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Youthful Pirates More Vital At Major-League Level, But Still Struggling In Minors

The Post-Gazette has a nice feature today on whether the Pirates have "bottomed out," asking if the recent infusion of actual talent into the lineup finally means better things are on the horizon. That may well be the case, and already Pedro Alvarez, Neil Walker, Jose Tabata and Andrew McCutchen have made the Pirates a lot more watchable than they were a few months ago. At the major league level, I'm as excited about Pirates games as I've been in years, and if the young James McDonald's brilliant first start with the Bucs actually meant something, then I'll be even more enthused.

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The fact remains, though, that this season has been a dreadful one for the Pirates' prospects, who have mostly been felled by a series of bizarre injuries. Tony Sanchez, Starling Marte, Brock Holt and a whole slew of key pitchers have missed lots of time. As I wrote at Bucs Dugout, the Kansas City Royals' example shows what might have been if the Bucs' season had gone better at the minor league level.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.