Looking for (re)building blueprints
Are we Pirates, or Tigers?
Apparently the Pirates are a thing.  If you stink long enough, the hope is that you acquire enough talent to become good again.  The Pirates spend a LONG time trying to screw up that theory, but it looks like they've finally gotten near the top of that mountain, which is great news for their long-suffering fans. When you're suffering as a franchise you'd like to point to a success story.  The Royals aren't one yet (and if some of their kids don't step it up they'll have trouble reaching that peak) but the Pirates seem to have made it - and are being rightfully celebrated for it.  It was a long time coming.
As Ms fans, we'd love to know how close we are to the summit the Pirates have spotted.  Can it be seen from here or have we fallen into the valley again and we can't get up?
Funnily enough, someone asked our new manager whether he thought we reminded him of the 2013 Pirates.  He said no - that we reminded him of the 2006 Tigers instead.
Those Tigers, who won the AL pennant, looked like this:
- 5th in runs scored, 1st in runs allowed.
- 4 starters with an ERA+ between 110 and 125.  Verlander won ROY, Bonderman was also just 23, 24 year old Miner was the "worst" with a 94 ERA+, and then Robertson and Rogers were the vets.  I'll tell you now, Kuma and Felix are better than Robertson and Rogers, so if Walker and Paxton can do a Verlander/Bondo impression with E-Ram as our 5th best rotation guy, that should mean REALLY good things for us.
- A bullpen with a closer on his last legs, a couple great relief arms and very capable filler.  We don't really have a guaranteed closer, but if Pryor and Farquhar and the rest wanna fight it out, I'm okay with that.  I wouldn't turn down a vet at the end amongst all the kids, though.  We have plenty of talent and not a lot of experience currently scheduled to close out games behind that starting 5.
- decent catching peformance and great leadership from Pudge
- so-so first baseman around his theoretically prime years
- quality glove infield with some underperformance at the plate (Polanco) mixed with a player who finally hit his peak (Guillen)
- a surprising pop from their DH, with a good RF and a couple of average bats
Their OPS+ was league average, ERA+ was outstanding at 118. I don't know if we can turn our pitching around that fast, but looking at it... I'm not really sure why we can't, either. On the offensive side, though, we'll have to step it up. The 2006 Tigers scored 820 runs with their "average" offense.  We scored 620 runs with ours last year.  The Tigers increased their run production from '05 to '06 by 100 runs.  If we can make it to 150, we might have a shot. ;)
BTW, the 2013 Pirates:
- 9th in runs scored, 2nd in runs allowed
- a starting staff with 3(.5) guys around 110 ERA+, with one up near 120 and one at league average
- a really good bullpen, maybe the best in the league top-to-bottom, performance-wise
- capable catching and leadership
- Three 20-something infield bats each with an OPS+ around 115
- Good-hitting young LF, and a MVP candidate at another OF position
If the 2014 Ms are trying to emulate the 2006 Tigers, using the 2013 Pirates as a guide isn't a bad idea.



'13 Pirates, anyway.
C =Zunino vs. Martin: I'll call it a draw. Zunino cn get into the 90+ OPS level. Close enough. Martin walks a lot
1B=Smoak/+ vs Sanchez/Jones: Could be a draw. Smoak wasn't far off Sanchez's 117 OPS. Jones was at 99.
2B=Franklin (probably) vs Walker: Edge Walker and his 115 OPS
SS=Miller vs Barmes/Mercer: Edge Miller. Barmes was a 58 OPS guy. Mercer who played SS/2B was 118
3B=Seager vs Alvarez. Call it a draw. Alvarez only hit .233 but had 36 HR's/116 OPS. Seager may beat that #.
OF? We get killed. Marte was a 122 OPS in LF/McCutcheon 158 in CF/Snider wasn't good in RF (75) but Tabata had 341PA's of 119 off the bench and Byrd 115 of 138.
If you figure Saunders improves a bit, he can hold his own against Snider/Tabata. He might win. But we have no OF bat like McCutcheon and Ackley has to return to rookie form to equal Marte. OK....We're minus a smoking OF bat and we need Ackley/Almonte/Romero/somebody to get to 120. But it's still a McCutcheon 150-level bat that we miss. Miss badly.
We should best the Pirates starters (5 guys between 100 and 117) but their bullpen was All-Solar System. Of the 7 top BP guys (innings) for them, Morris with an ERA+ of 102 was the worst.
We need an MVP level bat in the OF. Any ideas?

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