Friday, March 31, 2006

2006 Preview: Pittsburgh Pirates

Contrary to what some websites believe, the Pittsburgh Pirates failed to hit Craig Biggio with a pitch in 2005, but I'm sure Pirates management would tell you that it was a rebuilding year, and they're expecting to come back strong in '06. Either that or they would say something about how small market teams can't stay competitive, which is as good an excuse as any. They also might mention that they have no idea who's going to be their 5th starter this year.
Kip Wells led the Pirates in plunks last year with 12, and he hit Craig Biggio with a pitch in 2003, but he is injured and not expected back until mid-season. Oliver Perez, Zach Duke, Ian Snell, and Paul Maholm appear to have jobs in Pittsburgh's rotation, but those four averaged only 11 starts and 3 hit batters last year. The fifth starter looks like it will be either Terry Adams, Victor Santos or former Astro Brandon Duckworth. Duckworth and Santos each hit 5 last year, while Adams hit 4 batters.
Of note in the Pirates bullpen, they have Salomon Torres, who has hit Craig Biggio twice, and Ryan Vogelsong who hit 8 last year in 44 relief appearances. The Pirates also had Britt Reames, who hit Biggio with a pitch in 2002, in camp this spring but he will be starting the season in the minors.

The Pirates probability of hitting Craig Biggio with a pitch at least once in their 16 games this season is 85.3%. Plunking Biggio two or more times is 57% probable, and it's 0.3% likely that the Pirates will plunk Craig Biggio 7 or more times in 2006.

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