Tuesday, December 15, 2009
The Pittsburgh Pirates All-Decade Team
Catcher- Jason Kendall (2000-04)- This was an easy one to pick. The Piates all-time leader in games caught was one of the more popular Bucs of the last 10 seasons. Kendall played five seasons in The Burgh and led MLB in games and innings caught from 2002-04. He rarely struck out and while having no power at the plate was a solid contact hitter while in Pittsburgh. Runner up- Ryan Doumit
First Base- Adam Laroche (2007-09)- I know this will be a very unpopular choice among everyone, but he wins the job. This goes to show how very little talent we have had in the system. I looked at everybody and as unpopular as he is, Laroches just put up better numbers than the whole list of guys that include: Kevin Young (his best seasons were in the late 90's he has very lousy numbers this decade), Randall Simon, Craig Wilson, Brad Eldred and so on. Laroche averaged .270/22/85 during his tenure in Pittsburgh. Runner-up- Young
Second Base- Freddy Sanchez (2004-09)- After being acquired and starting out at third base for the Bucs, Sanchez found a home a the Pirates everyday second baseman. This was another easy selection. Sanchez made two all star appearances and brought home a batting title in 2006 when he hit .344. Runner up- Jose Castillio
Third base- Aramis Ramirez (2000-03) Oh I'd love to kick Dave Littlefield's ass for just giving away Ramirez, but it is what it is and atleast Rammy wins a job on this team. Aramis had fantastic seasons in 01, hitting .300/34/112 and 03 when he hit .282/27/106. He also got better as a third baseman every season. It was fun to watch him grow as a Pirate. Runner up- Jose Bautista
Shortstop- Jack Wilson (2001-09)- Another no braineer here. While I was never the biggest Wilson supporter, the guy was an amazing defensive shortstop. While he never could find consistency with the bat, Jack dazzled with the glove. The only thing we could count on in the last decade were Pirates lossess and Jack Wilson would be shown on Web Gems almost weekly.- Runner Up- I don't really have a name for this, but I guess we have to give it to Abraham Nunez who got some time in 2000 and stuck around for a while as Wilson's backup.
Outfield- Brian Giles (2000-03) Giles likely brings home Pirate player of the Decade also. Homerun toals of 35,37 & 38 in 2000-03, while driving in 123, 95 & 103 in those seasons. Giles was as consistent as any Bucco up until he got dealt. His career hasn't been the same since he left (or since testing went into effect), but he was a good ball player while he was here.
Outfield- Jason Bay (2003-08)- Losing Giles brought us Jay Bay, who also put up some fine seasons in the Burgh. Bay became the first Bucco to win the Rookie of the Year in 2004 and hit over 21 HR and 84 RBI in all of his full seasons here. His best two campaigns were in 2005, .306/32/101 and 2006 .286/35/109, both years he went to the all-star game.
Outfield-Nate McLouth (2005-09)- Wow, was this spot hard to find a deserving guy and I choose McLoth by default, because there really just isn't anyone else. I actually almost chose McCutchen based on a hal;f of a season. While I don't feel Nate has done enough to be a member of an all-decade team, his one big season in 2008, .276/26/94, trumps anything the rest of the list has done. Runner Ups- Xavier Nady, Chris Duffy and Craig Wilson.
Starting Pitcher- Josh Fogg (2002-05) Boy this is sad. If finding a third outfielder for this team wasn't hard enough, try looking at the pitching numbers. My original plan was to list five starters, but to hell with that. The soft tossing Fogg wins this spot. I'm telling you I looked at everyone's numbers from Kris Benson to Jason Schmidt to Ian Snell to Ollie Perez, to Zach Duke and unfortunatly Kip Wells. Fogg's numbers have them beat. No one has had more than one season of double digit wins except Fogg, who had three. he was 12-12 in 2002, 10-9 in 03 and 11-10 in 04. The era was kinda awful but no other pitcher has earned the right. Runner up- Zach Duke.
Closer- Mike Williams (2000-02)- Difficult choice between Williams and Jose Smoke Mesa, but Williams wins. Even though he was traded in the middle of his Bucco run and resigned, Williams posted seasons of 24 and 22 saves, but had a monster season in 02 of 46 saves. There have been others along the way like Mike Fetters, Soloman Torres and Matt Capps, but the nod goes to Williams. Runner up- Mesa