, and in another you say his UZR ranks him among the worst? Are we to infer that the former statement was simply about offensive value, or that his UZR may have been anomalous? He certainly doesn’t have the (lack of) athleticism of a league worst outfielder.

    Comment by mhad — March 3, 2011 @ 1:33 am

  10. Keep reading.

    Comment by Salt-n-Pepitone Loc — March 3, 2011 @ 1:43 am

  11. I’m hopeful that the Pirates will make even more use of platoons than just in right field.

    Doumit was really exposed defensively last year as an everyday catcher. However, when he got a chance to rest a lot, he actually was not bad last year after Snyder arrived. I would like to see Doumit get at least half of the starts against RHPs. Doumit really does not need to be playing in RF or 1B, where he is scary terrible.

    Overbay also could fall into a platoon with Pearce. Pearce has an excellent lifetime wOBA against LHPs, which could combine with Overbay to give the Pirates pretty good production at 1B.

    Not every player thrives within a platoon, but using platoons for all 3 positions could make the Pirates’ offense a lot more respectable in 2011. It would leave SS as the only below average production in the Pirates’ lineup.

    Comment by MarkInDallas — March 3, 2011 @ 2:09 am

  12. I still don’t understand why McCutchen’s UZR was so terrible. I do agree that part of it could be the defensive alignment, and Russell had this weird setup where he and Milledge would essentially be two center fielders and no one would cover left. I don’t really know enough to determine whether McCutchen showed bad range or just lined up in unfavorable spots, but watching him play he certainly looks like a good fielder.

    I thought it was weird that you said Ohlendorf could be someone to leave the rotation because he’s outperforming his peripherals. I’ve watched every one of his starts, and even if he does get lucky with some fly balls, he’s the only guy on the team who knows how to pitch effectively. He nibbles at the zone too much which keeps some innings alive with walks, but his slider/slurve is a brutal out pitch, something that Maholm or Duke never had. Once he can start lasting longer in games, he can be our best pitcher, maybe second best to McDonald. I’m thinking Maholm will be traded at the deadline and Rudy Owens will assume a full time rotation spot.

    Comment by Pat — March 3, 2011 @ 11:48 am

  13. Wow thanks for not making that too depressing. Looking forward to watching McDonald this year, he’s the only pitcher that misses bats.

    For McCutchen’s UZR, the statistic is flawed obviously. If I understand UZR correctly (probably not), the left fielders shading into left center takes some of Cutch’s plays away from those zones. LC is big at PNC so that was probably where some of his value came from in 2009. Also, a ball that Cutch gets to but makes an error on can hurt his value relative to other CFs who let the ball hit the fence and throw it in. UZR doesn’t factor in Cutch’s arm or hitting either, so calling him the best CF and citing a negative UZR isn’t necessarily contradictory.

    Will the Pirates ever have players who get on base? Even if Alvarez develops into a Prince Fielder-like hitter, there won’t be anyone on base for him. Pirates management has said they will supplement a competitive team with veteran pieces, and you have to assume this means a veteran bat (a la Orioles this year) and starting pitching… But a core of 4 young hitters — two of which can’t get on base AND don’t hit for power — and possibly no 1st, 2nd or 3rd starters in this rotation is disturbing. I don’t think there is a competitive team ready to be supplemented in the near future… or distant future.

    Start counting down ’til Taillon’s inevitable TJ…

    Comment by Vote4Pedro — March 3, 2011 @ 5:06 pm

  14. I’m not sure who you are referring to that can’t get on base. Tabata had a .346 OBP and Walker had a .349 OBP in their first year of MLB ball. Alvarez had the lowest OBP of the four (Alvarez had a .326 OBP and McCutchen’s .365 OBP). I would guess that Tabata and Walker will both improve their walk ratios further in 2011 with experience and if Alvarez can improve his K rate, his OBP will also go up.

    Comment by MarkInDallas — March 3, 2011 @ 5:26 pm

  15. Just a note on McCutchen’s arm. His strength may be average and his accuracy at best would be average. He shows a terrible frequency of rainbowing his throws and consistently overthrows the cutoff man.

    Comment by cmarco — March 5, 2011 @ 10:04 pm

  16. Won’t it only be 19 losing seasons if they lose more games than they win this year?

    Comment by Doug — March 8, 2011 @ 5:16 pm

  17. This was wrong on a lot of levels. Doumit ended up being the starter. Alvarez blew. But they were better, because it’s hard to lose over 100 games consistently.

    Comment by John Lease — February 21, 2012 @ 12:37 pm

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