Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Pirates Player Profile 1: Ryan Doumit

Can you feel the excitement? Opening Day is just 48 days away for the Buccos! With that in mind, and with spring training kicking into gear I wanted to get my season previews for the Pirates going. The way I figure it there are about 38 players who can make the roster, and so I figured I would piece together a player profile for each one of them. For those of you non-mathematicians out there, that amounts to a little less than 1 per day. And since I'm a pretty unreliable person, I figure I'd better get this going immediately. I'll try to do one just about every day. I'll probably do two or even three some days and zero other days. Stop by to see what's happening.

We'll start this preview off with a notable player in the form of Ryan Doumit, as I doubt a Brian Bixler preview will get much traffic my way. I'm going to be doing these predictions in a completely and totally random order. And consider this profile to be a template for future profiles.Player: Ryan Doumit
Position: Catcher
Doumit is coming off of a big-time breakout season for the Pirates. He even earned himself a hefty raise and contract extension this offseason from the upper brass. Many expect Doumit to turn into a real clubhouse leader for the Buccos this season as he showed definite signs of that last season, even earning the high praise of the immortal Doug Mientkiewicz.

One of the biggest plusses for Doumit and for the Pirates is that he provides the team with power and all-around hitting prowess at a position that is very scarce in these traits league-wide. Doumit has the chance to turn into one of the best-hitting catchers in baseball and a perennial all-star. He will be 28 shortly before Opening Day and figures to have a fair amount of room still to grow due to not having played many full seasons over the past several years. 20-25 home runs, a .320 BA, and 100 RBI are not out of the question, especially if he hits in the 3/4 slot all year, as is expected.

However, he is not perfect either. The defense is still a work in progress. There were definite signs of improvement from him last year, but I wouldn't go calling him Pudge Rodriguez just yet. The other knock on him are the numerous health concerns. He's had more than a few injuries, and was temporarily knocked behind Ronny Paulino on the organizational depth chart because of these. Even last season, Doumit missed a bit of time. Obviously, no catcher is ever going to be back there for 162 games a year, but Doumit's 116 of a year ago is a little low. Ideally, you'd like to see him behind the plate a minimum 130 games. If he can stay healthy for all of 2009, even if the D is only mediocre, it would be the final step toward him becoming a top-notch catcher.

Predicted 2009 Stats: 490 AB .303 BA 19 HR .350 OBP .483 SLG 82 RBI 74 R
Assuming Full Health, Chance of Being on the Opening Day Roster: 100%
Assuming Full Health, Chance of Being in the Opening Day Lineup: 100%
On Deck: Andy LaRoche

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