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.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top 10 Bird Logos

S.Samek

Tis the season for turkeys and turkey bowl games. How better to celebrate than taking a look at the best related logos in sports to turkeys: Birds. Even though Pittsburgh Dad denies the intimidating power of the bird mascot.

10. Toledo Mud Hens.

9. Orleans Firebirds.

8.Idaho Falls Chuckers.

7. Lancaster Jet Hawks.

6. Great Lakes Loons.

5. Aberdeen Iron birds.

4. Tucson Roadrunners.

3.Bakersfield Condors.

2. Rochester Honkers.

1. Anaheim Ducks/Mighty Ducks.

 

 

Sports Collections

Throwback to some of the coolest sports merchandise.

S.Samek

When I was a kid not only did I watch sports, I would collect them. Yes, I collected the standard baseball cards, but a couple other things too.

 
The first of which are the baseball helmets from Dairy queen. The ones that you could get when you ordered a sundae. It even had a display with each of the divisions, so you could keep the standings.

 
I have eight of them including a Montreal Expos one. They are still available, but maybe a bit forgotten about.

 
No doubt one of the most popular stadium giveaways of all time is the bobble head. A while back Post brand cereals took advantage of this by offering mini bobble heads of current MLB stars.

 
I remember always begging for the Oreo o’s or the like just so I could collect them. Even though most often the cereal became neglected after two, or three bowls and was left to become stale. Didn’t matter to me, I collected seven MLB stars, with a couple of them becoming hall of famers.

 
The final novelty I remember collecting is the mini team mugs. One could be had for .50 out of the toy machines at Walmart, or the grocery store. Yet again I ended up with seven from both the NFL and MLB.

 
They have come in handy too. I keep them on my baseball bat shaped shelf with a lot of my collectables and trophies. Actually, all the collectables mentioned in this post make their home on that shelf. Then I take my collection of baseballs and sit them on top of the mugs. Making for a pretty neat holder.

 
Note I didn’t and don’t collect these for the value. They aren’t worth much even several years after release. It was just a fun way to have merchandise from different teams.

 

 

 

Wild Card Predicts 2017

S.Samek

As the calendar tunes from September to October it means its football season right. Not quite as its baseball playoff time. The first game of the playoffs goes down tonight with the American League Wild Card Game.

This matchup is the Twins and Yankees. The Twins seem to be big under dogs in this one. The Yankees seem to have an advantage at most of the positions on the field.

The Bronx Bombers also won six games more than the Twinkies. During the most recent series between the two It was New York sweeping a three-game set.

The Pitching matchup seems to be getting the most attention. The Yankees are sending Luis Severino against Ervin Santana. Severino is dominate with a 2.98 era against Santana’s 3.36. It’s not a huge difference, but maybe just enough of an edge to give the Yanks the win.

If era isn’t it would be the stakeout numbers. Severino sends hitters back to the dugout at almost a 30 percent clip. This is ten percent better than Santana. That’s about a third of Twins hitters not getting on base. You don’t get on base you don’t score. No runs scored, you don’t win the game.

Santana doesn’t also fare well in Yankee stadium. He is 0-5 with a 6.43 era there.

Minnesota does have Byron Buxton to watch though. Buxton hit .253 with 16 homers and 51 rbi during the year. However, he is hitless against Severino.

New York counter punches with Aaron Judge. Judge had 52 long balls this season while hitting .284.

Gary Sanchez also has 33 homers for New York, making there no shortage of power for the Yankees. Santana has also given up seven homers while pitching in Yankee stadium, so there’s plenty to be worried about if you’re a Twins fan.
Yankees win this one.
In the second wild card game the National League has the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks.
Arizona won 93 games to Colorado’s 87 games. Both finishing behind the 104-win Dodgers. It’s the same Dodgers that loom on the horizon for the winner of this game.
Colorado should make this a competitive game with big hitters such as Charlie Blackman, Noland Arenado and Carlos Gomez. Gomez has homered five times and has 14 hits in 42 at bats against Zac Greinke, who looks to get the ball for Arizona.

The Snakes have Paul Goldschmidt and a resurging J.D Martinez to help power them. This should be enough to overcome the Rockies. This one should be close though.