First Pitch: 2012 Pirates Optimism

Opening Day always brings optimism. And a loss on Opening Day can make that optimism start to fade, even if the loss was in a game where Roy Halladay shut the offense down. But heading in to Opening Day, there was a lot of optimism, and that was shown in the over/under results from last night’s poll.

I asked six over/under questions, and had you vote on them. The results are as follows:

Erik Bedard Starts: 18.5

83.75% said over. If Bedard makes 19 or more starts and throws like he did today, the Pirates will be in pretty good shape at the top of their rotation.

Jeff Karstens ERA: 3.90

54.39% said under. If Karstens can put up an ERA below 3.90, paired with 19+ starts from Bedard, the rotation will really be in good shape.

The optimism didn’t extend to two of the hitters.

Alex Presley OPS: .800

64.88% said under. If Presley could repeat his .804 OPS from 215 at-bats in 2011, he would establish himself as a strong starting outfielder.

Pedro Alvarez Home Runs: 20.5

65.31% said under. Alvarez didn’t get a hit today, but he had some good at-bats. Halladay made him look silly with the strikeout, but Halladay does that to a lot of guys. Pedro’s debut wasn’t good, but it wasn’t doom and gloom either.

Finally, there were the topics that were more season-long over/unders.

Joel Hanrahan’s Last Appearance for the Pirates: August 1st

63.56% said under, which means a prediction that Hanrahan will be gone by the trade deadline.

2012 Wins: 72.5

81.4% said over. The overwhelming majority is predicting an improvement over the 2011 results. But how much could the team improve? Based on this limited survey, people are optimistic about the pitching, but pessimistic about the hitting. I don’t think Opening Day will change that outlook. I also think it would be tough to put up a winning season without some hitting, even if the pitching is great.

Links and Notes

**The Pirates lost 1-0 to the Phillies. Game story here.

**Prospect Watch: Hit parades in Altoona and West Virginia.

**My notebook from the Bradenton Marauders game tonight.

**Pirates Notebook: Finish.

**The Pirates have several possible platoons this season.

**If you missed them, here are the 2012 season previews.

**Pitch F/X previews of the Phillies’ starting pitchers.

**Baseball America ranks the Bradenton Marauders as the fifth best minor league team on Opening Day. I’ve mentioned in the past that I think West Virginia is the team to watch. Bradenton has the top prospects in Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon. They’ve also got other interesting guys like Alex Dickerson, Gift Ngoepe, Drew Maggi, Mel Rojas Jr., Evan Chambers, and Colton Cain. But the West Virginia lineup has a lot of breakout potential. I wouldn’t be surprised if the next Starling Marte breakout player comes from that roster, and I think we got our first look at why that’s possible after their hitting tonight.




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