Burning Fantasy Baseball Questions: Pittsburgh Pirates

by Tim Heaney on January 17, 2013 @ 15:22:26 PDT

 

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Where do Pedro Alvarez and A.J. Burnett go from here?

Since a sizable chunk of their typical profiles stuck, they won't drop off much from 2012. Unfortunately, that doesn't speak all that well of Alvarez. His power, as usual, came in bunches and overcame another high seasonal grounder rate, which, despite the muscle he generates, says it'll take a lot to hope for consistent 30-homer output.

He'll sniff that most of the time, but the voluminous faults with his BA profile, headlined by a subterranean contact rate, say Alvarez must repeat that frequency of fence-clearing to remain a valuable mixed corner infielder. His distance between a cheap Adam Dunn and a platoon player is much shorter than that of his current form and an elite commodity.

Amazing how Burnett was left for dead in roto circles before his swap to the National League and a favorable home environment. Even when he was consistently facing designated hitters, he carried the seeds of what he showed us last year.

The big-bodied righty gave up a bit too many homers in 2011. He corrected that last year with a worm-burner boost; a better rate of stranded runners; and increased zone pounding, which significantly cut his free passes allowed. They seemingly tweaked his delivery or mindset, too, because the big turn during his windup threw off his mechanics often when he was in the Bronx.

His 2012 confirmation of an above-average empty-hack rate says his foundation will tease elite performance as long as he's in the Senior Circuit. Even with some backsliding, that'll make do for a mixed No. 4, if doubt lets him fall that far.

Why did Pittsburgh tab Jason Grilli as closer?

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About Tim Heaney

Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.

During baseball and football season, he appears on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio on Thursdays and Sundays, and every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.


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