Wednesday, February 17, 2010

What Pitchers Will make the Opening Day Roster?

Finally, I can get back to writing.  No more shoveling snow for the time being.  As pitchers and catchers get ready to report to Bradenton, let's discuss what pitchers are likely to head north with the big club for opening day.

Like I said in my last post, which seemed ages ago.  For the time being we will assume that JR is going to carry 12 pitchers on the opening day roster.

1. Zach Duke
2. Paul Maholm
3. Ross Ohlendorf
4. Charlie Morton
These four are locks
5. Kevin Hart, Danile McCutchen and Brad Lincoln

Lincoln appears to be a lock to begin the season with Indy and rightfully so.  He will likely get the call sometime in June or July.  A stong spring and good start to a AAA season could force the Bucs to rush him up sooner though.  Both Hart and McCutchen have shown they have the arm to succeed, but haven't had great results.  I think McCutchen has a better chance to be a good starter even though Hart has the edge when it comes to pure stuff.  As of now I give McCutchen the job as the fifth starter.

Closer- Octavio Dotel.  This was actually a good signing by a Pirates team that hasn't had many in the last decade.  Dotel has pitched well the last couple of seasons and his stuff is still electric.

Set up Roles
1. Joel Hanrahan- Another righty with electric stuff.  Hanrahan had tremendous results with the Pirates after being acquired in July.  He also would step in as closer if Dotel falters.
2. Evan Meek- Another power righty who came along last season.  Meek pitched well and is said to be in fantastic shape.  He is a lock.
3. Brenden Donelley-  He pitched well at the end of last season, coming back from Tommy john Surgery and hopefully the veteren can carry that into the 2010 season.

The final two middle inning guys will come from a group of: DJ Carrasco, Javier Lopez, Jose Ascaino, Steven Jackson, Brian Bass, Tyler Yates, Jack Taschner, Neal Cotts and Brian Burress.  I probably left out a journey man looking for a job, but forgive me.

The two candidates will likely be who pitches better in spring games.  I like Ascaino's arm, but I'm giving the early edge to Carrasco, who has proved to be a durable innings eater out of the pen, and Lopez, who hasn't pitched well in a couple of seasons, but after not having a lefty after the Grabow trade, the Bucs will likely carry atleast one.  If Lopez struggles in the spring, it could open the door for Cotts or Taschner to make the team.

The final bull pen job will likely come down to the loser of the Hart/McCutchen battle,Chris Jakubauskus or Jeff Karstens.  I'm going to go with the loser of the Hart/McCutchen battle.  Hart I feel would do better in a bullpen role anyways and I have a hard time seeing the Bucs not keeping him.  He does have a great arm, the results must come though.

Pitching is going to have to be good for the Pirates to have any shot at competing in the near future.  Hopefully they can take the next step as a unit towards that goal.


  1. doesn't it seem like the pirates have a plan that involves everything but the bullpen. young guys with potential everywhere except with the bullpen its nothing but journeymen

  2. i also luike ascaino and hart's potential. if he is healthy then one bullpen spot likely should go to ascaino

  3. the backend of the pen doesn't seem that bad, providing hanrahan and dotel are effective. i've seen much worse in pittsburgh. still a huge hole from the left side though

  4. just read hanrahan's elbow is bothering him. not good news

  5. hanrahan not being healthy all year could make a decent looking pen (on paper) a pretty below average pen

  6. matt,

    I don't really see as much competition as you do . The only jobs up for grabs should be the 5th starter and the long guy.

    I feel they go with Hart as the starter and jakubauskas as the long guy, leaving McCutchen the odd man out.

    I agree with all the other guys you have listed

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  8. just read hanrahan could miss atleast the start of the season. i think this is going to be a bigger loss than people think.

  9. matt

    speaking of arm injuries. any clue how craig hansen is doing and if he figures into the bullpen mix?

  10. Hansen still is hurting and likely would be a longshot to make the team until he learns to throw strikes consistently

  11. Matt

    since we know that hart and mccutchen aren't anything special, why do you feel that Lincoln is a lock for the minors? I feel it would be smarter to give the kid a shot. he can't be any worse

  12. how can you say Mcutchen isn't anything. He had 3 starts. hard to say what he is going to be yet?

  13. Purely financial concerning Lincoln. Why start him or Alvarez on the opening day roster and begin their arbrtratuion clock when you can bring him up after June 1 and that clock won start until next season.

    As far as McCutchen, I also don'r think you have seen enough from him to judge him as a failure. I felt he pitchent decent enough to be 3-1 in his four starts in September