By: Jeff Hathhorn
Yes the Pirates have lost three in a row and their hitting looks more like missing, but be realistic, they were not going to contend or even reach .500 this year. The goal is progress and that’s being made.
- 27-year-old Charlie Morton is 5-2 with a 2.61 ERA having now gone two months as a legitimate major league starter after going 2-12 last year
- Neil Walker has played one full season as of May 25th driving in 96 runs and hitting 40 doubles. The former first round pick is also becoming better than average at 2nd base.
- Despite being streaky, Jose Tabata has shown flashes in his first full season in the majors, having been moved in the lineup and still learning the strike zone.
- Paul Maholm with his 3.65 ERA and Ryan Doumit at .272 and a rare switch-hitting catcher could each bring more depth to the major leagues in a June or July trade.
- At Triple A, outfielder Alex Presley is hitting .326 and is a potential utility outfielder soon. After a horrible start, former top pick Brad Lincoln is 4-4 with a 4.17 ERA with 49 strikeouts to 10 walks. 23-year-old lefty starter Rudy Owens has 5 very good starts and 3 bad ones in his first taste at this level.
- At Double A, outfielder Starling Marte is hitting .331 with a rocket arm and the potential for more power.
- At high A Bradenton, 21-year-old second baseman Jarek Cunningham has hit 10 homers and driven in 29. 6’4” starter Kyle McPherson is 3-1 with a 3.35 ERA with 45 strikeouts and 3 walks.
- 2010 top pick Jameson Taillon has started his progression at low A West Virginia
No, it’s not a winner this year and yes, if I would write the same thing about the Steelers you would laugh. It’s the Pirates, they’ve stunk for a teenager’s lifetime, but are starting to show signs. They seem to have the manager who can lead them forward. Contention is out-of-the-question, but if you look at the bigger picture, this will be a successful Pirates season.