These Pittsburgh Pirates could hit 25+ Home runs in 2015

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Mar 23, 2015; Port Charlotte, FL, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman Neil Walker (18) singles during the second inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Charlotte Sports Park. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Neil Walker put up a 2014 to remember, hitting 23 HR, a career high, to go along with 76 RBI.  Can he improve on that year?  I believe he can.  Every projection for Walker’s 2015 must have the caveat of good health attached to it.  Walker missed a total of 25 games to different maladies last season, and it’s absolutely crucial that he stay healthy.

Beyond health, one wonders exactly where Walker will end up in the batting order.  We attempted to project the optimal Pirates’ batting order previously, but since that time,  much has changed.  As we mentioned above, Pedro Alvarez has hit the spring running, and that fact, coupled with Clint Hurdle’s desire to use Starling Marte as a run producer, may force Walker into the two-hole, thus limiting his RBI chances.  However, this could give the Pittsburgh Kid the added benefit of better protection behind him in McCutchen.  Barring major injury, I think Walker maintains his power stroke.  Projection:  25 HR

Let’s wrap this up by looking at the honorable mentions

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