Pirates and Diamondbacks Bean balls 2018

S.Samek

 

It’s just funny begin a Pittsburgh Pirate’s fan.

Just when you think your team isn’t bad, they go on a slide and prove that thought wrong.

In the middle of this chaos was blowing a five run led to Arizona in humorous fashion.

Of course when the Pirates and Diamondbacks square off it included someone getting hit by a pitch. You all know of the Andrew McCutchen and Paul Goldschmidt beanings that started all this mess.

Now it escalated after Josh Harrison took a pitch and left the game. Joe Musgrove the Pirates starter then hit Chris Owings in retaliation, intentionally.

Yes protect your teammate, but then move on and focus on the game.

Yet it didn’t happen, Sean Rodriguez was hit in the ninth inning.

The umpires just let them play on all of these beanballs. Which is fine, handle it how you want it is the umpires game.

I just want to see an end to this. Its school yard crap. If you hit someone by accident ok, take first and move on. Don’t try to pitch way inside and hit someone so they get hurt.

If you must protect a teammate fine as well. Hit one batter and move on. It needs to go no further than that. Having these beanball wars that go on series after series is stupid.

These beanballs don’t accomplish much anyway. Why do people think giving up a free walk at the expense of honor helps? You get no separate stat for honor beanings, it’s one more hit by pitch for you and the hitter. The hitter makes out better than you do.

I just think the beanings need to stop for any reason. Hit the ball and score some runs that way if you want to be old school. Ban the DH and the save if you really want to go old school.

 

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Pittsburgh Pirates Draft 2018

S.Samek

Tis the time of the year where each team tests their skills at predicting the future. By this I mean another draft is upon us. This time it’s the 2018 MLB draft.

I’m taking a look at my favorite team, the Pittsburgh Pirates and their 2018 draft.

In the first round the Pirates selected 10th. They used the pick on outfielder Travis Swaggerty out of Southern Alabama. The pick wasn’t a stretch as Swaggerty was rated as the 11th best draft prospect.

I didn’t like the pick initially. I figured the outfield was a position of strength for the Pirates. Yet it doesn’t hurt to have depth. Though I also think the Pirates have some outfield prospects in the top 10 such as Bryan Reynolds and Lolo Sanchez, yet it is good to see more depth.

I think this was a take the best player available pick and I hope it works.

They then added a couple of high school pitchers getting Gunnar Hoglund and Braxton Ashcroft at 36th and 51st picks. Ashcroft is a two-sport star so, this could be an athletic type player pick.

Hoglund had a dominate year during his senior season.

Hoglund had a dominate year during his senior season.

I think keeping lots of pitching talent in the system is important and these two picks help here.

In round three they went with shortstop Connor Kaiser. I hate this pick. Shortstop/second base is a tremendous log jam in the Pirates system. With Kaiser being a college bat he maybe closer to the majors than a high school pick.

Yet it just seems like a worthless pick with the likes of Kevin Newman and Cole Tucker fighting to replace Jordy Mercer sooner rather than later and Stephen Alemamais, Kevin Kramer and Oneil Cruz all on the top 30 prospects list.

Aaron Shortage, a right- handed pitcher was selected in round four.

In round five the selection was catcher Grant Koch out of Arkansas. Good to see the position of most need finally be addressed.

Michael Flynn is another pitcher added in round six.

In round seven they took leftfielder Brett Kinneman.

Rounds eight and nine they picked up a couple more pitchers.

Then in round 10 they selected Mike Gretler, Oregon States third baseman.

They then picked up 11 more pitchers, three more catchers, five more shortstops, seven more outfielders and a couple more infielders to round out the draft. I think this was good for restocking the farm as you can never have enough pitching, as the cliché goes.

Though I do think they went a little too shortstop heavy, taking six of them in total.

Overall, an ok draft and let’s see how it pans out years down the road.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Return of Kang

S.Samek

Surprise. Looks like Pittsburgh Pirate fans have something to cheer about after a gloomy off season.

 
Former starting third baseman Jung Ho Kang is coming back to the team. Kang faced visa issues from DUI charges, as well as injuries. He didn’t see action with the Pirates last year.

 
At the time of his departure Kang was hitting .273 with 36 homers and 120 rbi in 229 games over two seasons.

 

 

This is definitely a boost for the Pirates lineup. Anytime you get a starter back it’s a positive addition.

 
The only problem is where does Kang go? Third base is taken by David Freese and Collin Moran. Shortstop has Jordy Mercer and second base is all Josh Harrison’s. Those are Kang’s main three positions.

 
Yet I don’t really think you need three people at third base. Yes, Kang is good and proved himself in the past, while Moran is not really tested, but does that just mean you give up on Moran?

 
I don’t think that would be fair to him, especially after trading away your ace pitcher in an unpopular move to get him. Kang is an improvement over Freese, but Freese is still a solid bench guy. I don’t really think Kang is a bench guy at the moment.

 
What also happens to the likes of Jose Osuna who has been getting looks at third base, or Max Moroff. Guys that have done well in the minor leagues and are starting to show skills at the big-league level. Yet again prospect getting shafted for a player that many never expected to come back.

 
So why not trade Kang? Though what would he be worth if traded? I don’t see this happening though with the way off-season trades went and how furious the fan base would be if yet another star gets traded away.

 
I’m surprised to see Kang back. I do acknowledge this could be a boost for the Pirates lineup. I just don’t know where you play him at. Hoping he gets back to form and surprise people. That and he behaves himself and just worries about the game.

 

 

 

Tebow Update

S.Samek

Last year we talked about Tim Tebow trying to become a professional baseball player.

Tebow’s quest is still going on. This season he is with the double-a Binghamton Rumble Ponies.

 

This is even after a season in which he did not fare well statistically. He hit .26 overall at two levels of a ball last year. He hit .220 at the low a level. He did hit eight home runs and drove in 52 runs during the year though, but still the numbers don’t really stand out.

 

Tebow isn’t listed in the Mets top 30 prospect list. Now while this may not mean much, it does mean that he isn’t someone to watch for preforming well. He isn’t even among the top 30 in a system with a couple hundred prospects. Making Tebow at best number 31. That wouldn’t get him a roster spot on the standard 25 man roster.

 

He maybe at best a slot on the extended 40-man roster. Yet he remains absent on the current edition of that.

 

Age isn’t on Tebow’s side either. He’s 30, which is old for double –a. It’s old to be still considered a prospect. Maybe not if he was being stored at triple-a for depth as a veteran player, but Tebow’s never even reached the majors. Making it just another waste of roster space the Mets are using with Tebow.

 
It is about attendance numbers though. Tebow had teams marking their calendars for his appearances. Fans flocked to the gates to see him. This trend should continue this season.

 

 
I still think Tebow needs to quit. Go be an analyst or something. Give another hard working young kid a chance to make it to the majors.

 

 

Chief Wahoo Two

S.Samek

During the Cleveland Indians run to the world series the chief wahoo controversy came up.

 

I was on the side of the coin that wanted to see the logo removed.

 
The time has finally come. Recently it was announced that after 2018 Chief Wahoo will no longer see time on uniforms.

 

 

I fully agree with this. Though sources say this may only come because of intense pressure from MLB, or the fact that the Indians will host the 2019 all-star game.
Either way its good to see the logo go. Put the uniform drama away and focus on the on the field product.

 
Would be interesting to see what replaces it, if anything. I think the red C should be sufficient though if not a bit boring.

 
Should be interesting to see if this triggers another wave of logo changes. I don’t see that being the case ,but it may happen.

 

 

Pittsburgh Pirates Trades Cole/McCutchen

S.Samek

After not doing too much, so far in the off-season, the Pittsburgh Pirates have made two deals in the past couple of days. These are headline level deals.

The first involves Gerrit Cole, heading to Houston for four players.

 
The first player and you could say headliner of this deal is Colin Moran. Moran plays both third and first base, but is looked to be inserted in the former. He ranks as the fourth best prospect in the Pirates system at the moment. He split this season at triple a and the majors. During his 11 games in the majors he hit .364 with a homer and three rbi. Moran was also named a midseason triple a all-star after hitting .308 with 18 home runs this season.

 

Moran should get the nod to start at third base, especially with the uncertainty of Jung Ho Kang. Granted he is unproven, but looks to have a strong upside as a former first round pick.

 

Two arms came to the Pirates in Joe Musgrove and Michael Feliz.

 

Musgrove is a potential starter for the Buccos. In the major leagues he sports an 11-12 record and 4.52 era and was used primarily in the bullpen. However, he is another first round pick and a former top 100 prospect.

 

He won’t replace Cole, at least not this year, but could be a future arm to watch.

 

Feliz is a bullpen arm with numbers that don’t look good. He has a 5.13 era for 98 games in the majors. Yet he strikes out a lot of hitters. Feliz punched out 70 in 48 innings this year and 95 in 65 innings in 2016. The Pirates like him as a potential late-inning arm.

 
I could see this kid being a potential steal, maybe the next setup man, or closer for the Pirates. I like the upside if he can turn it around. His fast ball averaged 96 mph, so he could be a power arm for the Bucs in the future.

 

The final piece in the trade is outfielder Jason Martin. Martin becomes the Pirates 18th ranked prospect. He saw time at advanced a and double a last season, where he hit .278 with 18 home runs and stole 16 bases.

 
This is a good additional piece to the trade. He has some upside, but if it doesn’t pan out he wasn’t the center piece of it anyway.

 

Now Houston gets the Pirates number one starter in Cole. Cole is a good pitcher and at time dominant. He just isn’t an ace. This Season he went 12-12 with a 4.26 era. Cole allowed a career-high 31 home runs in 2017.

 
However, he was 59-42 with a 3.50 era while making 127 starts in five seasons in Pittsburgh. Houston gets an established veteran starter at the cost of a few talented, yet unproven youngsters.

 
This is a good deal for both teams at least on paper and should be interesting to watch.

 

Andrew McCutchen was the second big name sent packing as he was traded to San Francisco. The package the Giants are sending includes bonus money, outfield prospect Bryan Reynolds and pitcher Kyle Crick.

 

Reynolds was the Giants number four prospect at the time of the deal. He played at three levels of a ball this year with a .312 with 16 homers and 43 rbi stat line. He plays a bit of every outfield position. He also participated in the futures game this year.

 
I think this is a decent pick up. He is still a couple years away, but should make for an interesting prospect to watch.

 

Crick is another pitcher that saw time at triple a and in the majors this season. He was used in the bullpen where he put up a 2.76 era prior to his promotion. In the majors he had a 3.06 era with 28 strikeouts in 32 and one-third innings.

 
He is a former top prospect, but sits as number 16 in the current rankings. He could be another quality arm ready sooner rather than later for Pittsburgh.

 

McCutchen departs after hitting .279 with 28 homers and 11 steels last season. He was an anchor in the Pirates lineup and an MVP contender. He was the face of the franchise and a big part in getting the Pirates back to the playoffs.

 
He will be missed. However, I think if you want to respect McCutchen you let him play where he is wanted. He just isn’t at the level he once was and his fan support seemed to dwindle. This move lets him play for a contending team and Pittsburgh gets a couple players for the future.
Disappointing move yes, needed a second yes.
Overall, I think the moves look ok on paper and give me hope for the future, they just have to pan out.

 
Thank you, Cole, and McCutchen though for some great memories and good luck with your new teams.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pittsburgh Pirates Organization All-Stars 2017.

S.Samek

The best minor league players in the Pittsburg Pirates system were honored with milb.com organization all-star status.

 

Infield

Today I take a look at the selection to see what’s good and who deserves their status.
At the Catcher Position you have Jacob Stallings. Stallings saw time at triple a and a very short stint in the majors. He hit .301 with 16 doubles, four home runs and 38 rbi.

 
Being as catcher is one of the weaker positions in the Pirates system and that Elias Diaz has graduated from being a prospect make this an easy choice.

 
At first base Edwin Espinal was honored. Espinal hit .294 with 15 home runs and 86 rbi. Both of these totals ranked near the top of the organization leaderboard. Sadly, they let him walk in free agency. Well-deserved all-star spot.

 
At second base it was Pablo Reyes. Reyes was an on base machine for the Altoona Curve with 115 hits and 51 walks during the season. Reyes may not be well known and plays at a position with more depth, but isn’t entirely out of the mix after a season like that.

 
At shortstop it’s Cole Tucker. Tucker saw time at high a and double a in 2017. Tucker hit .275 with six home runs and 50 rbi. Tucker also swiped 47 bases this season, up from just six last year.

 
Shortstop is a position of depth for the Pirates, but Tucker could still be that future shortstop for the big-league Pirates.

 

At Third base the all-star is Ke’Byran Hayes. Hayes is the fourth ranked Pirates prospect. While Hayes has been injury prone in the past this year was better. He played in 108 and hi .278 with two homers and 43 rbi. Good to see him get on the field healthy and showing his stuff.

 

 

Outfield

In the Outfield its Jordan Luplow, Chris Bostick and Edison Lantiqua.

 
Luplow was the Pirates minor league player of the year and saw time in the majors this year. He hit .302 with 23 homers, best in the system. Luplow could be in Pittsburgh to start next year and absolutely earned every accolade he gets.

 
Bostick had a good season despite no real expectations. He hit .294 with seven homers and 57 rbi with 33 doubles at Triple A Indianapolis.

 
Lantiqua played for Bristol this season, so he is unknown to most Pirate fans. Though he showed he maybe a future top 30 prospect by hitting .307 with four homers and eight steals during 48 games this season. He routinely topped offensive categories for Bristol this year and could be a breakout candidate in 2018.

 
At the utility position Albert Baur was selected. Baur played at West Virginia in the South Atlantic League and hit .298 during the season after spending two seasons in short season a ball. His campaign included 117 hits, 31 doubles and 65 rbi, all near the top of the Pirate system leader boards. Baur could be another unranked, yet sleeper player to watch.

 

 

Pitchers

The right-handed pitcher for the Pirates comes as no surprise, despite a talented system with plenty of depth at the position. Hammer Down favorite and number two Pirates prospect Mitch Keller earned the spot.
Keller made 23 starts, including six at double a. This included clutch starts in the double a playoff, where he went 2-0 with a 1.10 era. Keller is most likely going back to Altoona to start 2018, but after a stint in the AFL is primed to make a run toward starting in Pittsburgh real soon.

 
The best left hander in the system is Steven Brault. Brault is often time thrown in the mix as a fifth starter in Pittsburgh after making four starts and pitching in 11 games for the big club. He went 10-5 with a 1.94 era at triple this season. This earned him the Pirates minor league pitcher of the year award. Great pick for an all -star honor.

 
Tate Scioneaux was the all-star reliever for this team. He was Altoona’s closer after the promotion of Montana Durapau. He went 14 of 17 in save opportunities while pitching 83 innings with a 2.44 era. Scioneaux is another unranked prospect, but could surprise a lot of people if he keeps putting up good numbers.

 
Overall the list is pretty good. It’s just a little alarming that more ranked prospect don’t appear on this list. Though it adds some variety to the players to watch list.

To compare with the 2016 list check here.