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burgh_fan66
01-13-2009, 01:38 AM
Let me start by saying that this is to serve as a breif overview of the position and to generate some discussion in this forum. I am going to give an overview of the starter, the backup and top prospect. I consider Pearce the backup so its really difficult to find a treu top 1st base prospect in this organiztion. (im not counting alvarez, walker, romak or anyone else who might end up playing first base this is just for those considered first baseman.

Starter: Adam LaRoche: Outside of the emergence of McLouth and Doumit LaRoche is the Pirates best power threat. Upon being brought into Pittsburgh he was called Lefty McThump by Pirate fans and it was beleived he would provide the left right balance the Pirates offense needed. Things have not worked out as planned as LaRoche has had a poor April, May and first part of June the last two seasons. Despite having ADD LaRoche has proven to be a very solid defensive first baseman and has put up suprisingly good offensive stats given his terrible performance for the first part of the year. Before I get to his final stats lets compare his first half to his second half.

1st half: 251/330/434 (average, OBP, slugging)
2nd half: 304/361/613

More impressively he hit 390/472/805 in July to bust out of his first half slump. His final line was 270/341/500. Just for fun lets project his second half numbers to a full year (about 500 at bats). 38 HRs, 115 RBI, 70 runs scored, 305 total bases. 135 strike outs (still a little high but not too bad). Not too bad of production. If LaRoche could put together a full season of his second half play he could be in store for a great season. Personally I think this has a chance to happen this year, with his brother here to help motivate him.

Backup: Steve Pearce: He could be considered the top prospect but as the likely backup first baseman (and maybe even starting OF) he goes here. Two years ago Pearce rocketed his way from A ball to the majors and displayed enough power to make Pirate fans think of him as a true power prospect. Last year however Pearce's development was slowed by just a below average showing at AAA. Pearce's troubles comes from his inability to consistently drive breaking balls. It is known that Pearce can hit a fastball a mile but he must show that he can do the same with breaking balls. As mentioned before Pearce is currently a candidate for a starting corner OF job with the Pirates. I would like to see Pearce start out from the bench and given a chance to win the OF job later in the season or replace an ineffective LaRoche (if he has early struggles again). The worst sign for Pirate fans is the drop in Pearce's power (15.7 AB/HR two years ago(20.3 at AAA), 32.2 AB/HR last year (all AAA)). Pearce's line last year at AAA was 251/312/417. Also a candiate for some playing time at first base is Ramon Vazquez but we will discuss him more at third base. Andy Phillips was also signed as a minor league free agent and has an outside shot of making the team.

Prospect: A very tough choice here especially since I am not counting Alvarez or Romak. The three I believe worthy of mention are Jason Delany, Kent Sakamoto and Calvin Anderson. Because of deficiencies in the others I will go with Anderson, the Pirates 12th round draft pick last year. Anderson played in the short season league before an injury ended his season. In 170 at bats he had a line of 256/337/453. By far the "prospect" with the best stats was Delany. He was converted to first base last year because of a glut of corner OFs and a lack of first baseman. Most of his playing time came at AA where he had a line of 292/403/422, he also played sparingly at AAA and did ok: 255/364/337. He is 26 years old which really makes him borderline to be a prospect. Delany's career goal is not about playing baseball; he wants to become a MLB GM.

Finally the organiztional depth chart:
MLB: LaRoche, Pearce
AAA: Delany, Jones, Phillips, Mulhern, Boeve
AA: Sakamoto
A+: Hagan
A: Anderson, Byler
Short season: Vargas, Bartles
Rookie: none

obviously some changes will have to be made but this should give a rough idea. by the way some of this information i found at http://users.rcn.com/wtmiller/positions/depthchart.htm

at that site he gives the depth chart (which i use) and also breif profiles of all the players.

tooch
01-13-2009, 06:48 PM
nice i would like one day soon to see this team end the 15 losing season streak.

burgh_fan66
01-13-2009, 11:15 PM
so would I but sadly I dont see it happening this year unless basically everything goes right. I'm even thinking 2010 will be tough. I'm pretty optimistic about a good core being ready for a 500 or better run in 2011 though.

tooch
01-14-2009, 12:26 AM
yeah lets hope unless someone has a great breakout year. one of our starters need to do that

sep11ie
01-15-2009, 11:49 AM
I've said it before, the team is a front line starter and impact bat away from being really good.

burgh_fan66
01-15-2009, 08:27 PM
I've said it before, the team is a front line starter and impact bat away from being really good.

Im not so sure about that. The rotation needs a lot of work, and most of the position players are inconsistent at best. I am feeling more confident though especially with how this past draft went and even the trade of Nady.

MooseWithFleas
01-22-2009, 11:28 PM
The batting is not the problem. If Sanchez returns to forum and LaRoche puts together some consistency, the Pirates are a middle of the pack offense. They were 9th out of 16 in the NL in runs scored last year, which isn't that terrible. Unfortunatley, the pitching was absolutley horrid last year and needs to improve drastically. They gave up a whopping 884 runs, which is 59 runs worse than the 2nd worst in the N.L. (nationals).

burgh_fan66
01-23-2009, 09:43 AM
pitching is the problem and i will get to that at some point. but as far as batting goes remember that number was with 4 months of Xavier Nady and Jason Bay. So the offense is missing two major parts from last year and while it can still be decent it is still a minor concern.

MooseWithFleas
01-23-2009, 05:06 PM
Good point. Hopefully Doumit can stay healthy for the entire season to balance out those negatives