Re: My Pirate Pre-Season Analysis
Well I will post my SP analysis over here as well since I'm still not getting very much traffic over at my other site...
1. Oliver Perez
One of the biggest question marks of the pitching staff is will Perez revert to 04 form? I dont think he will have an ERA under 3 again ala 04 (2.99 ERA) but I do think he will definatley be better than his 05 ERA of 5.85. I think there are two main reasons behind his sup par performance in 05, one was his off season layoff. He had played winter ball every previous off season and I dont think he knew what to do with the off time, I dont think he knew how to prepare for the next season and it showed... the other reason is Spin Williams just couldnt settle him down at all, Spin's deficiencies are something that you'll see me reference continually with the pitching staff. Getting rid of Spin in my opinion has been the best move of the Pirates off season.
2. Kip Wells
Kip has regressed in the last two seasons leading the league with 18 losses last year (8-18). Some of this was due to injury but 18 losses is still unexcusable. He has the talent but his head was just not in the game... due in large part to Spin and Mac. I think the new coaches will benifit him, also he just signed a 1 year contract for over 4 million so this year might be the last for Kip in a Pirate uniform unless he gets his act together
3. Zach Duke
Rookie phenom Duke will play an integral role in the sucess or failure of the Pirates this season. He was a stellar 8-2 with a 1.81 ERA last year untill he was shut down at the end with an injury. I doubt he will have quite that sucess this year but I do expect over 12 wins for him this year... He along with the rest of the guys will benifit from the change in coaches.
4. Paul Maholm
Maholm looked great last year comming in and taking up the slack left from Duke's injury quite nicely. He went 3-1 with a 2.18 ERA in 6 games. His question mark is, is he ready for the bigs or just a product of call up sucess? Only time will tell but for the Bucs sake lets hope so.
5. Sean Burnett
Sean is no lock for the fifth spot in the rotation but I think he will get it. He played admirably against be league competition although his stats may seem like he got shilacked (5-5 5.08 ERA in 13 G) but that doesnt tell the whole story. He also had a complete game shutout. His question mark is how will he come out of his arm injury that kept him out all last season? Both JVB, Vogelsong, Snell, Gorezelanny, and Bullington will all be looking to take this last spot in the rotation also.
The problem with the pitching staff in general is their age, only 24 years old on the average (Perez 24, Wells 28, Duke 22, Maholm 23, Burnett 24). This will definatley lead to the blow out games and long losing runs that have plagued the Pirates in recent years. The key to the entire season is not the mediocre offense but the ability of the coaching staff to keep these young pitchers on the right track and level headed.