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Brandon Cumpton is upset that you're referring to him as a quad-A replacement player. He's started 10 games and put up a 4.16 xFIP, which is basically a reasonable #5 starter (among starters with at least 50 innings, he's around #115, which means on average, each MLB team has four starters better than him, but no more). That translates to 0.8 fWAR, which (if extrapolated to a full season in a team's rotation) would be worth 2.5+ fWAR - clear starter-grade, not replacement-level.
I have no problem with running Cumpton out there in the 10th and letting him go 5-6 innings if the game runs that long, instead of juggling pitchers through two more innings and saving him for the 12th-13th inning. Even if Watson and Wilson were available, their next off-day isn't until Thursday, so if you burn through the bullpen today, you'd be working with a short pen later in the week.
If you're a contender, your closer should be able to hold a one-run lead, your setup man should be able to hold a three-run lead, and your infield should be able to turn routine ground balls into outs.. This weekend wasn't a failure of front office management or game management - the two guys who you rely on (usually with good reason) to close the door on the opponents, didn't, and the corner infielders gave the other team 5 outs in an inning.
3 months, 1 week ago on Conversation @ http://whygavs.com/august-2014/game-124-nationals-6-pirates-5.html
One of the best game recaps I've ever read. And the strangest line may be, "Ernesto Frieri pitched the bottom of the ninth without incident."
4 months, 1 week ago on Conversation @ http://whygavs.com/july-2014/game-100-pirates-12-dodgers-7.html
Black is making a huge error holding Western Europe and North Africa. If he came into Africa from South America, the right move is to roll up Africa around the Congo - South Africa - Madagascar - East Africa - Egypt route before moving into Europe; if he was holding only Western Europe and needed to conquer a territory to gain a card, he should have picked off Great Britain and not exposed himself to attack from more territories.
What's that? The draft? I have no idea - talk to me in 2017.
5 months, 3 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://whygavs.com/june-2014/a-few-more-thoughts-on-cole-tucker-and-the-pirates-draft-strategy.html
Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence.
If there are multiple sources all indicating that a statistic is around 85%-90%, claims that the statistic is actually around 65%-70% demand significantly more evidence - not less evidence.
7 months ago on Conversation @ http://www.newrepublic.com/article/117601/obamacare-enrollment-numbers-house-gop-report-distorts-facts
@azibuck @DGL I neglected to add, the one thing that Barrett didn't do was sell the call. He looked hesitant on the "off the base" wave, which indicates he didn't see it well. He didn't see it well because of the way that Ike stretched towards the ball (with his body just happening to land directly between Barrett and the base).
Basically, he was set up in the right position, but the way the play developed, he didn't have a good angle. Good process, bad outcome, as some would say.
7 months ago on Conversation @ http://whygavs.com/april-2014/game-26-cardinals-7-pirates-0.html
From what I learned of umpiring, Barrett wasn't out of position - he was at a right angle to the path of the incoming ball, which is exactly where you're supposed to be.
The problem was it was a horrible, terrible, no-good stretch by Davis. His right foot is almost directly towards second base (maybe 12-18 inches towards the outfield side), forcing him to lay out for the ball. That means he stretched before he had a read on the path of the throw, which is the one thing you do NOT do as a first baseman - you set with both feet near the bag, then decide which will foot will be on the bag and which you will stretch with when you see the ball coming in. With proper form, Ike puts his left foot on the outfield side of the bag and stretches his right foot out the right-field line, and it's an easy catch.
Even if Ike always plants his left foot on the bag and stretches with his right, he shouldn't be stretching until the ball is on its way to him, so he can go directly to his right with his left foot on the bag and the catch is again easy.
Worse yet, he should know it's Molina running, so he doesn't even NEED to stretch.
"I can pretty much guarantee that the AJ Burnett qualifying offer scenario is going to repeat itself in full form with Martin this coming winter."
I'm going to disagree. If Martin roughly matches his performance from last year, he'll be looking for a multi-year deal with a big payoff - and with the increasing acknowledgement of the value of catcher defense, someone will be likely to give it to him. If he bombs (avert), he would accept a deal below QO dollars.
So in other words, if he's good enough to merit a QO, there's almost no chance he'll accept one so extending it means a free draft choice for the Pirates. If he's bad enough that he'd be willing to take a QO, there's no reason to extend one because the Pirates would be able to re-sign him at a lower price if they want (which they shouldn't).
8 months, 1 week ago on The status quo: Position players
Cole and Taillon: Announcing their presence with authority.
9 months ago on Friday links and things
We have come quite a long way from the "Should Cole be sent down to the minors when Wandy comes back" discussions we were having a couple of months ago, haven't we?
1 year, 2 months ago on That Gerrit Cole is so hot right now
@mwr505 They shouldn't. He's maybe a 1 WAR player who should be at most the big half of a platoon, but will get paid like a full-time 2-3 WAR player on reputation. They could get better performance out of a strict Gaby/Lambo platoon at less than half the cost.
1 year, 2 months ago on The Pirates are going to the playoffs
@PatStuart If two teams end up with the same record, HFA is decided by head-to-head record (which can't be tied, because the three teams involved each played 19 games against each other). PIT leads STL 10-9; STL leads CIN 11-8, and PIT/CIN will be decided in the last three games of the season (currently tied 8-8).
If all three teams are tied, #ChaosEnsues.
@mwr505 Road record: 40-36, .526
Home record: 50-31, .617
The facts do not support your narrative.
1 year, 2 months ago on Game 156: Reds 11 Pirates 3
Common wins only come into play if one team doesn't have a H2H advantage over both other teams. If the Pirates take 2 of 3 from the Reds (or sweep, for that matter) and end up in a 3-way tie, they will get the choice of being "team C" because they'll have a better H2H over both the Reds and the Cards.
That would lead to an off-day on Monday when the Cards host the Reds, and then traveling to either St Louis or Cincinnati to determine the Division winner. With a win they'd be off until the first game of the LDS on Thursday; with a loss they'd host the loser of the Monday game in the WC game. (Unless the playoff game counts as a "regular season" game to determine H2H records for home-field advantage for the WC game, at which case my head explodes.)
1 year, 2 months ago on The final week
Bruce doubled on the first pitch he saw. If you started warming up a reliever after Phillips walked, he wouldn't have been ready to pitch to Frazier. If you started warming up a reliever after Votto walked, he probably wouldn't have been ready (8 pitches and one ball in play probably isn't enough time). So that means you're warming up a reliever after Heisey singled. In other words, after two batters hit ground balls, one of which was an out and the other of which was maybe six inches from being another out.
Plus, while you obviously can't assume the game plays out the same way, it's very possible that the only difference between putting in a RP and leaving Locke in is that the Pirates lose 9-3 instead of 11-3.
It just wasn't the Pirates' day.
@mwr505 "With Marte gone for another week it's gonna be tough even to play .500 while he's hurt on DL."
Yeah, since he's been out of the lineup, they've only gone 4-3.
1 year, 3 months ago on Game 130: Giants 4 Pirates 0 (a late recap)
@justinzeth @Ugarles I realize this is hyperbole, but Alvarez's OPS against LHP* is .600; Pirates' pitchers have an aggregate OPS of .224. NL pitchers overall have an OPS of .336, and the team with the best-hitting pitchers** is the Dodgers, whose pitchers have an OPS of .445.
* BB-Ref doesn't have crosstabs (split vs LH RP, vs split vs LHP, split vs RP); however, I would note that overall, Alvarez's OPS against RP first appearance is .666, which is higher than his overall OPS vs LHP; this indicates he's likely not doing worse against LHRP than he is against LHP overall.
** Omitting the Tigers (OPS .600) and Royals (OPS .571) due to SSS (19 and 23 PAs, respectively).
Lambo would need to be added to the 40-man, taking the last open slot; if the Pirates make a trade that doesn't involve sending someone from the 40-man, someone would have to be DFAd or moved to the 60-day DL. It also would risk burning one of Lambo's option years.
1 year, 4 months ago on McKenry disabled, Presley called up, White Sox being ridiculous, and more
There you go again with your "logic" and "reason". Everyone knows that the only reason that Cole would go back down to AAA is because Nutting is too cheap to risk Super 2 and no one cares about Cole anyway cause there's no such thing as Cole-mania waah waah.
One quibble - I wouldn't call his last start "superb". Good, exciting, what you want to see from a #1 pick, sure - but by game score (admittedly a blunt instrument) Pirates starters have pitched 25 better games this season.
1 year, 5 months ago on The upcoming pitching dilemma
" He's probably been the Pirates' fourth best position player this year (after McCutchen, Martin, and Marte)."
There's the problem. If he was named Malvarez, he'd be fine.
1 year, 5 months ago on Pedro Alvarez is on fire, but nothing is changing
C'mon, Pat, you forgot the most important pieces of info about the CWS/WCWS - who umpired those Tennessee/Oklahoma and UNC/FAU games? Isn't that what people go to the ballpark to see?
1 year, 5 months ago on Game 58: Braves 7 Pirates 2
In your previous article, you said, "I'm sure that at some point in the next week some scuffling right-handed pitcher is going to be left in the game to face Prince Fielder or Joey Votto in a huge spot and I am going to absolutely lose my mind."
Scuffling right-handed pitcher: Check.
Prince Fielder: Check.
Huge spot: Check.
1 year, 6 months ago on Game 51: Tigers 6 Pirates 5
A while ago I said on BD that Inge and McDonald would get 500 PAs between them this season, to much disdain.
1 year, 6 months ago on Brandon Inge's first two weeks (or: where is Travis Snider?)
@PatStuart "it is now clear that the Brad Lincoln trade was a disaster that has cost the Pirates several games."
Lincoln hasn't exactly been lights-out since the Pirates traded him. He's only been in five games where the Jays were tied or ahead when he entered; and in two of those, he gave up three runs each.
If you prefer broader stats to individual games, Snider has an OPS+ of 113 for the Pirates and Lincoln an ERA+ of 83 for the Jays.
BBRef-WAR? -0.2 for Lincoln in TOR, +0.4 for Snider in PIT. FWAR: 0.0 for Lincoln/TOR, 0.4 Snider PIT. So by those metrics, Snider has been half a win more valuable than Lincoln since the trade.
However you slice it, it's at best hyperbole and at worst 180 degrees wrong to say that the Lincoln trade cost the Pirates several games.
2 years, 3 months ago on And so here we are again | August 2012
The Pirates are playing meaningful baseball at the end of August. It is somewhat likely that they will still be playing meaningful baseball the day that the Steelers start their regular season. And if we do have to move our sights from the present, it's not "to some distant, murky, uncertain future," it's simply "til next year" - like 28 other teams every season.
Come in off the ledge, Pat - it's not that bad.
2 years, 5 months ago on Game 65: Pirates 9 Indians 5 | May 2012
@lefttheburghlongago (a) is easy - it's in the OP. "Teams with runners on first and no outs have a 0.941 run expectancy for that inning."
You could run the entire simulation, with every possible outcome of a plate appearance, the likelihood of each occurring, and the resulting RE. But the crux of the matter is that by sending a batter to the plate to sacrifice, you are implementing a strategy where success results in lower RE for the inning.
Let me put that another way: assume you had a player, call him ROBOBUNTER, who could execute a successful sacrifice every single time he tried. When ROBOBUNTER steps up to the plate with a runner on first and no out, the team's RE that inning is .941. When RE sits down after having successfully executed his sacrifice, the team's RE has dropped to .721. Successfully executing the bunt has lowered the team's RE by .22 runs. Roughly speaking, he's on average decreased his team's chances of winning by 2.2%.
The only reason you would do that is if the weighted resulting RE of every possible outcome of the batter not bunting is lower than .721. Consider a simplified case: ROBOGROUNDBALLHITTER, who hits a ground ball every time he comes to the plate, never striking out, walking, or hitting the ball in the air. 30% of the time this ground ball finds its way through the infield or is misplayed by the infielders, giving the team runners on first and second and no out. Of the remaining 70% of his ground balls, half result in a double play, and half result in a "productive out", moving the runner to second.
If you run the numbers, when ROBOGROUNDBALLHITTER sits down after his AB, the weighted average RE for his team is .703. Because he never walks, never gets an extra-base hit, and frequently grounds into a double play, he lowers his team's RE by even more than ROBOBUNTER.
But if you even consider an abysmally bad batter - say, one who strikes out 40% of the time, has a BA of .200 and an OBP of .240, gets one double every 50 PAs and no other extra base hits ever, moves the runner from first to third on a single only one time in five, and grounds into a double play 25% of the time he comes to the plate with a runner on first and less than two out (which works out to an OPS of about .480 and an OPS+ of about 32, or Clint Barmes, who has the lowest OPS of any qualifying NL batter this season, but that's another issue) - and you run the numbers in the same way, you get a weighted average RE of .736. This abysmally bad batter is better off swinging away than if he was able to lay down a perfect sacrifice every single time he tried.
2 years, 6 months ago on I have an idea to help the Pirates' moribund offense: STOP GIVING AWAY OUTS | May 2012
You forgot the hashtag.
"James McDonald was going to make a run at a no-hitter, but terrifying in the thought that the no-hitter might not be enough to win."
This is referred to as being "Haddixed".
2 years, 7 months ago on Game 17: Rockies 2 Pirates 1, Game 18: Pirates 5 Rockies 1 | April 2012
"questions about him that need answered"
Oh, I love me the Pittsburgh dropped infinitive. Reminds me of the Pittsburgh Shakespeare Company's version of Hamlet's soliloquy: "Or not."
2 years, 8 months ago on Starling Marte is on fire (and the long term implications) | March 2012
If the DH makes the game better, I know a way to make it better still: Go to a full two-platoon system. No player is required to both play the field and bat. This will improve the quality of fielding, as teams won't be forced to try to hide good hitters at first base or corner outfield spots and can give those positions to good fielders. It will obviously also improve the quality of hitting, as the slick-fielding middle infielders who would be struggling to stay above the Mendoza line won't have to bat.
Plus, supporting this two-platoon system will require another five or six roster spots, so the MLBPA will roundly endorse it.
Sure, there will still be some "two-way" players, who can both play the field and hit - they'll be valuable to their teams because they'll free up a roster spot for another relief pitcher. But over time, they'll be viewed as the charming anachronisms they are.
3 years ago on Brace Yourselves National League Fans: the DH Is Coming | November
Plus, when a manager is ejected, I would think that the fill-in's job is to manage the game as closely as possible to how the manager would have run it. Hurdle loves the bunt; therefore, he's expecting that Banister is going to bunt everywhere he would have. And given that Hurdle basically controls Banister's employment, well, he's going to do what Hurdle expects.
3 years, 2 months ago on Game 148: Cardinals 6 Pirates 4 | September 2011
Don't know that I agree. Starters are more valuable than relievers; even if Ohlie were to end up as a #4/#5 starter, he's more valuable there than as anything short of a shutdown closer. And seeing as how the entire staff improved drastically under Searage until their arms started falling off, I think Ohlie deserves the same opportunity. You can always convert him to a reliever next spring.
3 years, 3 months ago on Ross Ohlendorf's Latest Return | August 2011
3 years, 3 months ago on Game 110: Cubs 7 Pirates 6 | July 2011
Pete Rose is banned from baseball because any connection an MLB player has with gambling damages "the integrity of the game".
Funny; I would think blatantly incorrect calls by umpiring would also be viewed as damaging the integrity of the game - but no, they're "part of the traditional human element".
3 years, 4 months ago on Umpires and instant replay and the end of the Pirates/Braves game | July 2011
@nickjuneau24 I wouldn't be surprised if Snyder stays on the DL until rosters expand, and then the Pirates carry three catchers.
3 years, 4 months ago on Game 100: Pirates 3 Braves 1 | July 2011
He's saying that Beltran maybe gets you one win over Presley this year. And, of course, 0 wins for the next five years while the Mets have Presley under control.
3 years, 4 months ago on A word about the future | July 2011
Starting in Indy, and based on recent events (came up to pitch the second game of the doubleheader against the Nats on 7/2, gave up 2 runs in 6 innings for a ND) first in line to get called up if someone gets hurt or they need a spot start.@nickjuneau24
3 years, 4 months ago on Game 93: Pirates 7 Astros 5 | July 2011
Depending on your view of pitching consistency, this is either an issue of "what have you done for me lately" or "who's got the hot hand". Veras has given up runs in three of his last four games - but for the season he's been more reliable than Resop.
Veras has pitched in 47 games this year. He's given up runs in 11 of them; in addition, he allowed one or more inherited runners to score in 3. So, in 33 of 47 games (70%) he's not allowed anyone to cross the plate.
Resop has pitched in 46 games. He's given up runs in 10 of them; in addition, he allowed one or more inherited runners to score in 8 (two of which were also games where he gave up his own runs). So, in 30 of 46 games (65%) he's not allowed anyone to cross the plate.
For comparison - last season, Meek pitched in 70 games. He gave up runs in 17 of them; he had four additional games where he allowed inherited runners to score (plus two games where he both allowed inherited runners to score and gave up his own runs). So he had 49 of 70 games where he didn't allow anyone to cross the plate - 70%, which is identical to Veras's performance this year.
@Carnegie Chip @Andy Coulter
In 1977, when Reggie Jackson earned the "Mister October" nickname, his triple slash line with 2 outs/RISP was .323/.391/.619. Yes, Walker is more clutchy this year than Mr. October.
In 1978, Jackson's triple slash line with 2 out/RISP was .259/.341/.420. I guess Mr. October forgot how to focus with the game on the line.
Funny, though, because he remembered again in 1979 and 1980, putting up 2 out/RISP triple slashes of .304/.451/.625 and .338/.437/.784.
Then he forgot again in 1981, where his 2 out/RISP triple slash fell to .189/.246/.396.
There are certainly clutch performances. But as Pat said, there's no evidence that clutch performance is a repeatable skill, or that statistics showing clutch performances are at all predictive. @SportOMania @whygavs
3 years, 4 months ago on Where do Neil Walker's RBIs come from? | July 2011
Strawman. No one (at least in this post) is saying there is no clutch. All that Pat is saying, which is backed up by tons of evidence, is that "clutch" isn't a repeatable skill. @SportOMania
I just find it amusing to read "the lowly Astros".
3 years, 4 months ago on Game 86: Astros 8 Pirates 2 | July 2011
If nothing else, I think we lead the league in ZAR (Zac(k)s Above Replacement).
3 years, 7 months ago on Friday minor league update: 4/29 | April 2011
"No sports team in the history of American sports has ever been as bad for as long as the Pittsburgh Pirates have been bad."
I submit that the 1934-1967 Athletics (Philadelphia and Kansas City) were as bad for longer, regardless of the fact that they sprinkled 5 "winning" seasons in that 34 years. Their best finish was 4th (in an 8-team league), and in those 34 years there was exactly one (1948) where they were in contention as late as August.
Imagine if the Pirates go 82-80 in 2012, 88-74 in 2013 and finish 3rd in the Division, and 85-77 in 2014 -- then have another 18 losing seasons. That would be worse than what we've seen over the last 18 years, no?
3 years, 8 months ago on WHYGAVS Blog Baseball and Losing Recovery Blog | March 2011