Dejan Kovacevic distinguishes between the ceiling for our young talent and that of, say, the Marlins.
I think this has little to do with whether or not the Pirates can win half their games this year.
It is true that the perennial All-Stars tend to share a profile. They are very good when very young. The Marlins have more players that fit that profile.
Still, not many youngsters who are very good when they are very young go on to become perennial All-Stars.
And most major-league players have short careers. Most major-leaguers peak at an above-average level for only a few years.
The Pirates do not need a team of perennial All-Stars to eclipse the .500 mark.
They need a few players to peak at an above-average level for not even a few years, but just one year.
Are the Pirates close to becoming a New York Yankees-style dynasty? That is one question.
Are the Pirates capable of winning 82 or 90 games in 2007? That is a very different question.
Any of the players on the roster could hit at Albert Pujols level for four weeks. We all know that. And if and when they do, we'll all be pinching ourselves and reminding ourselves that this does not mean they are a perennial All-Star.
And sometimes that four weeks is all it takes for a mediocre player to turn in the above-average season. I'd prefer steady improvement to a sudden freaky streaky outburst of high performance, but the Pirates, like any team, will take what they can get.
So I disagree with the idea that the perceived low ceiling of our young players has much to do with whether or not they can achieve the mediocre goal of a mediocre .500 season playing in a relatively weak division.