An in-depth and position-by-position look at the 2011 Pirates, who will be under the direction Clint Hurdle. Dynamic centerfielder Andrew McCutchen tops the list of gifted young players the new skipper will have at his disposal. The former first-round draft pick offers an excellent blend of speed, extra-base power and defensive prowess. In addition, free agents such first baseman Lyle Overbay, outfielder Matt Diaz and pitcher Kevin Correia are expected to bolster the ballclub.
Whenever Pirates GM Neal Huntington reflects on what led him to hire Clint Hurdle as the team's new manager, he cites experience, knowledge, passion, positivity and energy. The 53-year-old Hurdle put all those things on display during the offseason and for his new players as soon as he arrived at Spring Training. The former Rockies skipper has vowed to help the Pirates re-establish their tradition-rich organization.
One of the most exciting aspects of following your favorite team is watching which players emerge and take over significant roles. In 2010, second baseman Neil Walker, third baseman Pedro Alvarez, outfielder Jose Tabata and pitcher James McDonald did that for the Bucs. All four had a very positive effect on the team in less than a full season and they're being counted on to contribute even more in 2011.