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Piecing together the puzzle


With the news of Andrew McCutchen’s contract extension breaking very early Monday morning, the Pirates gained an additional three years of control over the clear top talent on the team. That makes this as good a time as any to take a very simplified visual look at how the club’s future roster is stacking up.

I quickly threw together this chart that shows several players who could very possibly play a significant role with the team in the future. The chart is color-coded, to show which positions are well covered and which are larger question marks. Green represents players who are essentially locks to be in the lineup/rotation for the next several years. Players in yellow are very likely to hold down everyday jobs, but are not quite a sure thing. Players in red are large question marks for one reason or another. This category includes Pedro Alvarez, who struggled immensely last season, as well as any prospect that has yet to taste major league competition. I chose these players and colors subjectively, without any rigorous analysis, so feel free to disagree with my placement.

Again, this is a very simplified look at where the Pirates stand. I did not include all players on the roster and in the minor leagues, many of whom possess various degrees of upside and could someday hold down an everyday job. Maybe Matt Hague, Matt Curry or Alex Dickerson emerge and fill what appears to be a large void at first base. Chase d’Arnaud or Jordy Mercer could become an everyday shortstop. Jeff Karstens could prove that last season was not a fluke and become a staple in the team’s rotation. Obviously, there is a legitimate chance of any of the players in red (and in green or yellow, for that matter) to completely flame out.

(click to enlarge)

As you can see, other than McCutchen, the Pirates’ future still rides on many risky players with plenty of question marks. That being said, it is nice to see that green line extending a few slots farther to the right.

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