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Fantasy is reality for Bucs

By Jim Spezialetti
One week into the Grapefruit League, the Pirates are at the top of the National League standings. If only that could carry over into the regular season. Even the most die-hard Pirate fan knows the Bucs won't be at the top of the NL Central Division standings when October rolls around.
Reality will set in by the end of May. But looking at the fantasy side of baseball, the Pirates don't fare much better. Fantasy baseball leagues are won with big numbers. A one-for-five night that includes a three-run homer, beats a three-for-four night when every hit is a single.
Looking at mlb.com's fantasy player rankings, the first Pirate player on the overall list is Nate McLouth in the No. 56 spot. He is 22nd among fantasy outfielders, based mainly on his 26-home run showing in 2008.
The only other Pittsburgh player to be mixed with the leaders in his position is Ryan Doumit, who is fifth among catchers. Doumit smashed 15 homers and batted .318 last year. The Bucs certainly need that kind of production from Doumit again because the list of power hitters with the Black and Gold is small.
Adam LaRoche is 20th among fantasy first basemen, and his brother, Andy, is 35th among third basemen. Considering there are only 30 teams in Major League Baseball, being 35th at his position is dismal, especially at what is considered a power hitter's position.
Freddy Sanchez is 25th among second basemen and Jack Wilson is 35th among shortstops. Forget about the rest of the outfield, I didn't have enough time to scroll through the list.
Even though it's fantasy, the rankings are definitely reality for the Pirates. The club lacks the personnel to make a difference with one swing of the bat. Until the Bucs get plenty of "pop" in the lineup, they better hope for everyone in the lineup to have three-hit nights on a regular basis.