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Jim Furtado
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Editor - Baseball Primer


Pirates Newsbeat

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Pirates’ young arms on mend after rash of Tommy John surgeries in 2015 | TribLIVE

Will Taillon and Glasnow live up to expectations?

The biggest boost will be the return of Jameson Taillon, who hasn’t pitched since an aborted, one-inning outing in the Arizona Fall League in 2013. Taillon, the second overall pick five years ago, had Tommy John surgery in April 2014 and hernia surgery in July.

Taillon, who will turn 24 next week, made it through Instructional League healthy and is expected to be full go at the start of spring training. He’ll anchor Indy’s rotation.

“Rehabbing the past two years was tough on Jameson,” Broadway said. “Now he can take a deep breath and clear his head. We’re hoping he can come in strong next year.”

Tyler Glasnow, who this year surpassed Taillon as the Pirates’ No. 1 prospect, also will begin the year at Indy after starting eight games there last season. Glasnow sat out a month at Double-A last season due to an ankle injury.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 08, 2015 at 10:01 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: pirates, prospects

Friday, November 06, 2015

Milwaukee - Baseball Prospectus: NL CENTRAL’S TOP-50 PROSPECTS

Baseball Prospectus breaks down the Top 50 by division.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 06, 2015 at 07:47 AM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: brewers, cardinals, cubs, pirates, prospects, reds

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Disappointment in Pittsburgh: How the Pirates Ditched Pittsburgh’s Negro Leagues Past

Article from Sport in American History. Also reposted at the New Pittsburgh Courier. Somehow the Pirates got away with destroying their permanent Negro leagues exhibit for the entire 2015 season with very little push-back from the Pittsburgh or baseball community. How does this happen?

This past spring, two statues depicting Negro leagues baseball legend Josh Gibson were on the move. In Washington D.C., the Nationals quietly relocated a Gibson statue along with two others to another section of their ballpark; in Pittsburgh, the Pirates tried to throw theirs away. Specifically, the Pirates gutted Legacy Square of its seven statues of Negro leagues ballplayers along with the associated interpretive panels. As Opening Day approached, the Pirates were set to destroy the statues after having already destroyed the large Legacy Square baseball bats. Purely by coincidence, Sean Gibson–great-grandson of Josh Gibson and Executive Director of the non-profit Josh Gibson Foundation–was offered a chance to rescue the statue of his great-grandfather. With insufficient storage or transportation, Gibson initially balked at the offer, instead suggesting the statues be redistributed throughout PNC Park, but once he realized the urgency of the situation, Gibson informed the Pirates that he would take the Josh Gibson statue–as well as the six others.

Legacy Square is technically still part of PNC Park of course, but it now looks very different, very empty, and very sad. Gone are the statues and the oversized bats, only to be replaced by simple banners depicting both Negro league and present-day Pittsburgh ballplayers. Further, speaking from personal experience, these banners are very easy to overlook. Legacy Square was originally designed to be a place to exclusively interpret and educate fans on Pittsburgh’s black baseball past, and that is quite simply no longer true.

What’s most shocking about the Pirates decision to purge local African-American history from PNC Park is that since the 1970s the Pirates have been leaders in embracing diversity within Major League Baseball (MLB). The Pirates were a bit slow to field a black ballplayer (1954, seven years after Jackie Robinson), but in 1971 the Pirates fielded the first all-minority starting lineup. So how does a franchise clearly aware of its past in a city with incredibly rich Negro league history simply remove the permanent exhibits of Legacy Square? Now that the Pirates season is officially over, perhaps the spotlight can be turned to these questions.

joshtothemaxx Posted: October 31, 2015 at 04:40 PM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: museum, negro leagues, pirates, pittsburgh pirates

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Arrieta-Cole, Objectively One of Best Playoff Matchups Ever | FanGraphs Baseball

It’s a big game. As much as I respect what the Pirates have accomplished, I must admit that I’m rooting for the Cubs.

The Arrieta-Cole matchup still sits comfortably in the top ten of dueling aces in winner-take-all games. Arrieta does have the edge in the matchup between the two pitchers, but the team with the better pitcher does not always win. In the 75 games in which one pitcher had at least a one-win WAR advantage, the better pitcher’s team posted a 44-31 record. It is probably a little unfair that a 97-win team and a 98-win team have to face off in a one-game playoff just to make the Division Series, but it has produced one of the greatest pitching matchups of all time.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 07, 2015 at 08:32 AM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, gerrit cole, jake arrieta, pirates

One Game, One Night: Winner Take All | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Yes, yes, I would. These games are must watch affairs. How often can you say that about the first round of the playoffs?

“You hope that the best teams wind up in the playoffs in a series that is fair, that people would deem fair, just as a fan,” starter Charlie Morton said shortly after the Pirates lost to the Cardinals, the definitive stroke in their relegation to a third consecutive wild-card game. “Do you really want to see two of the top three or four teams in all of baseball play a one-game playoff? No. And I’m not just saying that because we’re one of those teams, I’m saying that because it just doesn’t seem like, it just doesn’t seem right.”

Jim Furtado Posted: October 07, 2015 at 08:27 AM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, pirates, playoffs, wild card

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Toronto Blue Jays Big Favorites as 2015 MLB Postseason Begins

It begins again: Rational Pastime projections for the 2015 postseason. Tonight, the RP model has the Houston Astros as slight favorites over the New York Yankees. Were these teams evenly matched, the Yanks would be favored 54-46, thanks to home field advantage. However, my RP Score system believes that the Astros are a better team.

As for the rest of the playoffs, the model—which relies on the Log 5 equation and Matt Swarz’s numbers for home field advantage—picks the Toronto Blue Jays to win it all as nearly 2:1 favorites.

J-Doug Posted: October 06, 2015 at 04:19 PM | 32 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, blue jays, cardinals, cubs, dodgers, mets, pirates, playoffs, projections, rangers, royals, yankees

How Pittsburgh Pirates built playoff roster |

There is a line of thinking, probably prevalent among most baseball fans, that the Pittsburgh Pirates are a strictly homegrown operation. While there is an important core of players signed and developed entirely by the organization that has been vital to this extended stretch of success, the truth is if it weren’t for the trade market, the Pirates wouldn’t be headed to the postseason for the third year in a row.

“The reality of a small market is you have to be creative in finding talent everywhere,” Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said. “Our amateur scouts have done a nice job, our pro scouts have done a nice job. We’ve made some trades here and there. Our coaches and support staff have done a great job to help those players get better. It’s that collective effort—we look to add talent in any way we can.”

Jim Furtado Posted: October 06, 2015 at 02:56 PM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: pirates, playoffs

Friday, October 02, 2015

Grantland: Loving the Pirates Come Hell or High Water (or Arrieta)

We’ve known the likely outcome for weeks ... the Pirates have to play a one-game wild-card playoff against the Cubs, which means facing Jake Arrieta, which means certain and sudden death. Arrieta, who one-hit the Pirates last Sunday. Arrieta, who has given up four earned runs in the past nine weeks. Arrieta, whose name is wielded against Pirates fans like a curse. Arrieta, a synonym for cyanide ...

You don’t have to be a Pirates fan to think there’s something a little unfair about this.


Voodoo... Posted: October 02, 2015 at 06:11 PM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, cy young award, doom and gloom, pirates

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 9-24-2015

100 years ago yesterday, a Pirates legend said farewell. Pittsburgh Gazette Times, September 24, 1915:

With Manager Fred Clarke playing in his old position, left field, for half of the game, the Pirates defeated the Boston Braves in an interesting contest yesterday. Fred went in to play at the request of many loyal fans and admirers and the day was observed in his honor, Mayor Armstrong taking a part in the ceremonies. Going to bat twice, Clarke got one hit, the veteran hitting the ball hard on both attempts.
Clarke was greeted by loud and long outburst of cheering and hand-clapping from all parts of the spacious field.

Clarke was 42 years old and hadn’t made more than an occasional cameo appearance since 1911. He spent his entire career with the Louisville/Pittsburgh franchise*, racked up 2678 hits, batted .312 lifetime, and as a manager won 1602 games, four pennants, and a World Series title. Easy to understand why the fans loved him so much.

(* - The Louisville thing is kind of a weird situation. The Colonels and Pirates essentially merged before the 1900 season as part of the National League’s contraction/reorganization. The Pirates already existed, so they and Louisville sort of aren’t the same franchise, but sort of are.)

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: September 24, 2015 at 10:58 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, fred clarke, history, pirates

Walker has 6 RBIs as Pirates clinch postseason |

They did it again. Can they get past the Wild Card game this year?

Jim Furtado Posted: September 24, 2015 at 08:06 AM | 48 comment(s)
  Beats: pirates, playoffs

30 for 30 Shorts: The Pittsburgh Drug Trials

Cocaine is a helluva drug.

Pittsburgh was the center of the sports world in 1979, home to the Super Bowl champion Steelers and the World Series champion Pirates. The Pirates and their rallying cry of “We Are Family” brought a renewed sense of pride to the city. But as it turned out, the family was dangerously dysfunctional, with many members succumbing to the temptation of cocaine and dragging baseball into a nationwide scandal. This film revisits that era and paints a picture of how, by 1985, easy drugs and fast nights brought the national pastime from the diamond to a federal courtroom.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Pine Belt Major League Baseball player dies

Walter Young Junior played for the Baltimore Orioles in 2005, and since 2011 he worked as a resource officer for the Lamar County School District.
Young was 35 years old.

Much, much too soon.

Young hit the longest home run I’ve ever seen in person. I’ll never forget him.

Monday, September 21, 2015

How the success of the Pittsburgh Pirates can be a model for the Rockies - The Denver Post

The Rockies might not be able to follow the Pirates exact path. Coors Field presents its own unique problems.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 21, 2015 at 05:55 AM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: clint hurdle, general managers, pirates, rockies

Pirates dress up as superheroes in greatest baseball-themed comic book crossover of all-time |

Two lame Ninja Turtles? Really?

Jim Furtado Posted: September 21, 2015 at 05:49 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: pirates

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Despite hometown ties, Walker realizes time with Pirates likely nearing the end | TribLIVE

It sounds like the decision has already been made.

Everyone in the clubhouse can do the math.

“It’s going to be hard for (Walker) not to be here next year, for him not to be in a Pirates uniform,” shortstop Jordy Mercer said. “It’s going to be weird not to have him around. I hope they’re going to do whatever they can to bring him back.”

General manager Neal Huntington knows what kind of reaction to expect from fans when Walker leaves.

“I anticipate it will be incredibly negative because he is a hometown guy and because he’s a good player,” Huntington said. “I’ll be accused of being tone deaf. But we’re not going to shy away from controversial decisions that we believe are the right ones for the organization. ... That’s the nature of the beast in this industry. It’s a bit more challenging when you lose that type of player who has hometown ties.”

Jim Furtado Posted: September 20, 2015 at 09:29 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: neil walker, pirates

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Pirates notebook: Kang’s injury prompts Hurdle to suggest re-examining slide rules | TribLIVE

Jung Ho Kang was injured because he didn’t clear the bag properly.

“By definition, they are legal slides (at second). Is there a way we can change the definition of a legal slide to possibly ensure better safety?” Hurdle said. “We always want to try to find a way to ensure safety to the best of our abilities without taking away from the game. I think we’ve been able to do that at home plate. The amended rule to home plate (collisions) has turned out to be excellent for the game. Those crashes at home plate have gone away.
“(Garagiola) was great in saying, ‘If we were going to write a rule today, what would be some of the thoughts you would have? … It’s a starting point that I know will have traction and momentum moving forward.”

Jim Furtado Posted: September 19, 2015 at 08:17 AM | 42 comment(s)
  Beats: clint hurdle, jung ho kang, pirates

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Jung Ho Kang out for season after takeout slide

This stinks.

Pittsburgh Pirates infielder Jung Ho Kang will need season-ending surgery after a takeout slide at second base against the Chicago Cubs earlier on Thursday. He will miss the remainder of the season, as first reported by Dejan Kovacevic of

The play in question was a double play ground ball to second base in the top of the first inning by Anthony Rizzo. Chris Coghlan slid hard into the shortstop Kang as he turned the double play. Kang was removed from the game and had to be helped off the field.

Kang had surgery Thursday night on a displaced lateral tibia plateau fracture and lateral mensical repair, the Pirates announced. He is expected to return to competition in six to eight months.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 17, 2015 at 11:13 PM | 103 comment(s)
  Beats: injuries, jung ho kang, pirates

Theo Epstein says he proposed making MLB’s Wild Card a best-of-three series | For The Win

Don’t like having your season decided by one game? Win your division. I greatly prefer this setup to the old one where the only drawback was one less playoff game.

And so the Cubs, even if they end up with a better record against better competition than the majority of division winners, will likely see their season reduced to a single road game in Pittsburgh. And the Pirates, for owning the second-best record in the sport despite playing the Cardinals 18 times, risk seeing their postseason end after only one game if the Cubs happen to take it.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 17, 2015 at 07:55 PM | 67 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, pirates, playoffs, wild card


Meanwhile, the Dodgers traded for Johnson, Mat Latos and Wood. Latos still hasn’€™t won a game, and Wood had pitched poorly before Wednesday night. Johnson’€™s been a disaster.

Oh, and the Dodgers are 7 ½ games ahead of the Giants.

Their big moves didn’€™t work at all, and all they’€™ve done is run away and hide.

Which should be the real takeaway here.

The Mets would have a big lead without Cespedes, the Royals without Zobrist; granted, both teams will probably be thrilled to have their prizes next month, not that either player is guaranteed to continue his surge for another few weeks.

Of all those 36 players, it seems to me that only three have made a real difference so far: Price and Tulowitzki with the Blue Jays, and maybe Happ with the Pirates. Without Happ, the Pirates’€™ lead over the Cubs in the wild-card standings might have vanished by now. Without Price and Tulowitzki, the Blue Jays probably wouldn’€™t own a semi-comfortable lead over the Yankees.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

How the Pirates stole Roberto Clemente from the Dodgers

Holy cow, Clemente next to Willie Mays in the outfield?

The Dodgers signed Clemente 15 months after Campanis first saw him. By then, the Giants, Braves, Red Sox and Cardinals had also expressed interest, according to David Maraniss’ biography “Clemente.” The Braves were serious bidders, reportedly offering the largest bonus ($25,000 to $35,000). But Maraniss writes that Clemente wanted to play in New York, where he had friends and relatives in the growing Puerto Rican community there. From Maraniss’ book:

That left the Giants and Dodgers. Any signing over $6,000 would designate Clemente as a bonus player, meaning a team would have to protect him on the major league roster or face losing him in a supplemental draft after his first year in the minors. The Giants, apparently concluding that Clemente needed at least a year of seasoning, kept their offer below the bonus line. Their scout, Tom Sheehan, hoped that Clemente would sign for a $4,000 bonus and begin in Class-A ball in Sioux City, Iowa.

It wasn’t enough. The Dodgers signed Clemente for a $10,000 bonus and a first-year salary of $5,000. Maraniss writes that the Dodgers had motives beyond just Clemente’s talent: They simply wanted to keep him away from the Giants, where he would team with Willie Mays in the outfield. The Dodgers knew he needed some time in the minors, as well. Dodgers general manager Buzzie Bavasi would later say, “It was a cheap deal for us any way you figure it.” Indeed, as Maraniss notes, another reason it was cheap is that white bonus babies were receiving bonus payments six times higher on average than black and Latin players.

5 MLB teams with offseason holes and in-season jackpots -

Getting lucky doesn’t hurt.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 16, 2015 at 10:08 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: blue jays, diamondbacks, giants, pirates, rangers

Statcast examines Tuesday’s top plays |

That rare 9-3 groundout.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 16, 2015 at 06:40 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, pirates

Monday, September 14, 2015

Sullivan: After disappointment in Philly, Cubs set for showdown in Pittsburgh

Only three weeks remain in the regular season, and the Cubs are hoping to earn home-field advantage for the Oct. 7 wild-card game.

The Cubs will face Gerrit Cole on Tuesday in Game 1 of a doubleheader, while the Pirates will face Jake Arrieta on Wednesday. Cole and Arrieta are expected to face off if the teams face each other in the wild-card game.

Here’s to the Cubs pulling off a 2003 again and sweeping the Pirates.

McCoy Posted: September 14, 2015 at 10:30 AM | 39 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, pirates, playin

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Pirates, Marlins reportedly will play in Puerto Rico in 2016

Would be to honor Roberto Clemente.

Gamingboy Posted: September 13, 2015 at 01:38 PM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: marlins, pirates, puerto rico

Pirates notebook: Kang blazes trail for Korean hitters | TribLIVE

The 29-year-old, right-handed hitting Park hit a career-best 52 home runs last season.

“(Park) has much more power than I have,” Kang said through his interpreter.

How much power?

Without an interpreter Kang, whose English is improving, exclaimed: “Big power.”

Kang said he is “close” with Park. With the Pirates’ first-base situation muddled going into next season, will Kang lobby for a Park-Pirates pact if he is posted?

Kang did not answer. He smiled and shrugged, turning his palms toward the clubhouse ceiling.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 13, 2015 at 09:00 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: byung ho park, korean baseball, pirates

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