Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Finding Keepers: Pittsburgh Pirates

One of the more enjoyable aspects of fantasy baseball is that even the bad teams can have very valuable assets to own. Such is the case when looking at a team like the Pittsburgh Pirates. They haven't had a winning season since 1992 but do have some players worthy of a "keeper" selection and several others that will have fantasy value throughout the season.

The Pirates best player and a no-brainer keeper selection is OF Andrew McCutchen. He finished 2010 as the 39th-ranked player on ESPN's Player Rater and the 15th-ranked outfielder. His 162 game career averages of .286/104/17/68/34 makes him a must-own player in all fantasy baseball formats. Check out his projections and rankings on his player page. Impressive!

Depending on the depth of your league, 2B Neil Walker deserves consideration as a keeper. A second baseman that can hit .280+ with 15+ HR, 75+ R, 75+ RBI, 10 SB potential can be a very valuable asset to own come draft day. In no way am I suggesting that Walker is or ever will be an elite option at second base but he should easily finish ranked in the top 10 come season's end.

If you're the type of fantasy owner that loves to keep young players with potential (and risks) then these next two players are probably right up your alley and deserve keeper consideration. OF Jose Tabata and 3B Pedro Alvarez each showed they have major league-ready talent in around 100 games last season. Tabata showed the potential to score 100 runs, steal 30 bases and hit around .300 while Alvarez flashed 25 HR/100 RBI power. Of the two, Tabata is probably the safer bet to succeed in 2011. Alvarez only hit .256 and struck out at rate that would have surpassed 200 K's over 162 games. If I'm the Pirates, I run them out there for 150+ games and see what they can do.

Best of the rest but not keepers:
  • 1B Lyle Overbay was signed to get his 500 at bats, hit 15 home runs and bat .260. It's a shame they didn't have anyone in their system (Steven Pearce?) with enough potential to compete for the job in Spring Training. That would have given fantasy owners something to look forward to and talk about.
  • 1B/OF Garrett Jones probably takes the biggest hit with the Overbay signing. He'll now bring his 20+ HR power into the first base mix and an outfield platoon with newly signed OF Matt Diaz.
  • RP Joel Hanrahan was officially announced as the Opening Day closer. He had a very high 12.9 K/9 ratio in 2010 to go along with a very nice 3.85 K/BB ratio. If your league uses these alternative scoring columns, his value goes up but would never qualify as a keeper.
  • SP Ross Ohlendorf went 1-11 in 2010 and won his arbitration case against the Pirates. He shouldn't even be considered on draft day but his case kept the value of advanced statistics (Sabermetrics) in the news.
Fans of the Pittsburgh Pirates may be in for another long season on the field but their roster includes many ownable fantasy baseball assets while their farm system currently offers slim hope for a brighter tomorrow.

Be sure to check out the rest of the articles in my "Finding Keepers" series as you prepare to lock in your keepers and continue preparing for your upcoming drafts. Also, if you're interested in participating in a fantasy baseball draft made up of COSFBA Readers and Followers on Twitter, check out my recent article here to get more information.

No comments:

Post a Comment