Tim, following up on David Todd's description, on last week's podcast, of Francisco Liriano as a "high-beta" player, makes a list of his own of high-beta players. "Beta" is a term from the world of finance that describes the amount of volatility an asset has, so a high-beta asset could produce a wide range of outcomes. A high-beta player is someone who could be surprisingly good, or do next to nothing.

The Pirates have a ton of them. I'd probably subtract a few guys from Tim's list (Charlie Morton, Jeff Locke, Clint Robinson) and add Pedro Alvarez (whose career to this point has been so up-and-down that it's still tough to know what to expect of him). I might subtract Starling Marte from the list, too, because I think he's so likely to provide good defense that his floor for 2013 is higher than most of the other players on the list. But I see what Tim's thinking by putting him there.

Anyway, the point is that the Pirates' roster will be loaded with players like Liriano, James McDonald, Travis Snider and Mark Melancon, players who, for whatever reason, have a meaningful chance at a big season in 2013 but also might struggle terribly. That's weird, because the 2013 Pirates won't be a particularly young team, and they aren't widely viewed as a team that's loaded with upside. It's also a bit nerve-wracking, because the Pirates have taken their fair share of chances with high-beta players on about the same scale as guys like Snider and Melancon, and they've missed on a lot of them.