Forgot Log-in or  Password? |  Help  Not a member, Register Now!
Play Fantasy The Most Award Winning Fantasy game with real time scoring, top expert analysis, custom settings, and more. Play Now
      
Fantasy Football Today
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Gameday Inactives
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Get Your Draft Board
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Red Zone Stats
Teams
Schedules
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Playoff Challenge
Commissioner
Prize Leagues
Free
Office Pool Manager
Game Pick'em
Player Challenge
Fantasy Baseball Today
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Rankings
Projections
Teams
Schedules
Probable Pitchers
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injuries
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Message Boards
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Downloadable Draft Kit
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
No Fantasy Teams Found
 
 
 

2011 Fantasy outlooks: Pittsburgh Pirates

  •  

Listen to our latest Fantasy Baseball Podcast!

Coming off a fourth straight last-place finish and an 18th straight season without a playoff appearance, it's the same old, same old for the Pirates, right?

Maybe, maybe not. Nobody's mistaking them for contenders or anything, but for the first time since the Brian Giles days, they have the pieces in place to make a real impact in Fantasy drafts.

It begins with Andrew McCutchen, whose long-awaited debut in 2009 was outdone only by his sophomore season, when he lived up to his power-speed potential with a 16-33 performance that put him on the cusp of elite status. Considering his advanced strike-zone judgment at age 24, he should be able to improve enough this year to put him over the edge.

He may be the team's only early-round pick for now, but Pedro Alvarez, Neil Walker and Jose Tabata all have a chance of joining him in the years ahead. All three debuted last year with numbers as good as anyone could have expected, and if all three continue to develop in their roles -- Alvarez as a cleanup hitter, Walker as a No. 2 or 3 hitter and Tabata as a leadoff man -- the Pirates will have a nucleus in place to try competing for a change.

For now, they're getting by on their same old tricks, bringing in castoffs like Chris Snyder and Lyle Overbay to fill in gaps around the diamond, but at least some of the moves make sense. Lefty-killer Matt Diaz is the perfect platoon partner for slugger Garrett Jones, who showed last year he's not a complete enough hitter to play every day.

The pitching staff doesn't deserve nearly the same level of optimism, with only James McDonald and Ross Ohlendorf showing any signs of becoming long-term solutions, but at least the Pirates should have the ninth inning secured. As long as they can decide on one of Joel Hanrahan and Evan Meek, their closer will matter in Fantasy.

Breakout ... Jose Tabata, OF

Tabata's rookie season couldn't have gone any better. He hit .299, including .324 over his final 76 games, and he showed the potential to steal 30 bases, swiping 19 in only 405 at-bats. The one tool he didn't put on display, as was the case throughout his minor-league career, was his home-run power. That figures to change this year, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "This year," Tabata said, showing off his bulkier frame, "my idea is to hit more home runs." Doesn't get any clearer than that, does it? He wants to hit them, he aims to hit them, and if the scouts have anything to say about it, he will hit them. And it's not like he needs to hit 20-25 to make a difference in Fantasy. With his other numbers, a mere 12-15 would put him in Shane Victorino territory. Tabata will probably go late in drafts because people see him as just another base-stealing specialist, but he has the potential to be so much more.

Follow us on ...
Get the latest news and analysis from the most informed Fantasy staff in the industry by following us on Twitter and Facebook.
@cbsfantasynews
facebook.com/cbssportsfantasy

Bust ... Pedro Alvarez, 3B

This isn't a condemnation of Alvarez's raw tools or long-term potential. It's mostly an attack on perception. Alvarez, for all his upside, is going off the board at a point when he couldn't possibly exceed expectations. He could meet them, maybe, but considering the shortcomings he showed as a rookie, his chances are just as good -- if not better -- of falling short. His .788 OPS was unacceptable for a power hitter, and though he hit more homers as he got more comfortable, his strikeout rate didn't improve. He's in Mark Reynolds territory, which puts him at risk of hitting .240, which of course makes him no sure bet for 30 homers. Reports of him gaining weight in the offseason aren't particularly encouraging either. Third base is weak after the top six go off the board, which could cause you to reach for the next-best thing. But keep in mind Alvarez is a full two or three steps behind that elite group.

Sleeper ... James McDonald, SP

McDonald was the No. 56 prospect according to Baseball America in 2009. It sounds crazy because he was so ineffective with the Dodgers, failing to secure a rotation spot and pitching too poorly in relief to remain in the major leagues. But something clicked for him when he went over to the Pirates in the Octavio Dotel deal last July. With an organization that was able to commit a rotation spot to him, not worrying so much about the results, he regained his confidence, pitching more or less like an ace down the stretch with a 1.80 ERA, a 1.17 WHIP and 7.2 strikeouts in nine innings over his final five starts. Ah, so that's what the scouts were talking about. McDonald won't get any attention on Draft Day because he stepped up for a team no one was watching at a time when most Fantasy owners had already stopped caring, but at age 26, he's poised for a breakout.

Pittsburgh Pirates Fantasy Outlook
Projected Lineup Pos. Projected Rotation
1 Andrew McCutchen CF 1 James McDonald RH
2 Jose Tabata LF 2 Paul Maholm LH
3 Neil Walker 2B 3 Ross Ohlendorf RH
4 Pedro Alvarez 3B 4 Kevin Correia RH
5 Garrett Jones RF 5 Scott Olsen LH
6 Chris Snyder C Alt Charlie Morton RH
7 Lyle Overbay 1B
Bullpen Breakdown
8 Ronny Cedeno SS CL Joel Hanrahan RH
Top bench options SU Evan Meek RH
R Ryan Doumit C RP Chris Resop RH
R Matt Diaz OF RP Jeff Karstens RH
R John Bowker OF RP Daniel McCutchen RH
Rookies/Prospects Age Pos. 2010 high Destination
1 Tony Sanchez 22 C Class A Double-A
First-rounder in '09 is polished enough to reach majors this year. He's a star if he develops power.
2 Jameson Taillon 19 SP DNP -- unsigned Class A
Second overall pick to Bryce Harper doesn't get hype he deserves. Pirates will finally have an ace.
3 Rudy Owens 23 SP Double-A Triple-A
Doesn't have upside of Taillon or Allie but showed last year he's more than a soft-tossing lefty.
4 Stetson Allie 20 SP DNP -- unsigned Class A
Second-rounder in 2010 has stuff of Taillon but lacks the polish. That's what the minors are for.
5 Starling Marte 22 OF Class A Double-A
Consistent .300 hitter has more speed than power now. Will have enough of both to start someday.
Best of the rest: Luis Heredia, SP; Bryan Morris, SP; Jeff Locke, SP; Josh Rodriguez, 2B; Alex Presley, OF; Pedro Ciriaco, SS; Zack Von Rosenberg, SP; Chase d'Arnaud, SS; Daniel Moskos, SP; Justin Wilson, SP; Brock Holt, SS; Gorkys Hernandez, OF; and Tim Alderson, SP.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter . You can e-mail us your Fantasy Baseball questions to DMFantasyBaseball@cbs.com . Be sure to put Team outlooks in the subject field. Please include your full name, hometown and state.

Want an edge in your draft? Download the Fantasy Draft Kit App.

  •  
 
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
 
 
Player News
Buster Posey smacks walkoff home run Wednesday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:23 am ET) Giants catcher Buster Posey went 3 for 5 with three RBI and hit a walkoff, two-run home run in his team's 4-2 win over the Rockies Wednesday.

Posey gave his team a 2-1 lead with an RBI single in the seventh inning, but the Rockies managed to even the game in the top of the ninth. The catcher came up with one on and two outs in the bottom of the ninth and came through with a game-ending homer. Posey has hit .292/.348/.465 with 18 home runs and 68 RBI in 449 at-bats.


Juan Nicasio takes loss vs. Giants Wednesday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:21 am ET) Rockies pitcher Juan Nicasio was stuck with a loss Wednesday, allowing a walkoff two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth in his team's 4-2 defeat against the Giants.

Nicasio (5-6) wrapped two strikeouts around a single before Buster Posey deposited a pitch over the left-field wall to end the game. He's surrendered six earned runs in 10 innings since rejoining the team in early August. Nicasio owns a 5.86 ERA and 55:28 K:BB ratio in 83 innings.


Santiago Casilla blows save, picks up win Wednesday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:18 am ET) Giants closer Santiago Casilla blews a save opportunity Wednesday, giving up one earned run on one hit and one walk in one inning, but he still managed to pick up a win in his team's 4-2 victory over the Rockies.

Casilla (2-3) threw just five of his 15 pitches for strikes Wednesday, and a Justin Morneau double brought home a run and cost the closer a save. He owns a 1.71 ERA, 0.91 WHIP and 39:14 K:BB ratio in 47 1/3 innings.


Albert Pujols dealing with calf tightness
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:16 am ET) Angels first baseman Albert Pujols was removed from Wednesday's game due to minor calf tightness, MLB.com reports.

The injury isn't expected to cost Pujols time, as manager Mike Scioscia expects to have him in the lineup Thursday. The first baseman went 0 for 3 with a walk and an RBI before coming out of Wednesday's game.


Mike Trout smashes 30th home run in win vs. Marlins
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:14 am ET) Angels outfielder Mike Trout went 2 for 3 with two walks, a home run and two RBI in his team's 6-1 win over the Marlins Wednesday.

Trout tied the game at 1-1 with an RBI single in the third inning and piled on with his seventh-inning solo home run. He has four multi-hit performances in his last six games, with three including a home run. Trout has hit .291/.378/.565 with 30 home runs and 94 RBI in 501 at-bats.


Tim Hudson strikes out eight vs. Rockies
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:11 am ET) Giants pitcher Tim Hudson didn't factor into the decision Wednesday, giving up one earned run on four hits and one walk in eight innings while striking out eight in his team's 4-2 win over the Rockies.

Hudson hadn't completed eight innings in a start since the end of June, and he needed just 87 pitches to pull off the feat Wednesday. His only damage came on a fifth-inning home run. Hudson owns a 2.90 ERA and 106:29 K:BB ratio in 167 2/3 innings. He's scheduled to face the Rockies again Monday, this time in Colorado.


Franklin Morales allows one run in no-decision vs. Giants
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:10 am ET) Rockies pitcher Franklin Morales didn't factor into the decision Wednesday, allowing one earned run on seven hits and one walk in six innings while striking out six in his team's 4-2 loss to the Giants.

Morales hadn't completed six innings while holding the opposition to one run or fewer since April before doing so Wednesday, when his only run came on a bunt single in the fourth inning. He owns a 5.14 ERA and 86:55 K:BB ratio in 124 1/3 innings. Morales is scheduled to face the Giants again Monday.


Zach Duke takes first loss Wednesday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:10 am ET) Brewers pitcher Zach Duke was stuck with his first loss Wednesday, giving up one earned run on two hits and one walk while recording two outs in his team's 3-2, 10th-inning defeat against the Padres.

Duke (4-1) put the first two batters of the bottom of the 10th inning on base but looked like he may escape with the game still tied after retiring the next two batters. It didn't happen, as a single brought home the game-ending run. Duke, who has put together a rocky August, owns a 2.47 ERA and 63:15 K:BB ratio in 51 innings.


Henderson Alvarez gives up five runs in loss vs. Angels
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:01 am ET) Marlins pitcher Henderson Alvarez took a loss Wednesday, surrendering five earned runs on eight hits and one walk in 6 1/3 innings while striking out three in his team's 6-1 defeat against the Angels.

Alvarez (10-6) watched a four-start winning streak end Wednesday, allowing three runs in the third inning before serving up solo home runs in the fourth and seventh innings. He's now given up four home runs in his last two starts combined. Alvarez owns a 2.75 ERA and 97:29 K:BB ratio in 157 innings. He's scheduled to face the Mets Monday.


Hector Santiago strikes out six in win vs. Marlins
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:01 am ET) Angels pitcher Hector Santiago earned a win Wednesday, allowing one earned run on three hits and two walks in 5 2/3 innings while striking out six in his team's 6-1 victory over the Marlins.

Santiago (4-7) fell behind 1-0 after surrendering a home run in the third inning, but he was able to buckle down and hold the Marlins at bay over the rest of the start. He owns a 3.28 ERA and 94:41 K:BB ratio in 107 innings. Santiago is set to face the Astros Tuesday.


 
 
 
Rankings