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Pirates

Five Observations From 2011 Pirates Season

By: Mike Vukovcan
(Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

(Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

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Pittsburgh (KDKA)- The Pittsburgh Pirates have two more series (Cincinnati and Milwaukee) before the 2011 season comes to and end.

For the first four months of the season, the Pirates were the talk of Pittsburgh and it actually felt like the city had a real baseball team.

All the positive vibes the team earned have been erased with a gigantic losing slump during the months of August and September.

Following yesterday’s 8-5 loss to Arizona, the Pirates now have a record of 69-87 and will likely finish with another 90 loss season.

Despite all the talk about trying to finish with a .500 record, the Pirates organization is headed for another Top 5 pick in the 2012 MLB Draft.

As of today, here are the top 10 picks for the draft next June:
1) Houston (53-102)
2) Minnesota (59-95)
3) Baltimore (65-90)
4) Seattle (66-89)
5) PIRATES (69-87)
6) Kansas City (68-88)
7) Chicago Cubs (69-87)
8) San Diego (68-88)
9) Oakland Athletics (69-86)
10) Colorado Rockies (70-85)

Although the Bucs will finish with a losing record for the 19th consecutive season, I’ve been able to come up with five positives to take from this season:

1) Pittsburgh fans still love baseball- The first four months of this season showed how great of a baseball town Pittsburgh could be if given something to cheer for. Heading into the final home stand, the Pirates attendance is 1,851,441 (an increase of over 330,000 people).

2) Pirates finally have a real manager in Clint Hurdle. The front office finally got one right with picking Hurdle. His passion and no bs style is so refreshing. Let’s hope he actually gets some talent to manage and then it could get really fun following baseball in Pittsburgh.

3) Rotation Stability for 2012. The Pirates will go into next season knowing that they have 3 legitimate major league starters in Jeff Karstens, James McDonald and Charlie Morton. I’m not saying their All-Star pitchers but it’s possible to win with them in your rotation.

4) All-Star Closer. Maybe the best individual story was the emergence of Joel Hanrahan as one of the top closers in MLB.

5) Two Blue-Chip Prospects Added. The organization added two top prospects to the farm system by drafting RHP Gerrit Cole and OF Josh Bell. The team desperately needed a hitting prospect like Bell and Cole is added to the future rotation with Jameson Taillion and Luis Heredia.

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