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Pittsburgh Pirates Predictions / 2010 Season Preview

2010 MLB Predictions/Previews: Pittsburgh Pirates

Hard to believe, as many of us watch the snow fall outside, that the Boys of Summer are almost back. But it’s true; teams have reported to 2010 Major League Baseball training camps and it’s time to start our team-by-team baseball gambling previews for the year.

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MLB Team Preview – Pittsburgh Pirates

Manatee College.

That’s the name of the school that beat the Pittsburgh Pirates in an exhibition game last spring. It just had to be Manatee, didn’t it? Couldn’t have been “Mountain Lion College” or “Eagle College”?

The humiliating defeat set the tone for 2009 and the Pirates, baseball’s laughing stock, never recovered. The question for bettors and fans alike in 2010 is: should we even bother? Well, the forecast remains bleak, but the Pirates have collected enough young talent to give us reason to watch.

There’s no question that Andrew McCutchen was a bright spot last season. He contended for Rookie of the Year honors by hitting .286 with 12 homers and 22 steals over 433 at-bats. He’ll be a fixture atop Pittsburgh’s order all season and should develop 20-homer power.

Another reason for optimism: Garrett Jones. Considered somewhat of an afterthought before his midseason callup at age 28, he slugged 21 homers in half a season. Given his 6’4”, 245-pound frame, that number doesn’t look like a fluke.

Arguably, though, the good news ends there. The rest of the lineup looks like nothing but headaches. Sure, Lastings Milledge, Andy LaRoche and Jeff Clement all entered the majors as elite prospects, but they haven’t blossomed and they’re running out of excuses. Akinori Iwamura and catcher Ryan Doumit can help any lineup but they’re both good bets to spend half the season in the infirmary.

Here’s the scary part. Pittsburgh’s offense is its “strength.” The pitching staff looks hopeless. Zach Duke and Paul Maholm have teased us in the past but neither guy misses enough bats to become anything more than an innings eater. The Pirates are holding out hope for breakouts from Charlie Morton and Ross Ohlendorf but it’s not like they’re blue-chip 20-year-olds. They’re 26 and 27, respectively.

The bullpen at least looks the part of major-league material. Octavio Dotel can still throw gas and mow down hitters; if he can stay healthy, he can handle closing duties. Brendan Donnelly rediscovered his arm last year and should be fine in setup duty.

There isn’t a whole lot else to say about Pittsburgh. It plays in baseball’s most crowded division and there’s just no way it can leapfrog four or five teams and earn a postseason berth. Bettors should just sweep them under the rug, as they do every year.

Pirates Prediction: Sixth, National League Central

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Articles on CappersPicks.com are written by Q (the Head Honcho) at Cappers Picks or by our resident "in house" handicapper Razor Ray Monohan! Enjoy the free picks folks! "Pad that bankroll one day at a time!"