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We at Razzball realize that exporting our views across the country has damaging consequences on the blogosphere. To help make amends, we are reaching out to leading team blogs and featuring their locally blogged answers to pressing 2009 fantasy baseball questions regarding their team. We feel this approach will be fresher, more sustainable, and require less energy consumption (for us anyway). The 2009 Pirates Fantasy Baseball Preview comes courtesy of Raise the Jolly Roger.

1) 2008 was a tale of two halves for Freddy Sanchez.  The 1st half was Dirty Sanchez (.226/.251/.304), the 2nd half was Steady Freddy (.346/.378/.483).  Which Freddy Sanchez can we expect for 2009?

Freddy has been a heck of an enigma ever since winning the batting title in 2006. Even then I don’t think he was super-valuable fantasy asset due to a lack of patience and power, but since then it’s been all downhill. The Bucs are expecting Steady Freddy in ’09 because his shoulder bothered him for a good chunk of last year and it’s all healed up now, but even when he’s hitting, he’s not a great 2B fantasy option.

2) Nate McLouth went from battling for the starting CF position and leadoff spot to being the #3 hitter for much of the 2nd half.  Can McLouth put together another 100/25/100/.270/15 year?

Nate started out on fire last year and dropped off a little bit in the second half, and I think some of that had to do with the losing of Bay and Nady behind him in the lineup. He’s not a #3 hitter (and I think manager John Russell has said he prefers Nate leading off), but it’s absolutely reasonable to think he’ll produce similar numbers this year.

3) What Pittsburgh player puts the irate in Pirate for you?

That would have been an easy one a year ago, but now that Ronny Paulino is gone, I’ll say Ian Snell because he’s “irate” the most often. Basically every time Snell loses a game or the Pirates go on a losing streak (often) you can bank on him having some quote in the paper the next day along the lines of “losing sucks, I hate it.” I’d be upset too if I burned a finger on my pitching hand while cooking chicken.

4) Pittsburgh had a few pleasant surprises for fantasy baseballers in 2008 in Ryan Doumit and Paul Maholm.  Who do you think are the best fantasy breakout candidates of 2009?

On the offense I (along with many people around/within the team) would say OF Brandon Moss and 3B Andy LaRoche, two guys who have great records as prospects but struggled with the Pirates after coming in the Bay trade last year. As for the pitchers, we don’t even know who’s going to be in the starting rotation (besides Paul Maholm, of course).

5) The theme song of the 1979 Pirates was ‘We Are Family’.  What would be the best theme song for the post-Bondsian Pirates?  A) “Hard Knock Life” by Jay-Z  B) “So Far Away” by Dire Straits C) “Loser” by Beck D) “Saved The Best For Last” by Vanessa Williams

E) All of the above

From Around The Web

  1. Dim says:
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    Forget stolen bases, they don’t exist. HR/XBH/RBI/R/AVG/OBP do. Is Wright over Miggy still a no-brainer?

    Keep up the good work men.

  2. Being a Pirate fan must be like rooting for the Washington Generals.

  3. sickmangarner says:
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    As a lifetime Pirates fan, I’m hopeful for the first time in 17 years but not about this season. They seem to have finally started to address their talent acquisition and development problems but it’s still going to be next decade before anything happens (and that’s IF they’re successful).

    Of course, none of that means anything for fantasy. The ‘rats always have one pitcher that’s a little bit tempting after a good year (Duke, Gorzelanny, Snell) who them implodes and that scares me away from Maholm this year which isn’t rational but I don’t see any good reason to pick him over other marginal starters given the team’s track record.

  4. sickmangarner says:
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    to Fman99–It’s a lot like that! My wife’s a Cardinals fan so I can sort of cheer on a winner vicariously.

  5. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Dim: Without steals, I’d drop Wright behind Miggy.

    @Fman99: Ha! I could totally see World B. Free dribbling the ball between Freddy Sanchez’s legs.

    @sickmangarner: Yup, agreed. After last year, I should be recommending Maholm, but it’s really hard to. The ‘rats, I like that.

  6. emporers monkey says:
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    What do you think Pearce will do this year? Looks like he is hitting well in spring training. Full time gig?

    On a side note, Matthew Dingleberry is on ESPNews endorsing Jim Thome right now. Vomit.

  7. Tom says:
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    When Andy LaRoche left LA, I figured he’d be another Konerko. Never really developed with the Dodgers, but the power will show up eventually. He’s finally been given a job, and the pressure of earning one is gone. Will he finally play more than three months in the majors? And will it even matter? Also, (unrelated) I traded Nelson Cruz for Justin Upton. Bad idea?

  8. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @emporers monkey: I like him but I don’t think he makes the club out of spring training.

    @Tom: If LaRoche is the starter and he’s playing against both righties and lefties then I’ll be telling him to pick him up in two weeks. Right now, it looks like that might be the case. Cruz for Upton is six of one type trade. It’s fine.

  9. Mark says:
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    Isn’t his name Paul Maholm?

  10. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Mark: @Howardryan6: It was an inside joke between the blog owner and I, but it’s not clear from just the above, so I changed it.

  11. Josh says:
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    I always hate comments that are irrelevant to the blog post, but I had my biggest draft of the year today. For some reason I’m not really in love with my team… can you see any reason why, or am I just crazy?

    C-Clement
    1B- Howard
    2B- Kinsler
    SS- Peralta
    3B- Gordon
    MI- Weeks or F Lopez
    CI- A Gonzalez and Reynolds
    OF- Sizemore
    OF- Upton
    OF- Quentin
    OF- Victorino
    UTIL- Werth

    SPs- Billingsley, Beckett, Wainwright, Vazquez, C Young, Jimenez
    RPs- Fuentes, Capps, Wilson, Perez, Corpas, Gregg

    I’m crazy right? Maybe its just that I’ve never especially liked Grady Sizemore.

  12. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Josh: You’re not in love with your team because they are a powerhouse of Ks. I like Kinsler, but he’s yet to play 130+games in the majors. Howard and Reynolds are a mess on Ks. Gordon may never turn that corner. But your outfield is good. Your pitching’s also solid, but they’re too solid. Instead of Bills and Beckett, one would’ve been enough. You have plenty of closers, now trade some to help your hitting.

  13. Josh says:
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    @Grey: Since its the day after the draft, guys to trade with are mostly looking at the round each guy was picked in for a way to determine value. Closers aren’t super-valuable from that point of view, and even with my stock-piling relievers, i only have 3 guys that are a lock to get saves. Trading Corpas, Gregg, or Perez is going to be tough since they could just be set-up guys, which nobody in the league seems to value as much as I do.

    Looking around the rounds each guy was picked, and team needs, I looked at a few ideas:
    Capps for Sandval (one high-average guy on the team, insurance at C)
    Weeks for Johnson (replacing crap average speed with high average 15/10)

    I’m thinking MI and 3B are my positions most in need of upgrade. I should have also said its a head to head league. Is punting average something I should consider? Last year I won the league with howard, dunn, glaus, and krispie on the team. I guess I look at the other 4 categories too much compared to AVG…

  14. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Josh: Oh… Well, it helps that it’s H2H, for sure. I don’t like the Sandoval trade, but the Johnson one isn’t bad. You’re in better shape though because it’s a H2H league.

  15. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Josh: And I wouldn’t look to punt anything before the season even starts.

  16. Josh says:
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    @Grey: Good call. I do think I might wait on most trades until the season starts, although I do like weeks for johnson at the moment. Weeks is just adding insult to injury in the AVG category. I think I can get a higher average than last year out of Howard, Reynolds if I play him, and maybe Quentin or Sizemore if I’m lucky. Idealistic, but maybe it happens. If I can get a hot start and sell high, or pay attention to the waiver wire early I think I’ll be in good shape.

  17. Anthony G says:
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    Andy Laroche is having a great spring. How awesome would it be to get .280/20/80 from him?

  18. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Anthony G: Think he could be a great late round flier on the off chance he can keep this up.

  19. Jesse says:
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    Bolded.

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