1) The rotation must improve across the board from last seasons performance. This team is built around a concept of a solid rotation. The starters have to find a way to go six inning every outing. In 2006 the Pirates were 46-44 when the starters went at least 6 innings.
2) Chris Duffy must prove himself capable of handling the rigors of a complete MLB season. He must grow into a solid MLB leadoff hitter while maintaining his defensive prowess.
3) Jack "Flab" must get back to "Flash". The defense up the middle needs to be strong. The rotation is not a strikeout group, they need a strong defense behind them.
4) Right field needs to become a strong point, whether through a platoon or Nady just owning the position. The position must be defensively stable and a offensive force. IF Gerut is healthy, a platoon of he and Nady could go a long way to making this happen. Nady must also be healthy. Doumit could be part of this mix as well. Castillo? Regardless it must work out.
5) Paulino, Doumit, Duffy, Bautista or Castillo. Two of the mentioned must have breakout years. Paulino needs to show some offensive power while maintaining his approach with the pitching staff. The rest must establish themselves as major leaguers.
The team must stay healthy. There is very little depth in the organization outside middle reliever and catcher.
If all the above "Keys" happen. This team could finally break out of its streak of futility and finish at or above .500.