Saturday, September 20, 2008

A Pack of Pups

We will say that the Pirates have been full speed ahead in their youth movement. At an average player age of 26.6, they're way younger than the next two NL puppy mills, the Giants (27.1) and Nationals (27.4).

And if they remake their bench, as expected, they get rid of more gray hair. The current B-team consists of Chris Gomez (37), Raul Chavez (35), Dirt Dog Doug (34), Jason Michaels (32), and Luis Rivas (29).

The only other players on the current 40-man roster not in their twenties going into spring camp are Tyler Yates, Freddie Sanchez, and Jack Splat, who will be 31, and John Grabow, who will be 30.

The cloud outside this silver lining is finding an alpha dog to lead the pack. Jack Wilson and Sanchez should be the heir apparents, but injuries have limited them (along with won't-go-away trade rumors regarding Wilson), and Mientkiewicz, a natural born fireball who is iffy to re-up with the team.

A lot of next year's load will fall on the shoulders of Ryan Doumit, Nate McLouth, and Adam LaRoche, who has shown some signs of stepping up his presence since the trades. As they and the team embark on a maturing process, their ability to lead by more than example will be a needed element in 2009.

> Next year's chance to reload through the draft sees Pittsburgh sitting pretty solidly in the four hole, behind Seattle, Washington, and San Diego, and ahead of Atlanta and Baltimore.

And speaking of drafts, the Pedro soap opera airs its next episode Tuesday and Wednesday in New York. Stay tuned.

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