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Sunday, July 26, 2015

Burnett buckling of late | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

As A.J. Burnett sees it, a lack of execution led to his two subpar starts after the All-Star break. Too many pitches left over the plate, especially to left-handers. Simple issues to address, small tweaks he has made before.

His previous two outings stand out in sharp relief against his first-half performance, but Burnett cautioned against using that as a yardstick.

“You expect me to go out and do what I did the first half, you’re nuts,” he said after the Pirates lost to the Washington Nationals, 9-3, Saturday night at PNC Park. “I’m going to do everything I can, but that’s ridiculous numbers.”

Jim Furtado Posted: July 26, 2015 at 09:40 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: a.j. burnett, pirates

Sunday Notes: Tigers, Pillar, Pirates’ Bell, Correa, more | FanGraphs Baseball

David Laurila’s lastest. That’s L-A-U-R-I-L-I-A.

Carlos Correa is on the cusp of stardom at a young age. Two months shy of his 21st birthday, the Astros shortstop is hitting a precocious .292/.337/.532, with 21 extra-base knocks in 154 at bats.

According to manager A.J. Hinch, the youngster is attentive to a fault. After an at bat, or following a game, he’ll often seek “affirmation on what he sees versus what we see.”

“He’ll want to know that his load is on time,” elaborated Hinch. “He’ll want to see if the ball is borderline, in, out, up, down. He’ll want to know what we thought from the side. His front foot in his timing, how high his hands get, how high his load gets… that’s always a point of emphasis for him. He’s very mechanically sound, and very tuned in to his body and how his swing operates.”

Jim Furtado Posted: July 26, 2015 at 09:22 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: carlos correa, kevin pillar, notes, pirates, reds, tigers

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Pirates acquire Aramis Ramirez from Brewers | MLB.com

Twelve years after the Pirates traded him away, Aramis Ramirez is coming back to Pittsburgh.

The Bucs acquired Ramirez and cash considerations from the Brewers on Thursday in exchange for Minor League right-hander Yhonathan Barrios, providing a much-needed upgrade for the injury-ravaged left side of their infield.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 23, 2015 at 06:29 PM | 49 comment(s)
  Beats: brewers, pirates, trades

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Pirates can’t find way in ninth against Royals | MLB.com

I watched this live last night. What was the third base coach thinking? Down by three runs in the ninth and he sends Marte. Down three runs. In the 9th. Watch the video. (Sorry, it wasn’t available to embed.)

Trying to make it all right with another of their patented ambushes of a premier closer, the Bucs had Marte open the ninth with a single off Greg Holland and Kang followed with a smash over center fielder Lorenzo Cain’s head.

Cain to Alcides Escobar to Salvador Perez erased Marte.

 

Jim Furtado Posted: July 22, 2015 at 08:12 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: coaching, pirates, third base coach

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Pirates notebook: No clear alternative to Alvarez ... yet | TribLIVE

Alvarez is the only Pirates regular who has produced negative Wins Above Replacement (-0.4) — in part because of his defensive struggles. Pirates first basemen have combined for -1.4 WAR, ranking 29th in the majors.
On Friday, a routine groundball went under Alvarez’s glove for his 15th error of the season, the most by a first baseman since Prince Fielder committed 15 in 2011. By any measure, traditional or advanced, Alvarez ranks as the worst defensive first baseman in baseball this season.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 19, 2015 at 06:45 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: jung ho kang, pedro alvarez, pirates

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Numbers adding up in Pirates’ favor going into second half of season | TribLIVE

Travis Sawchik looks into the crystal ball.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 16, 2015 at 11:04 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: pirates

Tuesday, July 14, 2015


Todd Frazier Wins Home Run Derby at Home and at the Buzzer

Sabermetric people helped him make the All Stars too.

“It took a while for me to get over trying to strike everybody out,” Burnett said. “I still like my strikeouts, but use that two-seamer, man; let them beat it into the ground. My ground balls are back to where they used to be. That’s all it is, executing pitches. I haven’t found no fountain of youth. I haven’t done anything different. I’m just trying to keep the ball down and doing a better job of it.”

Jim Furtado Posted: July 14, 2015 at 06:55 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: a.j. burnett, pirates

Monday, July 13, 2015

Pirates notebook: ‘Extreme’ seller’s market expected at trade deadline | TribLIVE

What surprised the Pirates, and many industry observers, was the Tampa Bay Rays preferred a return of young, major league players. The Boston Red Sox also traded their ace, Jon Lester, for a major league player in Yoenis Cespedes prior to the deadline. Huntington said the focus of the sellers has again been on major league talent — not prospects — as the July 31st trade deadline approaches.

Why the change?

“It’s a seller’s market, so there are fewer teams that are looking to trade established major league players for prospects,” Huntington said. “The impatience of the industry. The expectation that you can turn an organization around in a year. Rather than (targeting) the best prospect in the system that may be in A-ball, teams are starting to look for the guy in Triple-A that might have an impact in a year or two.”

Jim Furtado Posted: July 13, 2015 at 08:20 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: pirates, trade deadline

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Video: Must C: J. Upton robs a home run | MLB.com

Jim Furtado Posted: July 08, 2015 at 07:19 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: andrew mccutchen, justin upton, padres, pirates

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

BLS: Gorkys Hernandez’s awful mistake on the bases nearly costs Pirates

Meh, Hernandez is no Ruben Rivera.

With the game tied 4-4 in the 14th inning, Hernandez made a base-running gaffe that nearly cost his team the game. After a one out single by Chris Stewart, Hernandez entered the game as a pinch runner. He did not do his job very well.

The next batter, Josh Harrison, sprayed a double to center, and that’s when things got confusing for Hernandez.

Center fielder Rajai Davis nearly got to the ball, diving at the last second. The ball deflected off Davis’ glove, but Hernandez didn’t see it.

Because of that, Hernandez turned around and attempted to run back to first base, thinking the ball had been caught. He touched second on his way back, but was then waved to keep going by Harrison.

On his way to third base, Hernandez did not retouch second. At first, it appeared no one noticed Hernandez’s gaffe. Eventually, someone on the Detroit Tigers figured it out.

Before throwing his next pitch, Tom Gorzelanny appealed to second base and Hernandez was called out. This was a crucial out in a tie game.

Fortunately for Hernandez, he was let off the hook. Harrison would come around to score on a Neil Walker double, and the Pirates held on for the 5-4 win.

JE (Jason) Posted: July 01, 2015 at 07:53 AM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: baserunning, gorkys herandez, pirates, tigers

Monday, June 15, 2015

Economics take toll on talent pool in MLB | TribLIVE

“We like two-sport athletes, and we absolutely covet three-sport athletes,” General Manager Neal Huntington said. “We think they are a much better athlete. We believe in our developmental system. We feel there is a little bit more ceiling.”

Jacoby Jones, a third-round pick in 2013, played outfield and second base at LSU. But the former prep football player has played shortstop in the Pirates’ system.

“The mobility, agility stuff, quick short-yardage stuff,” Jones said of football actions that help him at shortstop.

Jim Furtado Posted: June 15, 2015 at 06:23 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: amateur draft, pirates

Friday, June 05, 2015

Pirates starter Charlie Morton’s mechanics sound again at last, and the results prove it | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

If Morton pitches well this season, the Pirates may beat the Cardinals.

Jim Furtado Posted: June 05, 2015 at 09:13 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: charlie morton, pirates

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Study: Pittsburgh is America’s second best baseball city | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Pittsburgh was ranked the second-best city in the United States for baseball fans, according to a recent study by WalletHub, a web-based personal finance company.

The study rated 272 cities based upon 11 metrics split into two categories — “teams and performance” and “costs and fan engagement.” The study took into account MLB and college teams. The Pirates and the Pitt baseball team represented Pittsburgh in the study.

“There’s been rumblings for a couple years now if whether or not baseball is still the American pastime,” said WalletHub spokesperson Jill Gonzalez. “We just wanted to see where that is still true and really key in on the cities in which baseball is still alive and well.”

Pittsburgh placed second in the study, trailing only St. Louis. Cincinnati, Atlanta and Cleveland rounded out the top five.

Jim Furtado Posted: June 04, 2015 at 08:18 AM | 72 comment(s)
  Beats: fans, pirates

Monday, June 01, 2015

Column: Francisco Cervelli rises up for Pittsburgh Pirates

Somebody really likes Francisco Cervelli.

Jim Furtado Posted: June 01, 2015 at 05:54 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: francisco cervelli, pirates

Sunday, May 31, 2015


Thursday, May 28, 2015

Gene Collier: When it comes to playing baseball, Kang needs no interpreter | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

If Kang keeps playing well, he’ll help some Korean players (and their teams) get a lot of money.

Like Suzuki, Kang studied American pitchers feverishly before crossing the Pacific Ocean, and like Suzuki, his adjustments appear to have gone swimmingly.

“Girls,” he joked when asked his favorite thing about America. “No, the food. I like steak. I have nothing to complain about.”

Jim Furtado Posted: May 28, 2015 at 10:27 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: jung ho kang, korean baseball, pirates

Thursday, May 21, 2015

How has instant replay changed baserunning? - Bucs Dugout

As Brandon Phillips put it, the game changes and adjustments simply have to made. The keys for fielders today are simply to be more precise with their tags, and to make sure baserunners who should be called out are, in fact, called out.

“But now you have to make sure to try your best not to make any mistakes because people can reverse the call,” Phillips said. “So that is one that does cross everybody’s mind. They want to make sure that they do make things happen, that they make sure they do get that guy out.”

So, instant replay has changed the game in intended and perhaps some interestingly unintended ways. As Clint Hurdle succinctly summarized this new era of tag play replay: “There is no doubt it’s become more physical around the base. You got to get down there and stick your nose in there and stick with the play. Both sides.”

Jim Furtado Posted: May 21, 2015 at 11:03 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: baserunning, pirates, reds, rules of the game

Column: Isolating blame on Marte? Seriously? - DK on Pittsburgh Sports

Ouch.

Some Pirates are putting out all they’ve got.

Some Pirates are focused on putting the team first.

Some, but not all.

And if the people running this team, notably Clint Hurdle and Neal Huntington, aren’t seeing that at this point, then this whole ship is flying blind. Which is a far more frightening thought than being swept in two by the Twins or the 18-22 record that’s resulted.

Starling Marte has been the focal point, and he fully deserves it. His stroll to Mauer’s farcical three-run single Tuesday should have earned him much more than the day-after admonition Hurdle gave him before the game Wednesday.

In my eyes, Marte’s lapses always have been born of simply blanking out for whatever reason. He doesn’t have a lazy bone in his body. But the only way to address that focus is through hard action, as might have been evident by Marte responding with two doubles and an outfield assist Wednesday. The way Marte defiantly described to me late Tuesday night that he’d done nothing wrong … wow, that never should have happened. He should have been blistered before he touched the first step of the dugout.

Jim Furtado Posted: May 21, 2015 at 09:23 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: pirates, starling marte

Tuesday, May 19, 2015


“Big Data Baseball” A Big Hit – The Hardball Times

I’ve been waiting for this book. (Why did they wait so long?)

Jim Furtado Posted: May 19, 2015 at 06:53 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: book reviews, pirates, sabermetrics

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Maybe Phillies should follow Pirates’ roadmap for success

Theo? Even he can’t fast-forward an organization.

Analytics are great. And with the revolutionary data points being logged by MLB’s new Statcast system, the gap between the teams poised to make the best use of that information and the teams still struggling to catch up could widen significantly. But even the most proficient organizations can’t fast-forward through the rebuilding process. Unless they hire Theo Epstein.

Jim Furtado Posted: May 13, 2015 at 08:00 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: phillies, pirates

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Adam Bittner: Not yet time to give up on Josh Harrison, Jordy Mercer | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Harrison is a great super sub. The Pirates would maximize his value by using him in that role.

Jim Furtado Posted: May 12, 2015 at 08:37 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: jordy mercer, josh harrison, jung ho kang, pirates

Monday, May 11, 2015


Wednesday, May 06, 2015


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