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Jim Furtado
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Editor - Baseball Primer


Pirates Newsbeat

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Daniel Bryan’s ‘YES!’ chant has spread to the Pirates’ dugout

I once started an “Unpredictable! Unpredictable! Unpredictable!” Johnny Rodz chant after Clay Bellinger’s first career HR. Just never caught on.

The Pirates and Reds grappled in an absolute homerfest Monday in Cincinnati, launching an absurdly entertaining 10 long balls before rain halted the game after six innings. A half-dozen of those long balls came courtesy of Pittsburgh batters, leading the Bucs to adopt a new team celebration.

After years of the Dude, Where’s My Car-inspired Zoltan, the Pirates unveiled their homage to Daniel Bryan’s “YES! YES! YES!” chant following Neil Walker’s second home run of the evening.


Repoz Posted: April 16, 2014 at 12:48 PM | 52 comment(s)
  Beats: pirates

Monday, April 07, 2014

Perrotto: Taillon to undergo Tommy John surgery

One of the ball-of-fire Pirate announcers said that…“30% of pitchers today get Tommy John surgery and in the future all pitchers will have it done.”

Jameson Taillon won’t be joining the Pirates as a midseason reinforcement to their starting rotation.

In fact, the organization’s top pitching prospect won’t even be in the Pirates’ rotation at the start of next season.

The 22-year-old right-hander will undergo Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery that will force him to miss the entire season and possibly up to 18 months. The Pirates had planned to have Taillon begin the season at Class AAA Indianapolis with an eye on promoting him at some point during the summer.

Dr. David Altcheck will perform the surgery at a date to be determined at the New York Hospital for Special Surgery. Taillon was examined by three different orthopedic surgeons and all recommended surgery because of a partial tear in the ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow.

Taillon, 22, began feeling pain in his elbow with two weeks remaining in spring training after being assigned by the Pirates to their minor league camp. Doctors prescribed two weeks of rest but Taillon again felt pain when he tried to throw again.

While Taillon does not have a fully torn ligament, Altchek felt it was compromised to the point where surgery was necessary.

“This was more of an acute injury and that’s where the ligament’s been compromised,” Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said. “Probably felt it more on one pitch than anything else but it wasn’t like a clear rupture of the ligament where it’s a no-brainer to have Tommy John. The ligament was compromised.

“The course of action was a conservative, aggressive rehab treatment. But his symptoms just didn’t get better. He and we felt that it was best to go ahead and have the surgery now.”

Repoz Posted: April 07, 2014 at 04:49 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: pirates

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Pirates notebook: No word yet on Taillon’s elbow exam | TribLIVE

Is there something in the water?

Jim Furtado Posted: April 03, 2014 at 01:58 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: elbow, injuries, pirates

Friday, March 28, 2014

WSJ: Deee-fense: Baseball’s Big Shift Playing the field suddenly is becoming a sophisticated science

Baseball’s approach to defense, long unchanged except for the gloves getting bigger, is undergoing the most radical change in strategy since the Reconstruction Era. Defensive shifting, which started as a trend several years ago, is becoming epidemic. Major League teams “shifted” 8,134 times last season, compared with just 2,357 in 2011. [...]

Last season, the Pirates “shifted,” meaning they had three infielders on one side of second base or in significantly nontraditional positions, 494 times, compared with 105 in 2012. [...]

The Pirates defense “saved” 77 runs in all, or 77 runs better than an average defense, third-most in Major League Baseball.The Pirates also finished above .500 and made the playoffs for the first time since 1992. The Boston Red Sox shifted 478 times in 2013, compared with 199 in 2012. Those shifts saved the Red Sox 15 runs during the course of the season, second-most in baseball. They won the World Series. (The Rays were first in runs saved by shifts.) [...]

Still, not everyone is on board. The St. Louis Cardinals, the game’s model franchise of late, shifted infielders just 107 times last season, about 50% more than 2012, but nothing on the scale of the Orioles (595 shifts), Rays (556 shifts) or Brewers (538 shifts).


bobm Posted: March 28, 2014 at 09:20 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: brewers, cardinals, orioles, pirates, rays, red sox, shift

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Tech-savvy Pirates testing a new secret weapon this spring | TribLIVE

Or how much can Russell Martin eat?

This spring the Pirates are experimenting with sports science technology. Prior to and during games this exhibition season, some Pirates are wearing Zephyr workload monitoring devices. Under select players’ jerseys is a tight-fitting, compression shirt, which has a black, circular, detachable electronic device — about the size of a quarter — attached near the center of the chest. The device collects data from a sensor that records players’ heartbeats and energy consumption. The device’s most noticeable features are blinking green and red lights.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 20, 2014 at 07:33 AM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: pirates

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Russell Martin: Replacing me with McCann was ‘expensive mistake’

Russell’s paradox…a new angle.

“It becomes an expensive mistake, no question,” Martin told The Post before the Pirates-Yankees game at McKechnie Field was canceled by rain on Monday. “They can’t turn back the clock. They went and got a good guy who, offensively, puts up better numbers than I have and so costs a lot of money. I love McCann. They got a good one.”

McCann’s numbers slipped last year, but the Yankees are confident his left-handed swing will fit perfectly at Yankee Stadium. The 30-year-old catcher had an OPS of .796 with Atlanta a year ago, while Martin finished at .703.

And while Martin, 31, says he doesn’t dwell on his departure from the Yankees, he can’t help but think of what might have been.

“Personally, I thought it was a mistake,” Martin said. “There are no hard feelings. I definitely didn’t feel like it was in the general manager’s hands at that point. I always believed [Brian] Cashman and [assistant GM Billy] Eppler and the coaching staff did want me back. I had some presence and a good impact on the team. But the money doesn’t come from them and I felt at the time, they had different priorities and I wasn’t at the top of the list.”

Any hope the Yankees had of reaching ownership’s goal of $189 million was foiled by the failure of any of the organization’s young talent to perform at the major league level. That forced them to go after costly free agents to replenish their lineup and pitching staff this past offseason — additions Martin applauded.

“I think the smart move is not to repeat a mistake,” Martin said. “I think they paid the price for not acquiring an everyday catcher — or keeping one — and they went and got a good one this year.”

Repoz Posted: March 18, 2014 at 06:35 AM | 97 comment(s)
  Beats: pirates, yankees

Monday, March 17, 2014

Nieman Storyboard: Annotation Tuesday! Roger Angell and the pitcher with a major-league case of the yips

After almost 40 years, Roger Angell looks back on the making of one of his classic essays.

After giving up a home run to the Reds’ second batter of the day, Joe Morgan, which was hit off a first-pitch fastball, Blass readjusted his plans and went mostly to a big, slow curve, causing the Reds to hit innumerable rainmaking outfield flies, and won 5-1. I can still recall how Blass looked that afternoon–his characteristic, feet-together stance at the outermost, first-base edge of the pitching rubber, and then the pitch, delivered with a swastika-like scattering of arms and legs and a final lurch to the left–and I also remember how I kept thinking that at any moment the sluggers of the Big Red Machine would stop overstriding and overswinging against such unintimidating deliveries and drive Blass to cover.

Just read it.

AndrewJ Posted: March 17, 2014 at 07:45 PM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: long reads, pirates, roger angell, writing worth reading

Kovacevic: This has to be Year of the Bat

Just don’t expect Stewart’s Year of the Cat-cher (0-13 this spring)

Barring more bruises and welts, then, the best way – maybe the only way – for these Pirates to achieve their goal of exceeding last season’s performance is for this to be the Year of the Bat.

I’m not sure that’s possible, but I am sure of this: Each individual still has room between his head and his personal ceiling.

As Clint Barmes put it, “And I don’t think there’s a guy in here, even Cutch, who can’t improve.”

Go right through the order: Marte’s .343 OBP would move into a more acceptable leadoff range with a better eye than he showed in walking only 25 times in 510 at-bats. Russell Martin had a terrific eye but not enough solid contact with a .226 average. Andrew McCutchen was MVP, of course, but even he “didn’t have his career year just yet,” Clint Hurdle correctly observed. Pedro Alvarez’s 36 home runs drowned out his 186 strikeouts, but a drop in the latter would be welcome. Walker had a down year overall, in large part because he forgot how to hit right-handed. The right-field platoon of Jose Tabata/Travis Snider and first-base platoon of Gaby Sanchez/Andrew Lambo can do better. There’s more to be had from Jordy Mercer way down at No. 8, too.

“Oh, for sure,” Mercer said. He batted .285 with eight home runs in 333 at-bats but walked only 22 times. “I’m definitely looking to get on base more.”

Repoz Posted: March 17, 2014 at 04:50 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: pirates

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Art of Pitching: Mastering the Sinkerball

My original idea for this story was a simple article discussing how Cumpton was getting advice from Morton and was working on improving his sinker. Add in some numbers from Cumpton last year, and it would be an easy story that I could file away as I tried to get ahead during the early weeks of Spring Training. But after talking with both players, I quickly realized that there was so much I didn’t know about the sinker, and about what players discuss when they’re talking to each other about grips. After over a dozen interviews with nine players and coaches over the last month, I realized how complex something as simple as a sinkerball pitch could be.

Really good technical article about the sinker from Pirates Prospects.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Castrovince: Bucs live by defensive analysis

More to the point, the 2013 season, at large, proved the merits of moving guys around. No Major League team, according to Baseball Info Solutions, used defensive shifts more than the Pirates last season, and, ergo, the Buccos’ internal data suggests that they completed more plays “out of position” than anybody and were one of the most efficient defensive teams in the league.

This was the method by which the Pirates maximized the impact of their pitching staff and overcame an offense that, unlike any other postseason club, ranked in the lower-third in the Majors in runs per game.

“It’s a huge reason,” said Hurdle, “why we won the amount of games that we won without getting the kind of offensive support that teams that won the same number of games had.”

And the on-field shifts are an extension of an organizational shift that took place shortly after Huntington arrived in 2007. Huntington and Co. wanted to find both a statistical analyst and a computer architect to build a new system for player evaluation.

“We ended up finding them in the same guy,” Huntington said with a laugh.

That guy is Dan Fox, a former computer programmer and Baseball Prospectus writer who arrived in 2008 and, over time, has married the scientific and the strategic into a tangible whole.

When the word “rudimentary” was used to describe the Pirates’ analytics department before Fox came aboard, Fox laughed.

“If,” said Fox, “by ‘rudimentary,’ you mean ‘nobody,’ then yes.”

...Getting the Major League staff on board was a credit to Hurdle, who arrived in 2011 and was equally willing to embrace new ideas.

“It gave me an excellent opportunity to put into play what I share with the men all the time—to be open-minded, use your eyes, use your ears,” Hurdle said. “When we have the skill set of the people in the organization that we have, why not take your ego and kick it to the door? Listen to what they have to say, visually go over the information, the analytical work that’s been done, look for a statistical advantage and if it makes sense, put it into play and trust it.”

Thanks to FG.

Repoz Posted: February 22, 2014 at 10:15 AM | 48 comment(s)
  Beats: pirates, sabermetrics

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Perrotto: Q&A with Clint Hurdle

Clint Hurdle just moved ahead of Jewel Winklemeyer Ens in my book.

Q. You played in the 1970s and 1980s and are more of an “old school” baseball person while the Pirates use advanced statistics and quantitative analysis to help in much of their decision making. How have you been able to adjust?

A: You break down the employees and I’m one of the older men in the building. Tradition can be wonderful, but it can also be a vision killer. I was kind of that guy.

As I explain it to my players just so they understand what I’m trying to become to help them, I played in an era where a hard groundball up the middle was a base hit nine out of 10 times. Now it might be a base hit two out of 10 times (because of defensive shifting). So if the information is there, it’s real, it plays out, you’re really not doing the best job you can to help your team win if you’re not paying attention to it.

We have some very gifted people on that third floor at PNC Park that do some remarkable work and tactically give us a very competitive edge as far as I’m concerned. I need to listen to them.”

Q: It was 36 years ago this month that you were on the cover of Sports Illustrated and labeled as “this year’s phenom” prior to your rookie season with the Kansas City Royals. What do you think when you see that cover?

“To get past just the initial shock at how young I looked and how long my hair was, I think it’s nice to take a step back. If you can take a step back and look at the picture and realize where you are now. It’s gap analysis. What was I thinking there? What am I thinking now? Where am I now? And look at the space and time that’s been covered.

I’ve been fortunate that I’ve had people in my life that have really helped me along that journey. It’s been a heck of a ride. I am the same guy in some respects, but I’m not even close to being the same guy in a lot of others. We all look to get better and improve.

From that standpoint, I probably get reminded of it more than most because I’m still asked to sign three or four of those covers about every week. They keep showing up. I don’t know if they keep making them or they just keep showing up.”

Repoz Posted: February 09, 2014 at 07:39 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: pirates, sabermetrics

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Schoenfield: The 10 worst mascots ever

1. Crazy Crab (Giants)
2. Chief Noc-a-Homa (Braves)
3. Original Pirate Parrot (Pirates)
4. Twinkie the Loon (Twins)
5. Charlie-O (A’s)
6. Ribbie and Roobarb (White Sox)
7. Bernie Brewer (Brewers)
8. Dandy (Yankees)
9. Junction Jack (Astros)
10. Rootin’ Tootin’ Ranger (Rangers)

Friday, January 10, 2014

Antonio Álvarez estará al frente del Ministerio del Deporte

There aren’t any English-language sources on this that I’ve found, so here’s a link to El Nacional. The upshot is that former Pirates outfielder Tony Alvarez (who goes by Antonio these days) was just chosen as Venezuela’s new Minister of Sport.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Beyond the Box Score: A.J. Burnett’s career-saving sinker

On a FIP-level, only 11 other 36-year-old starting pitchers have ever mustered a lower FIP than the 2.80 mark Burnett had in 2013 (190 innings minimum). Only five have ever posted a lower FIP-.  Finally, only one other starter has ever struck out batters at a higher clip. I could drop an “but wait, there’s more” line on you, but the point is already clear enough: Burnett’s 2013 season winds up in some darn good territory.

Trying to pin down just a single reason for Burnett’s resurgence is difficult because it’s a mixture of a handful of factors. But we’ll focus on one of the bigger themes, and that’s his increased usage of the sinker since joining the Pirates via trade in February 2012.

bobm Posted: December 28, 2013 at 06:29 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: a. j. burnett, pirates, pitching

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Posnanski: 100 Best Baseball Players, #73 Arky Vaughan

I only know Arky Vaughan because of the time I spent here on BTF. He’s still a top 5 shortstop of all time, and he even has a great baseball name. He really did get the short end of the fame stick, but it seems from what we know about him that he would be perfectly OK with that. I also took the Sporcle Hall of Fame quiz, and got 95 of the 237 players. I recognized another 60 or so (including some that I knew a ton about but didn’t have the name come to me while taking the quiz, like Stan friggin Musial). I guess that makes me somewhere between a type 3 and a type 4.

Somewhere in my files, I have this dead project I once worked on. The idea was to break up the players in the Hall of Fame into different ranks. That’s not original, I realize, except that these levels had almost nothing to do with how good the player was, how many home runs he hit, how many strikeouts he had. These levels were based entirely on recognition.

That is to say:

1 star Hall of Famer: A complete non-baseball fan would have heard of him.
2 star Hall of Famer: A nominal baseball fan would have heard of him.
3 star Hall of Famer: A moderate baseball fan would have heard of him.
4 star Hall of Famer: An intense baseball fan would have heard of him.
5 star Hall of Famer: Only Keith Olbermann has heard of him.

I have different people in mind to determine each level. At level one, for instance, was my late grandfather who every morning would proudly get the newspaper, carefully remove the sports section and then stuff it into a garbage can. I cannot be sure, but I suspect my grandfather had heard of Babe Ruth, Jackie Robinson and Lou Gehrig (mostly because of the disease). It is not entirely out of the question, though, that even these three eluded his sphere of knowledge. My grandfather was a brilliant man who read constantly and in five languages. He worked relentlessly to know as little as he could about sports.

At Level 2, I had my wife, Margo, who likes baseball — she actually took a history of baseball class in college one year and got a solid B — but does not particularly follow the details. She would not know, for instance, that Houston is now in the American League or who that young baseball player is in the Subway commercials (“Mike Trout? Is he good?”). But she will surprise you now and again with something picked up along the way about Walter Johnson or Rod Carew and she has a working knowledge of most of the big players. She could probably name 30 or 40 Hall of Famers if pressed, maybe even a few more. She has already made her opinion known that I rated Tony Gwynn way too low.

At Level 3, I used my buddy Pop Warner who is a baseball fan and can speak with some authority about pretty much ever great players of our lifetimes, which would encompass the past 40 or so years. Before that, he would have certain knowledge of some of the bigger names — Feller, Williams, DiMaggio, Mantle, Foxx, Greenberg, Cobb, Paige, Walter Johnson etc. — but might not know some great players like Paul Waner or Harry Heilmann or Eddie Plank. I don’t have those files anywhere nearby, but I think I figured that there were 60 some players Pop would be able to say something about, another 25 or 30 he might be able to recognize as baseball players, and the rest, well, no chance.

For the record:

There are 165 everyday players in the Hall of Fame.
There are 72 pitchers.
There are 27 executives.
There are 21 managers, four pioneers and 10 umpires.

So even my buddy Pops would not come close to knowing HALF the people in the Hall of Fame. If you took out the executives, pioneers, managers, Negro Leaguers and the pre-1900 guys he probably STILL wouldn’t know half.

Level 4 would be my buddy Vac, who has written a couple of fantastic historical sports books, heavy on the baseball, and he has a great sense of baseball history. He would have a working knowledge of 150-plus people in the Hall and at least a passing knowledge on two or three dozen more. I still think i could stump him on 30 or 40 Hall of Famers though.

Anyway, this was the fun way I was going to break down the Hall of Fame. And, there WAS some logic to the way the players sorted out. Sure, there were a few players who were probably more famous than they were excellent, and a few players who were more excellent than they were famous. But mostly it made sense.

Except for one. One player really broke the experiment. That was Arky Vaughan.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Schoenfield: Why the Pirates are likely to decline in 2014

I didn’t want to have to write this post. After all, I didn’t have a specific rooting interest outside of my lousy hometown team, and like many fans, I fell a little bit in love with the Pittsburgh Pirates and their rise to prominence this past season after years of misery and losing. Who doesn’t enjoy a good underdog story? …

Every playoff team believes it will return the next season. Maybe it changes the roster; maybe it goes with the same group. Either way, it will be back. …

The 2013 Pirates allowed 577 runs—the third-lowest total in the National League since 2008, behind only those 2011 Phillies and the 2013 Braves. That in itself isn’t a sign of worse things to come: The 2010 Giants allowed 583 runs and then 578 in 2011; the 2012 Reds allowed 588 and then 589; the 2012 Dodgers allowed 597 runs and then 582.

But the Pirates don’t have a Clayton Kershaw on their staff. What they have are some question marks:

  Francisco Liriano: 16-8, 3.02 ERA in 161 innings. He’s always had the talent but has had injuries and control issues throughout his career. From 2009 to 2012, he posted a 4.85 ERA. He cut his walk rate from five per nine innings in 2011 and 2012 to 3.5 in 2013. Can he do that again?

  A.J. Burnett: 10-11, 3.30 ERA in 191 innings. He’s had two solid seasons in Pittsburgh but is now a free agent and still unsigned. He has said he wants to return, but the Pirates have signed Edinson Volquez as a backup plan. The same Edinson Volquez who was the worst regular starter in the majors in 2013 and hasn’t had an ERA under 4.00 since 2008.

  Jeff Locke: 10-7, 3.52 ERA in 166 innings. Locke came out of nowhere to make the All-Star team, but his low strikeout rate pointed to the possibility that his first half was a fluke. Sure enough, he had a 6.15 ERA after the All-Star break. He doesn’t have great stuff, relying heavily on a 90 mph sinking fastball. Who is the real Jeff Locke?

  Charlie Morton: 7-4, 3.26 ERA in 116 innings. The Pirates just signed him to a three-year, $21 million contract even though he’s entering his age-30 season and has never pitched more than 171 2/3 innings in a season.

  The bullpen: 30-20, 2.89 ERA, 55 saves (second in majors), 15 blown saves (fifth-fewest). The bullpen was brilliant while also throwing the fourth-most innings in the majors. The Pirates had the third-best bullpen ERA in the majors behind the Atlanta Braves and Kansas City Royals—which ranked 29th and 28th in the majors in innings. It was a remarkable season by the Pittsburgh relievers, one that will be difficult to repeat.

JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: December 17, 2013 at 12:16 PM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: pirates, regression

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Video: Andrew McCutchen Proposed To His Girlfriend On “The Ellen Show”

This whole thing was pretty damn sweet, and it was made all the better by the presence of a sweet-ass top hat. Now, do you have a mom? She probably wants to see this.

eddieot Posted: December 11, 2013 at 04:00 PM | 37 comment(s)
  Beats: andrew mccutchen, mvp, pirates

Yahoo Sports: Pirates sign RHP Charlie Morton to 3yr/$21 million extension

Solid deal, given the current market.

The Pittsburgh Pirates signed right-hander Charlie Morton to a three-year, $21 million contract extension Wednesday that could be worth up to $30 million, betting on the 30-year-old to continue a successful return from Tommy John surgery and hedging against the increasing price of starting pitching, sources told Yahoo Sports.

Morton’s extension represents the biggest deal given out at an otherwise-slow Winter Meetings and the largest for a pitcher in Pirates franchise history. He returned from reconstructive elbow surgery in June and posted a career-best 3.26 ERA over 20 starts and 116 innings, leading starters with a 62.9 percent groundball rate, the second-highest mark for any starter over the last five seasons.

“The most important part of this deal and the reason why this deal got done is Charlie wanted to remain a Pirate and considers himself a Pirate,” said Morton’s agent, Andrew Lowenthal of Jet Sports Management, who confirmed the deal to Yahoo Sports. “He loves the city. He loves the fans. The team stuck by him. This is Charlie’s way of being loyal to the organization. The contract is a win-win.”

Esoteric Posted: December 11, 2013 at 02:37 PM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: pirates, pittsburgh

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Rockies To Sign Justin Morneau

In the tradition of “Dumping Doug Fister So You Can Afford Joe Nathan” comes “Dumping Dexter Fowler So You Can…”

The Rockies have agreed to sign Justin Morneau to a two-year deal worth roughly $13MM, according to Jon Heyman of (on Twitter).

Morneau hit .259/.323/.411 with 17 homers in 2013, a slash line is a slight improvement over that of a league-average hitter, and his .152 isolated power mark is also slightly above the league average of .146.

The District Attorney Posted: December 04, 2013 at 12:12 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: free agents, justin morneau, pirates, rockies, transactions

Monday, December 02, 2013

Bucs prospect Chambers dies at 24 - Pittsburgh’s 2009 third-round pick passes away in his sleep

“All of us at the Pittsburgh Pirates are shocked and saddened by Evan’s sudden passing in his sleep this past weekend,” Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said. “Beyond being just a talented ballplayer, Evan was a great teammate and a quiet leader who went about his craft as a professional every day.

“Off the field, Evan loved making a difference in the community, and often dedicated a lot of his time working with children in the communities in which he played. Our heartfelt sympathies and prayers go out to his family for this unimaginable loss. He was far too young. He will be missed.”

Monday, November 25, 2013

Bucs acquire Decker, Mikolas from Padres

The Pirates on Monday traded outfield prospect Alex Dickerson to the Padres in exchange for outfielder Jaff Decker and right-hander Miles Mikolas. In a corresponding move to make room for the pair on the club’s 40-man roster, the Pirates designated Garrett Jones and righty Kyle McPherson for assignment.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Baseball America: 2014 Pittsburgh Pirates Top 10 Prospects

As we used to say…”Waiss wasn’t and never will be!”


1. Gregory Polanco, of
2. Jameson Taillon, rhp
3. Tyler Glasnow, rhp
4. Austin Meadows, of
5. Nick Kingham, rhp
6. Alen Hanson, ss
7. Josh Bell, of
8. Reese McGuire, c
9. Harold Ramirez, of
10. Luis Heredia, rhp

Top prospects such as outfielder Gregory Polanco and righthanders Jameson Taillon and Nick Kingham appear close to big league-ready.

The Pirates also have a wave of talent at the lower levels, such as outfielders Josh Bell and Harold Ramirez and righthander Luis Heredia. And after failing to sign their first-rounder in 2012, they had two selections among the first 14 picks in 2013 and landed a pair of blue-chip high school players in outfielder Austin Meadows and catcher Reese McGuire. Justifiably, the Pirates believe their farm system ranks with anyone’s in the game.

Huntington inherited one of the least-talented organizations in baseball. The Pirates lacked quality players at the major league level and also had a weak farm system. He took on a major rebuilding job, and Nutting showed a great amount of patience in his GM as he allowed Huntington to survive a 105-loss season in 2010, his third full year on the job.

Repoz Posted: November 18, 2013 at 12:48 PM | 42 comment(s)
  Beats: pirates

Friday, November 15, 2013

Gene Collier: It’s the thrills that make the MVP

Just as Collier’s is embracing a new generation…Gene Collier goes and introduces “TAR — thrills above replacement”.

Endemic to baseball’s new age of advanced metrics is the hard truth that any modern mathlete can deal you a dozen numbers that demonstrate why Andrew McCutchen is the Most Valuable Player in the National League today.

And a dozen more for why Paul Goldschmidt should have been the MVP of the National League.

And a dozen more for why Yadier Molina was most deserving among the top three vote-getters.

And somewhere out there along the algebraic continuum, I’m sure there’s a set of integers that strongly suggest the award should probably have gone to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who, for all that most of baseball knows, probably spent a couple of weeks in the bullpen of the Houston Astros this summer.

But here’s the number that best defines McCutchen, who on Thursday night became only the sixth Pirate to take the honor since its creation in 1931, and no, it’s not WAR, the wins above replacement figure we all respect so much for expressing exactly how far above average a player who is so obviously above average is. Exactly.

Cutch’s figure is not his WAR, it’s his TAR — thrills above replacement, and the number itself is incalculable. From the passionate baserunning to the circus act center field play to the jolt of his hot liners to the gap and beyond, the broad emotional impact of Andrew McCutchen on the Pirates, the city, the fan base, and the whole arc of 2013’s baseball narrative can’t be fully expressed.


Repoz Posted: November 15, 2013 at 06:17 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: pirates

Monday, November 11, 2013

Dave Parker on success, failure, fight of his life

Cobra…still spitting to all fields.

“I know when I was younger people use to want to come up to me and talk about being the best player in the game in the seventies. I said you’re doing the right thing if you want to know how good I am ask me cause I believe in my ability.”

He began his major league career with the Pittsburgh Pirates, taking over right field after the death of Pirates’ legend Roberto Clemente.

“I just went in trying to play within myself I had won three batting titles in the minor leagues. I felt like I could do the same things up here as Dave Parker not as the second Roberto Clemente,” Parker said.

...Despite his stellar career, the Baseball Hall of Fame has eluded him.

“It was frustrating because I know I was a great player. I knew I had my thumbprint on the game and I think it was all because of that 1985 drug trial that set me back with writers and possibly the general public,” Parker said. But baseball is supposed to be so forgiving and this is a forgiving country why didn’t they forgive me.”

He’ll know in one month if baseball is forgiving. The veteran’s committee votes on new Hall of Fame members.

“I stood accountable for I never pointed the finger at anybody else I thought that infringed on me getting into the hall a lot sooner.”

Repoz Posted: November 11, 2013 at 06:45 AM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: history, hof, pirates

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Anna Benson pleads guilty to attack on estranged husband.

MARIETTA, Ga. — Anna Benson has played many roles over the past 10 years — reality TV star, wife of former MLB pitcher Kris Benson, model — but her role on Tuesday morning as “Cobb County Jail Inmate L” was mostly one of whispering detachment.

The Chronicles of Reddick Posted: November 06, 2013 at 11:23 AM | 38 comment(s)
  Beats: mets, pirates

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