Monday, February 25, 2008

2008 Pittsburgh Pirates Fantasy Team Preview

Last season the Pirates finished the season at 68-94 and had the second to worst record in baseball behind the Tampa Rays. Does this team have any players with fantasy value? The answer is yes!

Notable Off-Season Moves

Signed Doug Mientkiewicz to a minor league deal. Doug adds leadership, a great glove and post season experience to a very young team.

Traded Solomon Torres to the Brewers, solidifying Matt Capps as the closer and Damaso Marte as the set up man.

Projected Positional Starters

C- Ronnie Paulino/ Ryan Doumit
1B- Adam Laroche
2B- Freddy Sanchez
3B- Jose Bautista
SS- Jack Wislon
LF- Jason Bay
CF- Nyjer Morgan/ Nate McLouth
RF- Xavier Nady

Projected Starting Rotation

Ace- Tom Gorzelanny
2- Ian Snell
3- Paul Maholm
4- Matt Morris
5- Zack Duke

Projected Bullpen

Closer- Matt Capps
Set Up Men- Damaso Marte, Byung-Hyun Kim, and John Grabow

Also Invited to Camp:
Jaret Wright - Has a lot to prove, check his numbers this spring and see if he still has it.

Casey Fossum- He was once traded for Curt Schilling so he must be good...

If these guys have an above average spring training they will either make the Pirates or get on with another team. They both have proven they can pitch at this level, the question is though, is the "magic" still there?

Hitters to Draft

Jason Bay, LF - Bay had a dismal season in 2007, only batting .247 with 21 HR and 84 RBI. His first three seasons in the majors he averaged 30 HR and 90 RBI. Don't let least season scare you, his stats from 07 may scare many owners away and he will fall on many draft boards. I figure if he can put up stud fantasy numbers three years in a row then he is worth drafting.

Adam Laroche, 1B - If you get overwhelmed during your draft and look at your sheet in the 18th round and see you don't have a first baseman, Adam Laroche will save the day. Look for LaRoche to give you 20 HR and about 80 RBI.

Xavier Nady, RF - The X man can hit for power and will give you numbers similar to LaRoche. X is a good fifth outfielder or bench guy you can plug into the DH/U spot of your lineup from day to day.

Freddy Sanchez, 2B - Underrated second basemen here. The second base position is deep with studs, however, don't worry if you don't get one, Sanchez will be around after the dust clears. Hollywood Freddy will give you an average around .300 with some runs scored and RBIs and will not hurt you in the field.

Pitchers to Draft

Tom Gorzelanny, SP - The man who has done everything Zack Duke was supposed to do but didn't. Gorzelanny posted a career high last season with 14 wins. He is steadily improving in his young career. 135 strikeouts isn't too bad and won't kill you if you make him your number 3 or 4 starter.

Matt Capps, CL - Solomon Torres out! Matty Capps in! The Holds virtuoso is now the Pirates closer. Following in the footsteps of Rivera, Lidge and K Rod. Will Capps be the next big time closer? Last season he was 18/21 in save opportunities and posted a 2.28 ERA. I consider him a top closer and he will be around late in your draft.

Ian Snell, SP - He should have double digit wins and looks to be following the footsteps of Oliver Perez. Show great stuff every once in a while and be stuck in Pittsburgh. He will also provide a boost in your teams strikeouts and his ERA should be in the mid 3's.

Players to Avoid

Matt Morris, SP - He's old, has an ERA near five, is stuck in Pittsburgh and doesn't have dazzling stuff.

Zack Duke, SP - You would think he was traded to the American League the way he has been pitching. Duke just hasn't panned out in the big leagues and is losing favor in Pittsburgh. Maybe a change of scenery will help this young man get his career going.

Sleepers

Ryan Doumit, C - If he wins the starting catching job in spring training Doumit could be a pretty nice sleeper in your draft. Last season he posted 9 HR, 32 RBI, 33 R and a .274 AVG... in only 252 at bats. Imagine what he could do with a full season?

Nyjer Morgan, CF - The young center fielder could be the next big base stealer in the major leagues. In the minors he stole over twenty bases at every level and even stole 59 in 2006! If he can show he can hit big league pitching he may be the next Juan Pierre. Last season in his September call up he batted 299 and had 7 stolen bases in 28 games.

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