Bay Area, CA
I like to boogie down.
Another weird aspect of it is that, realistically, even 2015 Russell Martin couldn't replace 2014 Russell Martin. His production last season was so incredible that it's amazing to think he might have been only the 3rd (or 4th?!) best Pirate. So we have to separate the question "was losing Russ in FA a big problem?" (no) from "will we see a lot less production at C in 2015?" (probably).
I'm right there with you in general, though. I feel really positive about the Pirates this season, but I can't honestly explain why. The back of my mind keeps telling me "this team is less talented than the 2015 version, and they're going to be lucky to make the wildcard". I'm never sure which to believe.
3 weeks, 4 days ago on Conversation @ http://whygavs.com/march-2015/i-havent-freaked-out-yet-about-russell-martins-absence-but-maybe-i-should.html
A couple even more pie-in-the-sky things to think about:
- There's nothing keeping the Pirates from trading Martin in a year or two, if Elias Diaz turns out okay. Sure they might not get "fair value" for him, but as long as he doesn't seriously collapse (he may, of course, seriously collapse) they could probably give him away for free at the worst. And since all they'd be paying for him is cash (and I guess the opportunity cost of a 2015 comp pick), even a "bad" trade wouldn't really be a loss.
- Given their payroll limitations even sans Martin, the Pirates fundamentally need some minimum level of production from their prospects to compete. I'm not really sure it's worth planning for a scenario where too many of them bust. If Cole, Taillon, Glasnow, and Kingham disappoint, the rotation is probably going to be more than $15M away from salvageable, especially with the continuing inflation of the market for even marginal starters.
None of this is to say that the Pirates should definitely pull the trigger on 4/60 or something--I don't know if he is actually worth that from a performance perspective--but more an argument against missing out on him just because of future budget concerns.
5 months, 3 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://whygavs.com/october-2014/the-pirates-payroll-and-russell-martin.html
@joshuabobby I can't believe someone is still gullible enough to believe that the Pirates are just saving up to spend later. Later when? What about all that money they saved on league-bottom payrolls over the last decade?
11 months ago on Conversation @ http://whygavs.com/may-2014/the-final-vortex-of-all-gregory-polanco-discourse.html
@joshuabobby Sure, now why should we care again that Bob Nutting gets to buy an extra yacht?
@joshuabobby There's no law of the universe that says it has to be spent later. It goes into profit.
Here's the thing for me: this offseason destroyed my trust in ownership. There's just no getting around it anymore: Pirates ownership doesn't care about winning baseball games if they have to spend money to do it. So, sure, holding Polanco down is going to save $10M, but if that money isn't going to be spent to actually improve the team then it means nothing to me, and I'm going to yell about the ownership group being cheap because what the hell else can I do.
@StyvesKlein This is not how the term is typically used in my experience, and I think clearly not the way it's used here: Pat calls him a "one-dimensional slugger" not a "one-dimensional player," which indicates that the one dimension in question is meant to be power. In general, it's silly to equivocate the value of hitting vs fielding or baserunning, since hitting is by far the most important.
1 year ago on Conversation @ http://whygavs.com/march-2014/a-few-thoughts-about-barry-bonds.html
I've long found the abuse that Bonds takes fairly absurd, especially from Pirates fans. We had the opportunity to watch one of the two or three best players in the entire history of baseball, and for part of that time we even got him on our team. That's awesome and I think it's something to be celebrated; the effort by some people around baseball to hate accomplishments of the last two decades in direct proportion to their magnitude reeks of the worst kind of nostalgia to me.
And if ya ain't cheatin', ya ain't tryin'.
To go along with this idea of minimizing guys' accomplishments, I want to nitpick the characterization of McGwire as a "one-dimensional slugger". Obviously he was no use in the field or on the bases, but he was great at reaching base and after a bad run in his early career his average was usually decent to very good. McGwire had insane power IN ADDITION TO being a good all-around hitter, and I think the meme of him being "one-dimensional" is really a creation of writers who want to keep him out of the Hall but don't want to look at more than a career batting average to justify themselves.
I can't really fathom this signing. Obviously the Pirates don't think Volquez is better than Charlie Morton. Do they think he's better than Jeff Locke and Stolmy Pimentel? If so...how? If not, why are we blowing $5M on someone who we don't even project to make the Opening Day rotation? What makes the Pirates think that Volquez is any better than letting Justin Wilson start? Ugh. Yuck.
1 year, 4 months ago on Ken Rosenthal reports Pirates sign Edinson Volquez for $5 million
It's also worth noting that Bryan Morris should absolutely be available as a long man. Dude was starting as recently as 2011 and threw 86 innings in 51 appearances last year.
Also, I think we might be going a little overboard when we're looking at Paul Maholm as unbeatable. ;)
2 years ago on Game 15: Braves 6 Pirates 4
Maybe it's just me, but I feel like the Pirates fan community is really down on Jeff Locke and I'm not sure why. The kid's been one of our top prospects for several years; he's got a 2.44 ERA with decent peripherals in 170 AAA innings; he struck out a batter an inning in MLB last season. Sure, we all know that Jeff Locke is never going to be an ace, but characterizing him as a "fringey sixth starter" just seems crazy to me (McPherson less so, since he probably does need some AAA time). I'm certainly happy that we don't NEED to have him in the Opening Day rotation, but it's his age-25 season; if he is what we hope he can be, he ought to be a contributor this year.
2 years, 2 months ago on Pirates finally agree to terms with Francisco Liriano
I wrote this poem on the back of a worksheet for a horrific training course in Agile Development, because I live a glamorous life that is filled with such things. Originally I thought it was going to be a poem about a frustrated novelist, which perhaps one day I will also write. For now, I will have to deal with the shame of allowing others to read a confessional poem. Such is life as a bad poet.
2 years, 5 months ago on Mornacale.com - Autobiography Rots
Only if you think the Pirates true talent level is significantly above .500, which it isn't.
Furthermore, if one were to really do the math that Pat suggests, it would result in an inability to reject the null hypothesis that there is no significant difference between Burnett's starts and other games.
2 years, 8 months ago on This is AJ Burnett since the All-Star break | August 2012
@Carnegie Chip McDonald was fine today, really. Obviously it's not the outing you want, but things may well look at lot different without that absurd IBB. He was way too good for the first four innings to be considering pulling him out of a rotation that includes KEVIN CORREIA of all people.
2 years, 9 months ago on The Pirates trade for Wandy Rodriguez: | July 2012
I have an unnaturally good feeling about this game. This is the most absurd optimism I've ever experienced.
2 years, 11 months ago on Let's just give Justin Verlander the no-hitter and get on with our lives | May 2012
I posted this elsewhere, mise well get double use
3 hitters with BA >.240 (Harrison, Walker, McCutchen)
3 hitters with BA <.200 (McLouth, Barmes, McKenry)
2 hitters with OBP >.300 (Walker, McCutchen)
4 hitters with SLG >.400 (Harrison [lol], McCutchen, Alvarez, Jones)
2 hitters with BB% <1 (Harrison [0%!], Barmes)
4 hitters with K% >25 (Alvarez, McLouth, Barmes, McKenry; Jones is at 23%)
Combined slash line: .237/.290/.382\
Combined BB rate: 6.9%
Combined K rate: 21.9%
@kentuckypirate28 Obviously Pedro is always going to strike out a lot, but he really can't be the hitter the Pirates need him to be at a 33% k-rate. I'm not really arguing that he's never going to be a good hitter, but he has a pretty defined weakness in my opinion and if he doesn't address it then he's going to have difficulty being much better than average. He's no longer lost at the plate, but as Pat says pitchers have and will continue to adjust, and he's got to be able to deal with 2-strike counts.
Josh Hamilton is not really a good comparison for anyone in baseball. Dude has a .400+ BABIP and a HR/FB over 40%. More than 15% of his balls "in play" are home runs, he hasn't hit an infield fly yet, and just for good measure his IFH% is almost 10. With that combination of luck and freak athleticism, you can get away with bad plate discipline. And still, for all his whiffs, he strikes out very little: only 5 K in 32 0-2 counts faced this season (also 4/7 on balls in play and 20 balls taken). So either he's very lucky, which we don't want Pedro to count on, or he's very talented at controlling the zone and shortening up his swing in 2-strike counts, which is exactly where Pedro's shortcomings lie.
2 years, 11 months ago on Pedro Alvarez's most recent slump | May 2012
Batter Ahead: 40 PA, 4 K, .4 HR, 333/.500/.833
Count Even: 37 PA, 6 K, 3 HR, .257/.243/.514
Pitcher Ahead: 42 PA, 30 K, 0 HR, .095/.095/.167
(Keeping in mind that it's only possible to walk with the batter ahead.)
Just to be clear, obviously none of those numbers account for foul balls. I do think they they pretty well illustrate the book on Pedro, though: get him behind in the count and then throw him pitches outside the zone until he whiffs on one.
I've been working on a project trying to put together a comprehensive picture of Pedro, but here's what it boils down to:
Pedro Alvarez misses about half the time he swings at a pitch outside the zone. He is also more likely than average to swing at such a pitch. Therefore, if you get Pedro down 0-2 or 1-2, then you can throw him two balls and he will probably strike out.
Check out his by-count splits on B-R. Pedro has gone down 0-2 29 times; 10 times he has struck out immediately, three times he has put a ball in play (1 1B, 2 outs), and 16 times he's taken a ball. He's reached 1-2 36 times; 20 of those times have resulted in an immediate strikeout, 5 in a ball in play (1 2B, 4 outs), and 11 in taking a ball. Pitchers continue to throw him balls on 2-2: 6 K, 7 balls in play (1 1B), 12 balls. (I'm not sure if there's any significance in his much lower K-rate on 2-2 pitches.)
I don't think it's a coincidence that Bedard's start was pushed back to Correia's spot in the rotation. I'm hoping that this is effectively a replacement of Correia with Lincoln.
2 years, 11 months ago on Will Brad Lincoln's bullpen success translate into a start? | May 2012
Ugh, sorry if this is horrible to read, I'm posting from my phone and it looks like it won't post line breaks.
2 years, 11 months ago on Game 30: Pirates 4 Nationals 2 | April 2012
This has really been an amazing series. Let's see what's happened so far:
- Burnett strikes out 10 in 8 innings
- Cutch's first 2012 HR
- Bryce Harper
- Adam LaRoche takes Joel Hanrahan deep for a go-ahead homer, in May
- Rod Barajas walk-off home run after a bloop hit and two wild pitches
- Erik Bedard injures back after 1+ IP
- Brad Lincoln gets 2-pitch K
- Lincoln scores first run of game after reaching on a strikeout and going to third on a ball that hit the pitcher
- Cutch scores from second on a ground ball
- Navarro robs home run in a bizarre way
- Bucs' bullpen throws 8 innings with 1 ER
- both Grilli and Hanrahan get into bad jams and somehow escape
AmI missing anything? At this rate, I sort of expect that Strasburg will K 20 and Clint Barmes will hit a walk-off grand slam.
So, put another way, the only pitching staff better than Washington's is "whoever is facing the Pirates".
2 years, 11 months ago on Finding offense (in the rain) | April 2012
@wkkortas If he can be acceptable at 3B (DRS and UZR have him at +/- 1 run thus far), even Reynolds-level hitting will be a pretty solid addition to the team. But he definitely has to hit better if he's gotta move to 1B.
2 years, 11 months ago on Waiting for Pedro | April 2012
Well, on the plus side, Charlie Morton ringing up strikeouts is a really good sign.
2 years, 11 months ago on Can the offense keep going? | April 2012
@whygavs Counterpoint: from a lefty
2 years, 11 months ago on Pedro plays against a lefty | April 2012
Pedro homers on a high fastball. What is this feeling?
Josh Harrison took the first three pitches he saw today. O_O
Yamaico Navarro in left field. Josh Harrison batting second. Pedro and Neil against a lefty. Oh boy.
As it is, we got a really horrific outing from our worst starter, and he gave up 2 earned runs in 4 innings, and with even average defense he could have been a fair bit better (it looked to me like those extra pitches in the third really took a lot out of him).
2 years, 11 months ago on Game 21: Braves 4 Pirates 3 | April 2012
I've gotta say, for all that the Pirates have looked pretty ugly this season, I think it's a really good sign that we're upset about this game. There are more than a couple seasons in the last decade where my takeaway from this would be "well, at least we only lost 4-3, that's pretty good."
@Savage_Beast If Bedard manages to stay alive that long, and NH finds someone willing to pay as if he isn't one of the game's top injury risks, we absolutely should (barring the tiny chance of being a legitimate contender, of course). No matter how awesome he pitches, we should never forget that any given outing could be his last.
2 years, 11 months ago on Plugging away | April 2012
@Savage_Beast Marte had a bad game, don't get too excited.
The first-hand account of Rudy Owens, on the other hand...
No doubt about it.
Jason Grilli is ridiculous.
Can we please talk about Clint Barmes batting 2nd? Or scream incoherently into the abyss, either or?
2 years, 11 months ago on The scene of the crime | April 2012
It's probably worth noting that one of our new strikeout pitchers has only had one start so far, so our team K-rate ought to move upward as Burnett sees more time in the rotation. Of course, that ought to add some walks and home runs too.
2 years, 11 months ago on Is the Pirates' pitching any better than last year? | April 2012
@whygavs No, commenting on him pitching in a Major League game. I'd forgotten about him entirely. :v
2 years, 12 months ago on Doubleheader! | April 2012
Whoa, Brad Lincoln
Yamaico Navarro has seen 17 pitches today. He has swung at 4.
I suppose I should've waited to make sure this would actually be in question. :<
Not to be the Gameday Scout, but Charlie's fastball seems several MPH slower than the beginning of the game. I'm not sure he should come out for the 8th.
@whygavs A Pittsburgh Pirate hit a home run. With a runner on base. Then the batter after him hit ANOTHER home run.
The Legend lives forever.
bwzimmerman and I might as well be posting this gamethread via IM.
Charlie displaying that warning track power.
@bwzimmerman How did he get booed at all in the first?
Yamaico Navarro looked at the first 8 pitches he saw this game.
@bwzimmerman Everything looks pretty reasonable on Brooks: http://www.brooksbaseball.net/pfxVB/zoneTrack.php?month=4&day=25&year=2012&game=gid_2012_04_25_colmlb_pitmlb_2%2F&prevDate=425