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Where have you gone, Andy Van Slyke? Mar 6, 2014
Since Gregory Polancos breakout in the Dominican Winter League, its been inevitable that Spring Training 2014 was going to include a debate amongst fan and media members about whether he should break camp with the Pirates. Its been equally inevitable that that debate will end with Polancos demotion to Indianapolis, coupled with an argument over whether or not the Pirates are truly dedicated to being a winning baseball team. Were barely a week into spring training games, and you can already see this discussion simmering. I got an earlful from a friend thats a Yankees fan about how insane the...
Where have you gone, Andy Van Slyke? Mar 5, 2014
When it comes to spring training and topics that may or may not matter, Charlie Mortons approach to left-handed hitters is definitely something worth keeping an eye on. Ever since Morton dropped his arm-slot and moved to his sinker-heavy approach in 2011, hes had a lot of trouble getting left-handed hitters out. The main reason for that is that hes never really been able to develop a third pitch to go with his sinker and breaking ball, which leaves him vulnerable to lefties. His elbow injury in 2012 didnt help a whole lot on this front; for much of 2011 he was still adjusting to his new...
Raise the Jolly Roger! Mar 5, 2014
Remember a week ago when we were kind of excited for spring training games to start? Yeah, they’re boring already. (But hey, the Pirates are in first place!) Part of that may because there aren’t a whole lot of roster battles going on in camp, and I think the main thing the Bucs want to […]
Where have you gone, Andy Van Slyke? Mar 3, 2014
In the 15+ months since the Pirates have signed Russell Martin, theres been plenty of Pirate-related discussions about pitch-framing, its actual value, if it can truly be quantified, etc. The Pirates trade for Chris Stewart and the subsequent immediate decision to put Stewart on the roster as the back-up catcher instead of Tony Sanchez have again started talks about pitch-framing and its true value to a baseball team. This morning at Baseball Prospectus, Harry Pavlidis and Dan Brooks -- the two guys whove turned Brooks Baseball into such an invaluable tool for stat-oriented baseball fans...
Over the Monster Mar 3, 2014
Carp could have a bigger role with another team, and two of those are checking him out this spring. Mike Carp is just a bench bat on the Red Sox, but there are teams he could be much more for. The Brewers and Pirates are two such clubs, as they are in need of help at first base, so it's not surprising to see the Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo report that both organizations will be scouting Carp during spring training. More: Pedro Martinez is the best, with photographic evidence The Pirates currently employ Gaby Sanchez as their primary first baseman, with Andrew Lambo on the bench as...
Where have you gone, Andy Van Slyke? Feb 28, 2014
In case youre not following todays Pirates/Blue Jays spring training game, the Pirates used Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon back-to-back in the first four innings today. Cole struggled a bit in the first, but breezed through the second. Taillon was apparently awfully impressive in the third and the fourth, as it lead to this tweet from Jayson Stark: Taillon zipped thru 2 IP so easily, may not need to shower, allowing just check-swing IF single. Like him better than Cole, said one scout — Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) February 28, 2014 Its like the Pirates let them pitch back-to-back...
Where have you gone, Andy Van Slyke? Feb 27, 2014
Your browser does not support iframes. On one hand, I want to tell you that spring training is very rarely ever worth getting excited about. On the other, I want to tell you that if you cant get excited about Gregory Polanco, Im not sure you have a pulse. I love the way the color guy just trails off in the middle of his thought to go, WOW!
Where have you gone, Andy Van Slyke? Feb 27, 2014
Derek Jeter is playing the first spring training game of his final year today against the Pirates at Legends Field in Tampa after missing most of last season with various injuries. Because of that, MLB.tv will be televising the game. Thats the headline. This is what you as a Pirate fan need to know: Gregory Polanco is in the Pirate lineup, batting second and playing center field. That means that you should take a long lunch break with your computer or smartphone and check the kid out. The game starts at 1:05, so his first at-bat should be over by 1:10. Im sure your boss wont mind. Jaff...
Are the Pirates really a 94 win team? After returning largely the same roster, we will get our answer in 2014. We have seen this story before. Sure, they are not usually quite as dramatic as the Pirates' storybook 2013 season punctuated by their first playoff appearance since 1992, but they have happened before. The Pirates rode their pitching staff all the way to a 94 win season, finishing with a +57 run differential. They got production from unexpected places, especially from starting pitchers Francisco Liriano, Jeff Locke, and Charlie Morton. They lived and died by the home run, tying...
Where have you gone, Andy Van Slyke? Feb 26, 2014
The Pirates and Yankees will play their spring training game at 1:05 today. Im always of two minds about this; I get really excited about the potential return of baseball, but then Ill also probably be bored with spring training games by Friday (excepting any games that I may see in person if Im able to go to Bradenton, of course). I dont have anything against spring training, its just that the majority of players in the Pirates camp have their fates for the first part of 2014 set and theres not much that can change that. Of course, thats not true for everyone, and so I figured Id make a list...
Where have you gone, Andy Van Slyke? Feb 25, 2014
Im a little behind the gun on this, but the Pirates made a small move on Monday thats probably worth talking at least a little bit about. They claimed Brent Morel off of waivers from the Blue Jays and, to make room for him on the 40-man roster, they designated Chase dArnaud for assignment. Morel was drafted by the White Sox in the third round of the 2008 draft and turned into a decent prospect; he was Baseball Americas #85 prospect prior to the 2011 season and the White Sox made him their primary third baseman that year. He struggled both in 2011 (.245/.287/.366 with 10 homers and 18...
Raise the Jolly Roger! Feb 25, 2014
The Pirates play a baseball game today, and every day up until March 11th. Spring Training gets boring quickly, but at least some actual games are mildly interesting and provide something to watch or listen to in the afternoon. Here’s the rundown for games and coverage for the rest of this week: Tuesday: Black and […]
Where have you gone, Andy Van Slyke? Feb 24, 2014
I dont know how to describe this, but the thing that made me the most excited about the return of baseball was an e-mail that I got on Friday from the proprietor of the TOOTBLAN Tracker asking if I wanted to run a graphic about the Pirates 2013 TOOTBLAN review. TOOTBLAN, if you dont spend much time on Twitter and are unfamiliar with the term, is short for Thrown Out On The Bases Like A Nincompoop, an acronym designed to describe Ryan Theriot in his days with the Cubs. Its now interenet shorthand for any unforced error on the basepaths. The Pirates, as youll see, were awfully good at getting...
Raise the Jolly Roger! Feb 20, 2014
Baseball things are continuing to happen down in Bradenton, which is a positive development. This time next week, we’ll be getting in to the exhibition games. Some news and links while we wait: More praise for the farm system: Baseball America put seven Pirates prospects in its Top 100. Bob Nutting was in camp on […]
Where have you gone, Andy Van Slyke? Feb 19, 2014
With the start of real spring training actually approaching and a bunch of free agents that are tied to draft picks still unsigned, youve likely noticed that Scott Boras has ramped up his rhetoric in the past week about how much teams are overvaluing late round draft picks as compared to the free agents that he represents. Beyond the hilarious hypocrisy of Scott Boras, of all people, arguing that draft picks have limited value, I think theres a pretty interesting converstion to be had here. Travis Sawchik wrote about it yesterday, including some of the key quotes that help to summarize...
Redlegs Review Feb 19, 2014
Can the Pirates build upon the success of 2013 or will they fade back to irrelevance?The Pittsburgh Pirates finally did it in 2013. After a couple years of teasing their fans with hot starts and cool finishes, they finished 94-68 which was good for a second place finish in the NL Central and a wildcard berth into the postseason, their first since 1992. They held first place for 25 days from 7/30 to 8/23, and never fell lower than second place after 6/21. Then, not only did they show up in the playoffs, they beat our Cincinnati Reds for their first playoff win since '92 as well. Their October...
Raise the Jolly Roger! Feb 19, 2014
Clint Hurdle named Francisco Liriano the Opening Day starter on Tuesday, which shouldn’t be much of a surprise. Liriano was the go-to guy all season last year and was hand picked to start the do-or-die Wild Card game, where he delivered a great outing. You could make an argument for Gerrit Cole, but he’ll probably […]
Raise the Jolly Roger! Feb 18, 2014
Today is the first day of full-squad workouts, so I suppose you could call it the beginning of the season in a way. Opening Day is now less than six weeks away and the first exhibition game is next week. Andrew McCutchen seemed to be the center of attention with the media on Monday (which […]
Where have you gone, Andy Van Slyke? Feb 17, 2014
Besides the lingering AJ Burnett situation, theres been one Pirate-related question thats been on my mind all winter: why on earth do the Pirates think Edinson Volquez is worth $5 million? I mean, I suppose if you go by wins above replacement theres a decent chance that Volquez will be worth somewhere around 1 WAR this year and that makes it an appropriate salary for the guy, but Im not sure those odds are any better than the odds that Stolmy Pimentel or Jeff Locke or Brandon Cumpton will pitch at that level. You could have ten Pimentel/Locke/Cumptons for the price of one Volquez. The only...
Raise the Jolly Roger! Feb 17, 2014
The Pirates will all be in Bradenton by the end of the day today, with the first full squad workout taking place tomorrow. Unless you’re there, this hard to get excited about, but it does mean we are getting closer and closer to the season – less than a month and a half away from […]
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