2009 Pittsburgh Pirates Baseball Preview

The biggest thing to happen to the Pittsburgh Pirates (67- 95) in 2008 was the trading of Jason Bay to the Boston Red Sox. Bay and the team in Beantown soared while the Steel City club crashed and burned. The hitting was bad but the pitching was worse. 2009, which is definitely a rebuilding year, looks to be more of the same.

There are three lefties on this pitching staff. Paul Maholm (9- 9 W/L, 3.71 ERA, .263 BAA), the number one starter and a lefty, offers a fine tailing fastball, a sweeping slider and fading change. He can fool hitters time and again. Ian Snell (7- 12 W/L, 5.42 ERA, .304 BAA) is a power pitcher with an electric fastball. He also shows a hard curve and a deceptive slider. Lefties Zach Duke (5- 14 W/L, 4.82 ERA, .304 BAA) and Tom Gorzelanny (6- 9 W/L, 6.66 ERA, .293 BAA) offer decent fastballs. Duke has to keep his pitches down. Gorzelanny can be inconsistent. Matt Capps (3.02 ERA, 21 SV, .234 BAA), who dealt with injuries last season, uses four pitches to close out the game. The bullpen is thin.

Nate McLouth (.276 BA, 94 RBI, 26 HR, 23 SB) can smoke balls with his quick bat and steal bases with his extreme speed. Catcher Ryan Doumit (.318 BA, 69 RBI, 15 HR) is an aggressive switch-hitter. Adam LaRoche (.270 BA, 85 RBI, 25 HR), a streak hitter, smacks homers and drives in runs. Nyjer Morgan (.294 BA, 7 RBI, 0 HR) uses his power to knock the ball to any part of the park. Jack Wilson (.272 BA, 22 RBI, 1 HR) is a cool headed contact hitter.

The infield is well manned. The middle features the quick Freddy Sanchez at second and top performing Jack Wilson at shortstop. At third, Andy LaRoche has solid tools. First is manned by quality athlete Adam LaRoche. Catcher Doumit has shown improvement behind the plate. In center, McLouth is average and in left Morgan is also about average. Right fielder Brandon Moss round out an average outfield.

In 2008, the Pittsburgh Pirates welcomed a whole new organization—president Frank Coonelly, GM Neal Huntington and manager John Russell. They ushered in the team's 16th straight losing season as they decided to gut the team and start all over. Russell, who served his first season as a MLB manager last year, proved to be a decent leader who earned the respect of his players.

For the 17th season in a row, the Pirates will post losing numbers. In a division that has at least three if not four contenders, the question is how can a team as bad as Pittsburgh put up winning numbers, let alone contend for a playoff spot? They are going to have to be aggressive, spend money and develop the farm. We're not talking a year or two here. This is a five-year project.

Check out the Pirates other NL central division rivals, Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, St. Louis Cardinals, Milwaukee Brewers and Houston Astros.

For more info on Pittsburgh check out the MLB website for the Pirates.


2009 Baseball Preview

The 2009 Major League Baseball season is here and Maddux Sports once again has unveiled their annual preview of this years summer pastime. We go in-depth on all 30 baseball teams as well as our divisional predictions including order of finish. To find your favorite team click on the division links to the right. At anytime you can return to the 2009 baseball preview page.

09 MLB Division Previews

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