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A Graphic Look at the Window to Win: Pittsburgh Pirates


Just in time for prospect season, we take a look at the idea of "windows" and a team's prime time to win. Inspired by what seems to be a once every three years rebuild for the Oakland Athletics, is there going to be a time where all their premier prospects hit and they'll have the best chance to win? Here we present the pleasures of trying to maximize production during one's service time.

Fifth in the series, we look at the Pittsburgh Pirates. Ranked 12th overall by John Sickels, they have 2 A-rated prospects in RHP Gerrit Cole and RHP Jameson Taillon, and 5 B-rated prospects in OF Josh Bell, OF Robbie Grossman, RHP Luis Heredia, RHP Kyle McPherson, and RHP Nick Kingham. Quite impressive as a good portion of their current lineup consisted of top prospects from 2009, as show in Sickels 2009 list. They did a pretty good job at keeping their farm system fresh in their higher levels of the minors.

With the Pirates, the question is, do you think the window for them is sooner than later?

Both of their top 2 prospects, Cole and Taillon are surely to be ready by 2014 (Cole, according to Kevin Goldstein may be ready as soon as mid-2013). With some a lineup full of studs right now, here's what the Pirates are looking at in 2012:

*New acquisition, Current roster info from

MLB Depth Charts

Starting Lineup
1 RF Jose Tabata
2 LF Alex Presley
3 CF Andrew McCutchen
4 2B Neil Walker
5 1B Garrett Jones
6 3B Pedro Alvarez
7 SS Clint Barmes*
8 C Rod Barajas*

C Michael McKenry
1B/3B Casey McGehee*
IF Josh Harrison
IF/OF Yamaico Navarro*
OF Nate McLouth*

Starting Rotation
1 RHP Charlie Morton
2 LHP Erik Bedard*
3 RHP James McDonald
4 RHP Kevin Correia
5 RHP Jeff Karstens

CL RHP Joel Hanrahan
SU RHP Evan Meek
SU RHP Jason Grilli
MID RHP Jared Hughes
MID LHP Daniel Moskos
MID RHP Chris Resop
LR RHP Daniel McCutchen

After an amazing run before the All-Star break which included a month of July where they were over 500 for most of the month, and even briefly held the NL Central lead, this team showed the entire country, what a team of some of the best young talent can do. From when I was watching the Pirates back on their run, I was telling myself the they weren't very far away from competing. With their core lineup ready to go, if Pedro Alvarez finally plays to his potential, this team might be ready to make a run as soon as 2012 or 2013, especially if Cole arrives sometime next season. Unlike some of the other teams in this series, the Pirates seem to be the closest so far from their window to compete.

See the previous graphics in this series: Mariners | Athletics | Astros | Cubs

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