In a shocking move Tuesday, the Pirates dealt Nate McLouth to the Braves, and called up heralded prospect Andrew McCutchen to take McLouth’s center field duties. The 21-year-old McCutchen was hitting .303 (61-for-201) with four home runs, 20 RBIs and 10 stolen bases for Triple-A Indianapolis prior to his promotion. For the Bucs, McLouth was the final piece – and the last star – left in one of the best outfields in the Majors last season.

“We know moves like this are going to be made,” manager John Russell told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “And we stand behind them because we know they’re going to make us better in the long term.”

With McCutchen waiting in the wings the McLouth trade is different than last year’s midseason move of outfielders Jason Bay and Xavier Nady, simply because the Bucs already have a younger, cheaper replacement already in place. The All-Star and Golden Glove winner McLouth (.256/.349/.470) was a top-notch player and all-around good guy, but ultimately he would grow too expensive in the coming seasons of his multi-year deal. As a team with a smaller payroll, the Pirates are less interested in paying McLouth’s $6.5 million and $10.65 million salaries in 2011 and 2012, especially considering the team’s emphasis on building for the future.

While it’s too early to deem a winner in any trade involving still-developing prospects, I combined the McLouth loot with the players pocketed for Bay and Nady last season. These are the guys who will be counted on to elevate the beleaguered franchise’s farm system and eventually turn around a franchise losing streak that’s creeping up on 17 straight seasons. Below is a closer preliminary look at how the traded players stack up, with all statistics current through Thursday’s games.

The Deal:
The 27-year-old McLouth was sent to Atlanta June 2 for three prospects: Gorkys Hernandez, Jeff Locke and Charlie Morton.

CF Gorkys Hernandez, .316/.361/.387

The Venezuela native was originally acquired from Detroit in the Edgar Renteria deal. Hernandez, rated the “fastest base runner” in the Braves farm system by Baseball America last year, is a speedy fielder with limited power and an average on-base percentage. He’s homerless through 52 games in Double-A, and his stolen base drop-off –from 54 in 2007 to 20 last year – is a red flag. For now, the 21-year-old’s numbers don’t project well at the Major League level and with McCutchen figuring to be a mainstay, Hernandez would have to move to a corner outfield spot.

LHP Jeff Locke 1-4, 5.52 ERA

Locke has struggled with control (5.12 BB/9 IP) over his first 10 starts in Class-A Advanced. The Braves second-round pick in the 2006 draft, Locke has a low-90s fastball and power curve that induces a high ground ball rate (1.63 GO/AO). He is also reportedly developing a more effective change-up. The Pirates farm system is devoid of any standout lefties and Locke’s strikeout totals (8.47 K/9) and youth instantly elevates his stock. It’s always difficult to predict a pitcher’s future progress, but given the Bucs pitching problems, the 21-year-old Locke could make a case to crack the rotation in a few years if he stays on track.

RHP Charlie Morton 7-2, 2.26 ERA

The furthest along of the trio, Morton has 16 games of Major League experience under his belt. Unfortunately, that experience doesn’t reflect too fondly on the right-hander. Morton was hit around during his stint with the Braves last season, and posted a 6.15 ERA on 51 earned runs over 74 2/3 innings. A third-round pick in 2002, Morton has a fastball that tops out at 90 mph and gets by with a good breaking ball and improved change-up. Morton has fared well in 11 starts at Triple-A, and could be called up this season if necessary.

The Deal:
On July 26, Nady and relief pitcher Damaso Marte were sent to the Yankees in exchange for pitcher Jeff Karstens and three prospects– pitchers Daniel McCutchen and Ross Ohlendorf and outfielder Jose Tabata.

RHP Daniel McCutchen 3-4, 4.61 ERA

An older prospect, the 26-year-old McCutchen is at an age where he needs to start producing now, if ever. With 50 strikeouts for Indianapolis, McCutchen is averaging a little less than one per inning, but he’s also walked two or more batters in four of 10 starts. Free passes never bode well in the Major Leagues, and his fly ball tendency (0.79 GO/AO) is another pressing issue.

OF Jose Tabata .250/.324/.297

Considered the cornerstone prospect of the deal, Tabata hasn’t played since April 28 and is currently nursing a strained right hamstring. Prior to the injury, Tabata got off to a poor start with Double-A Altoona and continues to make headlines off the field. Tabata was suspended for several days after leaving a game early (without notice) while in the Yankees farm system. This March, his much-older wife was arrested for kidnapping , although it’s an incident Tabata had not been linked to. Rated the third-best prospect in the Yankees organization last season, Tabata is young and immensely talented but could be more trouble than he’s worth.

*Ross Ohlendorf 5-5, 4.85 ERA
*Jeff Karstens 2-2, 4.83 ERA

The pair of prospects earned the Pirates No. 4 and 5 rotation spots out of Spring Training, and thus won’t be discussed in detail.

The Deal:
With reportedly seconds to spare in last year’s trade deadline, the Pirates dealt Bay to the Red Sox as part of a three-team deal with the Dodgers that netted four prospects : Andy LaRoche, Brandon Moss, Craig Hansen and Bryan Morris.

  • 3B Andy LaRoche .298/.368/.423

  • RF Brandon Moss .264/.310/.372

  • RHP Craig Hansen 0-0, 5.68 ERA

The aforementioned trio immediately joined the big leagues following the trade, with LaRoche and Moss both everyday starters. Hansen was placed on the 15-day disabled list (and later moved to the 60-day) retroactive to April 25 with neck spasms that have plagued him since midway through Spring Training.

RHP Bryan Morris 0-0, 0.00 ERA

Morris is currently shelved with right shoulder inflammation and is on the Class-A Advanced roster. The Dodgers first-round pick in the 2006 amateur draft, Morris was shut down last season after pain in his right shoulder and arm (as well as his right big toe) and tossed a combined 20 games for the Class-A Great Lakes Loons and Hickory Crawdads. Prior to his injury, Morris went 2-6 with a 3.47 ERA.

In less than a year the Pirates demolished one of the most promising outfields in baseball, but in evaluating each trade’s early returns second-year general manager Neal Huntington has unquestionably restocked the organization’s depth. For better or worse, the Pittsburgh brass appear content with knowing 2009, and possibly 2010, won’t be their time.

Add in the extra cash flow caused by dumping McLouth and the Pirates should be able to add another top prospect by signing their first round pick in this week’s amateur draft.

McCutchen won’t be expected to match McLouth’s productivity in Pittsburgh right away, but the Bucs have a young, speedy left fielder in [Nyjer] Morgan (.256/.349/.470) and a solid platoon of Moss/Eric Hinske holding down right field. While clearly not the popular move, you have to give Huntington and Co. credit for making a gutsy call and dealing McLouth. Whether he was sold high or will continue to post 20-plus home runs a season remains to be seen. But with 16 straight losing seasons, the Bucs made the choice to invest and patiently wait for their farm system. At this point, it’s all they’ve got.

Thank you for reading

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I really like the structure here, but I feel like Brittany's been hamstrung a bit by lack of resources. She's used to being in the clubhouse, getting quotes, building stories, and in her contest pieces, she's clearly been writing for a different audience. It's taken her so far out of her element that she's lost what made her so unique in this. That said, she needs to get past the limits and get back to doing what got her here -- write solid stories. She clearly can find good info and structure it well, make it readable, and give reasonable (if superficial) analysis, but there's more here that she's not getting on the page from her toolbox.
I just felt the prospect lists were a re-hashing of things most people already know, and in many places, inaccurate.

You say:

Morton has a fastball that tops out at 90 mph and gets by with a good breaking ball and improved change-up.

In reality:

Morton has been up to 95 mph this year while SITTING 90-93. You made a power arm sound like a finesse one, and it's just wrong.
As much as I like what Brittany's trying to do here--carefully document the upside of the Bucs' depth-minded acquisition strategy--this just doesn't end up doing what it needs to. First, it's reductionist in the worst way--McCutchen and McLouth couldn't play in the same outfield? Talking about McLouth's 2012 compensation without mentioning that that's an option year? Maybe that's intended to bulk up the argument that the Pirates couldn't afford the expense, but it's a sleight of hand that doesn't really work when that's readily available information.

Then, it's an exercise that's made without employing any available evaluative minor league data (minor league EqAs, for example, or anybody's projections). Add in Kevin's point about getting scouting info wrong, and it struggles all the more to deliver value.

Delivering an answer that, yes, Huntington has delivered depth does not involve asking and answering the more important question, over whether or not that's a worthwhile goal in itself. Does organizational depth advance the Pirates' fortunes at all? Instead of an answer, the piece just sort of throws up its hands with a fatalism that I expect Pirates fans are all too familiar with.
Nice recap and well-written, but is this really a BP type of article?
There's definitely room at BP for what Brittany has been trying to do--it's similar to the combination of analysis and mainstream "insider" coverage that John Perrotto has done so well here. You can definitely add value to our coverage with that approach.

That said, I don't know if she was trying to invite comparison to John when she picked the Pirates as her topic for this week, but it didn't do her any favors. Neither did focusing on a trade that had already been analyzed within an inch of its life, here and elsewhere. The field really picked up the pace this week, and I have to admit that, although she's a really good writer, Brittany's article was the only one I never considered voting for this week.
As a bit of a comparison, this was an article I came across that was pretty entertaining and had some of the elements that Brittany tried to do, though the topic prohibited much of a major league focus.
This article gives no new insight to anything I have read on the trade. Calling last year's Pittsburgh outfield, "one of the best in MLB" is a real stretch.
There's no analysis in this piece. It's just a regurgitation of obviousness. This competition has really exposed Brittany. She may very well be a good writer, but stick to quote-mining and game-recapping. Analysis really isn't your thing .. especially not for an audience like BPs.
anybody else not *shocked* by the McLouth deal?
I mean he *was* an all around good guy, shocking they could get rid of that...
I don't want to be unkind, but this is one of the very worst things I've ever read here at BP. It reminds me of the stuff I used to read in "Baseball Weekly" circa 1989. There's not really any serious analysis, just meaningless buzzwords. Here, let's pick a sentence almost at random:

"While clearly not the popular move, you have to give Huntington and Co. credit for making a gutsy call and dealing McLouth."

This is the kind of content-free pap against which Baseball Prospectus has always stood; somewhere, Gary Huckabay is reading this sentence and crying. I "have" to give a GM credit for "making a gutsy call" and trading a guy signed to a below-market deal for B-level prospects? Really? Why is that? Ghiroli doesn't tell us.

Also, I feel like Ghiroli skated by last week and learned nothing from the experience. Last week, she was criticized for having obvious errors. This week, we're told that Nyjer Morgan is batting .256/.349/.470. Of course, Morgan is actually slugging .343.

And again, I don't want to bag on anyone for a simple typo, but nobody who's ever seen a single Pirates game this year could have possibly written (even by mistake) that slap hitter extraordinaire Nyjer Morgan has a .470 slugging percentage.

Similarly, Ghiroli's piece last week was criticized (correctly, in my view) for its passing relationship with the rules of grammar. This week, we get more of the same:

"This March, his much-older wife was arrested for kidnapping , although it's an incident Tabata had not been linked to."

This is a bad piece from someone who doesn't appear to be listening from good advice on previous bad pieces. It's cool that BP Idol has it's own Sanjaya (I guess?), but it's time for Ghiroli to go.
Coincidentally enough, McLouth has *exactly* the same BA/OBP/SLG as Nyjer Morgan!
I didn't know McLouth was a boxer.
I think most would agree that McLouth wasn't getting expensive - he has a very friendly deal for his value. If he is expensive I doubt this team will ever compete.

If one is to talk about Gorskys, they must mention his defense, no? On the defense note, its a slap in the face for her to mention McLouth as a GG winner. As if a GG means anything and he was a good defender.

You have to agree with Kevin on his point as well.
The ironic thing is I got really flamed for defending the Pirates for dealing away McLouth in the BP article this week. Brittany should've used that as a "stay away from this topic!" clue.
Everyone has his or her right to an opinion... I guess? McLouth at a corner can be a valuable player, but don't negate his bat by playing him in center. I like the pieces they got in return. This early on, there aren't that many suitors looks for outside help. Other competitive teams that need OFers are (off the top of my head) the Mets, maybe Boston, Detroit and KC. Boston is the only team who could have matched the Pirates haul.
Everyone does have a right to their opinion. The only thing I was suggesting was that Brittany's strength, based on her initial entry, was on reporting. She could have used her contacts from her internship or at to interview a minor league official or player. She could've gotten a guided tour of a local minor league venue. Heck, she could've gone to a game and written about minor league warmup drills or something... instead, we get this kind of piece which has been written about ad nauseum over the last week and a half. Also, not many have been fans of the Pirates moves, so if she was to take this kind of theme, she needed to be keenly accurate with her analysis or offer some new perspective. She didn't, though.

Meanwhile, 3 or 4 other finalists (and I forget the exact count) did try to utilize someone in the industry. They did report. And then they analyzed the information they had.
I think the real slant to what the Pirates have done is to recognize that some of their major league talent has been extremely overrated, specifically Nady and McLouth, which allows them to maximize their returns. If she had been able to take that POV and then turn this into an article about the Pirates organizational depth with regards to the moves they will be looking to make going forward, this would've been a good piece.
Overrated? I don't think anyone -- incl. the Yankees -- thought that Nady's first couple months in 2008 was his expected future level of production. And how exactly does the Braves trade show that McLouth is overrated?
Seriously, I'm a Braves fan, and I happen to know that Morton touched 97 (!!!) in his first start for AAA Indianopolis. I like Morton a lot, and he's by far the most valuable thing Pittsburgh got in that trade, and saying he throws 90 mph is just seriously misconstruing what that trade was like.
Yahoo sports comes to BP!
While we can't know for sure who got the better deal until five years from now, we certainly can take an educated guess. I mean, trading Albert Pujols for Delmon Young is certain a horrible trade, even though it's possible that DYoung is the more valuable player over the next five years.

I'm also disappointed that fielding plays no part in the analysis. A huge part of Gorkys' value is in his awesome range, and you can find some rough fielding numbers over at for prospects with significant playing time. If he makes the majors it will be for his awesome fielding, meaning McCutchen would likely be the one shifting to a corner spot, giving the Pirates an awesome defensive outfielder.

Defense is also important for McLouth, who rates poorly by the advanced metrics and is more of an average corner outfielder. He's not All-Star caliber, all things considered, although still a good player.

Nice review of all the trades, in what seems like a collection of information from other sources. Nothing wrong with that, but I find myself wanting to know what Brittany thinks of the deals. Guess I'm looking for more analysis of the deals, both individually and as a whole, and more specific analysis of how good the Pirates might be in 2-4 years.
I honestly cannot believe I am reading this on BP.
I'm not trying to be offensive, but Brittany is out of her element in this competition. This is the type of article I could read on countless free sites all around the Web. At the risk of beating a dead horse and echoing the other comments, I don't pay for a BP subscription to read articles with little or no analysis such as this one.
I am struck by the number of negative comments on Brittany's work, and not just this week. Perhaps it wouldn't be inappropriate for those who have voted for her to chime in with their thoughts?
Well I voted for her the first week, didn't vote for her last week, and haven't decided yet which way I'm going on this one. Basically, she's a very, very talented writer, and I can see her writing articles for BP that I would read - game stories come to mind - unlike a lot of the participants in this contest.

But yeah, the three pieces so far have been ho-hum at best. The talent is clearly there, but it hasn't translated into a killer piece yet. So if/when I vote/d for her, it's voting on upside, and hoping she develops more like Grady Sizemore than Ryan Sweeney.
The writing style and structure was better but the topic was generic and the analysis was uninteresting at best and more often flatout wrong. This topic should have played to your reporting strengths. Meanwhile the competition adapted. We haven't seen quality since an processed piece from last October.

This was your chance (past tense)
I have to agree with the judges on this - while I'm actually a fan of the deal for both sides, and think the haul was a fair value, this analysis is very superficial in discussing Huntington's VERY difficult task - to take one of the worst franchises in baseball, with a bare bones farm system, and turn it into a winning franchise is a monumental task, that takes difficult decisions.

The most amazing part of this trade was NOT that the Pirates traded a viable major league outfielder (though he should be in RF, not CF), but that they traded one of the few fan favorites.
I feel that the article showed that Brittany has a lack of knowledge of the Minor's and/or the ability to rate prospects and their potential impact at the Major League Level.
Thus she has tried to connect the article back to MLB; seeking solace in general knowledge that even the most lax baseball fan would be able to draw on.
This most definitely resembles the plainness and simplicity of last week’s column by Jeff Euston, and as such should probably result in the same outcome.
Had I seen the terms "MLE" or "MORP" (or "summation of MORP over duration of obligated service adjusted for salary considerations") I might've given this a thumbs up.

Brittany, if you're not the ultimate victor in this competition, try writing about what you know better. I can't help but feel that I know more about your topics than you've offered in your articles, but that doesn't mean that you're any less than excellent as a writer.
6/08 would love this article. That's not a plus in this context.
I've thought about this article for a few hours now... and I really get upset thinking about it. The problem with is is there is no insight- just a rehash of what has already happened. This would be a better fit for Wikipedia... until it gets flagged for lack of references.

America- Please end this.
(4th read)
A minor criticism not brought up yet: Leaving out the details on Ohlendorf, Karstens, and the other young players in these trades who have been playing in the Majors does not make this article purely a minor league piece. Those were Major League trades. You might as well have given us a couple of sentences on each of these guys in the same format as the others. Otherwise, it leaves gaping holes.

I like how Brittany summarized each minor league player and his primary stats in bold, but was woefully missing their crucially important ages and level. Of course, the rest of the players acquired in those deals should have been included in that format as well. She was consistent on her format with Ohlendorf and Karstens, but for some reason LaRoche, Moss, and Hansen were indented and bulleted instead of in bold.

Overall as far as its readability and organization, we finally are seeing improvement from Brittany. However, this is so riddled with serious misinformation that there is absolutely no reason to string her along on this competition any further. Her work is blatantly unacceptable, while all the other writers have something worthwhile to offer BP readers, if generally not always quite up to their standards.

For that reason, I'll be voting for everyone but Britany. I wish her well in her other endeavours.
There's honestly a lot here to shake your head at. Mostly, though--and I don't mean to be dogmatic about it--this is the most telling part of the article to me:

"The 21-year-old McCutchen was hitting .303 (61-for-201) with four home runs, 20 RBIs and 10 stolen bases for Triple-A Indianapolis prior to his promotion."

I know it's formulaic, but shouldn't we also be given his slash stats here, too?

And it's a "Gold" Glove, not "Golden."
Enough negative comments already, I don't really need to chime in. All I will say is that I thought this was her best work yet.
...which isn't saying much.
Ditto to everything else, except to add that I'm not particularly blown away by the writing style either, which seems inexpertly cribbed from old newspaper articles. A lot of sentences seem to have been put together more because they sound intelligent than because they actually mean anything.

Example: "For the Bucs, McLouth was the final piece – and the last star – left in one of the best outfields in the Majors last season."

If he was the "final piece left"--awkward phrasing to begin with--wouldn't he necessarily also be the last star? And it would take a pretty expansive definition of "best" to include Pittsburgh's outfield in the category.

I think Brittany needs to work on simplifying her language. This sentence would have sounded a lot better as: "McLouth was the last remaining member of the outfield with which the Bucs started 2008."
This whole articles seems to go against the spirit of the week's topic. I mean, I was hoping to get articles about topics I would never otherwise read about, not just one more article about a trade between 2 sub-.500 teams that has been analyzed to death already.
First of all, I'll defend Brittany regarding the "one of the best outfields in the Majors last season" bit. I think for this purpose what needs to be looked it is how well they actually performed while they were together rather than how well they could be projected to perform in the future. While he was with the Pirates in 2008, Xavier Nady had an EQA of .318, while Jason Bay had an EQA of .312 for the Pirates that year before getting traded. Nate McLouth had an EQA of .300 for the season (I don't know where to find his EQA at the trade deadline, but it was likely slightly higher). So all three outfielders, while in Pittsburgh, were near the top of the offensive leaderboards for their respective positions in 2008. Dragging in sustainability or defense into the argument belabors the point a bit, but at the time the trades started they were playing like one of the best outfields in baseball.

As a Pirate fan I wanted to vote for this article simply because it was about a topic that interested me. However, I didn't really find anything new in the article. For instance, I would have loved to read why Morton's minor league numbers improved so much in 2008 and 2009 (and perhaps why he hasn't yet translated that to MLB success). Perhaps this is an unfair standard since I've read a lot more on this topic than most have, but regardless I decided not to vote for this article. Good luck to Brittany and everyone else nonetheless.
Not to be TOO harsh, but this is the second week that Brittany has delivered an article with information that any casual baseball fan could look up on their own using CBS Sportsline or Yahoo Sports.

The article was well-written, but there's just nothing here that would make it stand out from the crowd as most BP articles do.

Nowhere are "EQA", "WARP", "BABIP" or translated statistics ever mentioned in this article - the new metrics that have put BP on the map.
This idea that BP is just about stats is starting to piss me off.
Of course BP isn't just about stats. I don't want to speak for Chris Perry, but it seems to me that the complaint in his third paragraph is shorthand for: "I expect in-depth analysis at BP that I can't find elsewhere." Now, that analysis can be qualitative (such as your reports, or KG's, or what have you), or a hybrid of qualitative and quantitative (such as your THRs), or purely quantitative.

I think it's not unfair to say that BP is probably best known for its quantitative analysis, although BP has moved strongly to diversify both its actual content and the public perception of that content in recent years.

So I guess my bottom line is that I don't fault Chris *too* much for saying in an offhanded comment sort of way that Ghiroli's piece seems to lack the kind of sophisticated analysis that we expect (and pay for) from BP.
Statistics without some kind of interpretation or application are basically big spreadsheets of data. Data is useful but I do enjoy analysis.

That being said, with poor assumptions (bad qualitative data), inaccuarate statiscs like the Morgan/McLouth slash rates (bad quantitative data) and inaccurate or incorrect assumptions (bad analysis)... I'll take my chances with other finalists who can write well _and_ analyze well.
Will, don't be annoyed. You're right, BP is more than stats. It's about substance.

My take on BP, as a very general mission statement, is that "BP will provide its readers with useful baseball information, and then support that information with substance and deliver it in an entertaining fashion."

That substance can be a) underlying metrics of success/failure (including traditional and non-traditional stats), and b) insider knowledge (including information from or interviews with scouts, medical staff, front office personnel that is not apparent at many other sites). And that substance is delivered with c) a flair and flavor that keeps it entertaining (Prospectus *Entertainment* Ventures).

Brittany has put a lot of effort into her submissions, and her submissions are weighted towards 'c' and a quite a bit weaker on 'a' and 'b.' In defense of people who complain about the 'lack of stats', I just think of it as 'wanting substance.' She makes more than a few unsupported statements, and without the support, they don't convince me that I've actually learned anything.

And, more frustratingly, the unsupported statements themselves aren't all that informative. There's just not much new, original, or thought provoking being offered in her submissions. Including this one. Here's an abstract for this submission:

"The Pirates haven't had a winning season for quite some time. In an effort to save money and build for the future, they have traded away a relief pitcher and their three starting outfielders in exchange for 11 younger prospects over the past year. This has opened up room on the MLB roster for their players in AAA. This submission will name the prospects they have received in trade, recap the AAA players who have moved up, and provide an overview of their recent performance. The article will provide the above without providing any context to judge whether the Pirates have positioned themselves for future success any better than they were a year ago."

I wish Brittany well in BP Idol and in the rest of her career. Hopefully she can take the information above and apply it to those future endeavors. I think she has the ability to craft an entertaining article, and with some effort and introspection, the rest can come.
Will -- I don't think every article should be a research piece a la Fox, Woolner, Seidman, etc. But BP is famous becaues of innovation, whether quantitative or qualitative, and a return to "Andrew McCutchen is a good prospect because he has RBIs" isn't really in the spirit of the website.

I don't think anyone was asking Brittany to create new stats, because that's really hard to do, but instead to utilize the stats available already to make more informed commentary. In other words, they were asking her to be a student of the game, learn something, and apply it in a reasonable manner. None of these things happened.
Brittany's submission failed because it contained factual errors, regurgitated information, and a notable absence of any provokative questions or insight.

that being said - and i'm not trolling with this comment - i read things like "this could be found on AOL/Yahoo/CBS/Majormediaoutletit'sconsideredcooltotrash" or "i can't believe this is on BP" and wonder whether you're actually assessing her submissions based on what they are, or whether you're judging them for what they aren't. it seems silly to knock an article because it doesn't meet some criteria you've invented for BP, a criteria BP would probably be the first to tell you - doesn't exist.

Brittany's approach and background are markedly different from the other contestents, which is to her credit. that said, she's turned in poor work for 2 straight weeks; i hope she's able to harness her strengths and turn in a quality piece, should she be given the opportunity.
What he said.
She as well as all the contestants have been given an opportunity. It's called Prospectus Idol. The others are clearly doing much better than her, and are far more deserving of future opportunities.
I think a number of contestants have chosen topics or presented material in a fashion that is uncommon/rare on BP and in most cases it has been a breath of fresh air. The difference has been that Brittany hasn't done it well and this week was a rehashed topic that wasn't particularly insightful.

How is her background different besides having a degree in journalism? We have young college graduates facing off against Ph.D. candidates, statisticians jousting with storytellers. Each of the other finalists have unique backgrounds too. The only other parts of her background that are different is that she had a piece published by which would suggest that she is a great writer, and that she is a woman. Her approach may be different too because she has been among the least responsive of the finalists so far to the feedback she has received... meanwhile, the rest of the contestants improved. As a paying customer, I want the winner to be one who responds to feedback.

She already beat out hundreds of other submissions to become a finalist with a very enjoyable initial entry and that is a feather in her cap, but that is the extent of the credit I give to her.
Certainly, BP is about more than just stats. I enjoy that the site offers both perspectives -- the quantitative analysis as well as a qualitative analyis of things not-captured in the numbers. It is an attempt to create a full view, a complete analysis, rather than the partial (but valuable) view captured in the statistics.

All that said, a comparison to content on or CBS Sportsline or ESPN or Yahoo Sports is a *valid* comparison. It is not meant in the derogotory sense. It is much simpler: content on those sites is available for free. Content on BP is not. It seems perfectly fair that if the user is to pay to view content, they would have particular additional expectations of that content. On the most basic of levels, the expectation would be simply that the content on BP be of a different nature that what the user can obtain free of charge elsewhere. That will mean different things to different people; some will want more stats, some more-detailed profiles, some more-detailed injury analysis, etc.

But for all users, it is significantly important that it provide something different from the free sites.
Brittany, I continue to enjoy your articles and you will go far. I think it is awesome that you take criticism so well. I have enjoyed each one of your articles but, then again, I am not a professional writer, I am just a baseball fan.
This should be about Brittanys charismatic way of telling others about her insite and knowledge on baseball.
I have enjoyed reading all your articles and loved your article in the 2008 World Series Program. We miss you at the Trop.
This comment would be much more applicable if she had some insIGHT or knowledge on baseball.