LOS ANGELES, March 23, 2013 — The Pittsburgh Pirates had a less than mediocre 79-83 record in 2012 while finishing fourth in the National League Central. They are in what seems to be a never ending rebuilding mode. This season should prove to be a harvest, of sorts, of the many sown seeds.
Leading the offense will be Andrew McCutcheon, who has 30-30 potential, and Pedro Alvarez, who hit 30 HRs in 2012, but also had a .244 batting average with 180 strikeouts. Other offensive notables to watch are Neil Walker, Starling Marte and Garrett Jones.
Of the $53+ million the Pirates will shell out in 2013, $30 million of that is going to Wandy Rodriguez and A.J. Burnett. It will be interesting to see if A.J. Burnett can repeat his 2012 performance. Last year was the only year he was worth the amount he was paid since signing that ridiculous contract with the Yankees in 2009.
While the Pirates are still not bound for playoff glory this year, they should enjoy a little more success than they did last year.
Projected payroll: $56,650,000
Notable Players Out: C Rod Barajas, RHP Joel Hanrahan, RHP Chad Qualls, LHP Hisanori Takahashi
Notable Players In: C Russell Martin, RHP Mark Melancon, LHP Francisco Liriano, LHP Jonathan Sanchez
Prospect Watch: SS Alen Hanson and RHP Gerrit Cole
Highlight Hitter: CF Andrew McCutcheon (ZiPS 2013 Projections: .283/.372/.480 24 HR/105 R/84 RBI/23 SB)
Highlight Pitcher: RHP A.J. Burnett (ZiPS 2013 Projections: 10-12, 4.07 ERA, 8.01 K/9, 202.1 IP)
Projected Lineup: C Russell Martin, 1B Gaby Sanchez, 2B Neil Walker, 3B Pedro Alvarez, SS Clint Barmes, LF Starling Marte, CF Andrew McCutcheon, RF Travis Snider
Projected Rotation: RHP A.J. Burnett, LHP Wandy Rodriguez, RHP James McDonald, RHP Jeff Karstens, LHP Jonathan Sanchez
Projected Closer: RHP Jason Grilli
Manager: Clint Hurdle
Projected 2013 Finish in NL Central: 1. TBA 2. TBA 3. Pittsburgh Pirates 4. Milwaukee Brewers 5. Chicago Cubs