- Our friends at Fangraphs think that John Jaso will have a productive year: RotoGraphs
- Unfortunately Jesse Biddle was claimed by the Braves. He seems like a stellar human being and we wish him well.
- If you’re not familiar with John Sickels, please get familiar with him. He’s a great independent input on prospects and grew his brand from nothing to a household name. He released his Pirates prospect rankings this past week. A couple comments regarding that:
- If you have no history with Sickels I will tell you this: The Pirates are crazy deep. The B- prospects and C+ prospects are the most I’ve ever seen. C prospects aren’t terrible and the Pirates are so deep they aren’t even all listed. Use another system to compare…like the White Sox or Indians.
- He is bullish on Harold Ramirez like many are. I can’t wait to check him and Meadows out in Altoona (although for Meadows, I guess it will be around June after his recent orbital fracture).
- He ranks Reese McGuire low but is still a B-, not a big deal. He’s higher than all others on Kevin Kramer which is good to hear.
- This depth PRIOR TO the draft makes me think we will make a big deadline deal this year.
- The national sports writers hyping the Dodgers’ prospect depth made me checkout the Dodgers list on Sickels site. Count this as location #1 where the media will speculate Andrew McCutchen to be dealt to next offseason (non-NL Central, large budget for extension, plenty of top notch prospects).
- Steven Nesbitt offered a story on Pirates left-hander Steven Brault and his musical background. Too bad the Bucs didn’t land Bronson Arroyo to sing backup vocals for Brault.
- I don’t think I mentioned the Fangraphs ZIPS projections yet this offseason. If you haven’t seen them they are entertaining to even the non-stathead as they come up with comparable players for everyone on the 40-man. The article even has high praise for my brother’s old favorite player Dale Murphy.
- Harrison’s “double” last week was SOOO Harrison.
- I love seeing Elias Diaz homering off a RHP last weekend. His MiLB splits prove to me that he’ll hit enough against LHP and we all know about his glove. Hitting some against RHP will be icing on the cake.
- Speaking of Diaz, he and Hanson as well as the more often mention Taillon and Glasnow, should stay in the minors until after the Super Two deadline. These guys are too important to the future of the Pirates to give away years of eligibility and millions of dollars to get a couple extra weeks of performance. BTW – Hanson’s comp on the above referenced ZIPS is Jose Reyes.
- Count me as one of the few people not over-looking the Reds this season. Billy Hamilton leading off with Joey Votto, a potentially healthy Devin Mesoraco and Jose Pereza in the hitter friendly confines of Cincy. Their rotation is young and their bullpen is weak, but they’ll have lots of competition. They will be a problem for us this year.
- The AAA rotation is so deep it will probably force someone down to AA. Glasnow, Taillon, Lobstein are shoe-ins for the AAA rotation and it looks like Wilfredo Boscan will be used as a starter, as well. That would force either Trevor Williams or Steven Brault to AA.
- For a mere $9M, I’m really glad we brought back Melancon.
- In case you haven’t heard Pirates 2014 first round draft choice Cole Tucker is back early from his labrum surgery recovery and is already playing some shortstop. Neal ElAttrache of the Kerlan Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic in Los Angeles performed the labrum repair. ElAttrache repaired Kobe Bryant’s achilles tendon, Zack Greinke’s broken collarbone, as well as the knees of Tom Brady, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Charlize Theron and Ringo Starr.
- 43 days in the majors is all you need for a ML pension of $34k a year and lifetime healthcare.
- Former Pirate Adam LaRoche decided to retire and left $13M on the table. I wouldn’t leave $13 dollars on a table.
- During the Rene Gayo interview last week he said that he has 33 scouts working for him in 12 different countries.
- Eccentric baseball writer and Twitter buddy of mine Dayn Perry has become an anagram expert. This spring he is making anagrams out of the likely starting lineups for all ML Teams. His anagram lineup for the Bucs:
- Ron, Gargoyle Cop; RF
- A. Rhino-Hoss Jr.; 3B
- “Cat Crud” Wenchmen; CF
- Mr. Gelatin Rats; LF
- Ang Hogjunk; SS
- J.J. Hasoon; 1B
- Cecil Falcon Rivers; C
- Neon LaNash; 2B
- Rico L’Egret; SP
- Juan Nicasio’s impressive spring is making me predict one of the starters going on the DL to start the season and staying in extending spring training.
Watching Jameson Taillon today hard to believe he won't help the Pirates big league club at some point this year.
— JJ Cooper (@jjcoop36) March 16, 2016
- Early in the offseason Gerrit Cole (0r Rico L’Egret) was miffed when he was offered $10k less than he was supposed to, bringing up questions about pay structure in baseball, etc. I thought this was ironic due to his $8M signing bonus for being taken 1-1. I think someone like Gregory Polanco ($150k signing bonus) or Tony Watson ($85k signing bonus and 3.5 years at league minimum) have more reason to gripe about money.
- So far this spring Tony Sanchez is 2-10 with a 2B, a BB and 4 K’s with the Blue Jays.
- Three of the players being “hyped” in Japan as the Japanese season is about to start are Matt Hague, Garret Jones and ex-Buc farmhand Jamie Romak.
- The Book is often quoted by us baseball writers. It was written by Tom Tango, Mitchel Lichtman, and Andy Dolphin to answer some of the unanswered questions in baseball. Here’s a part from the lineup construction research.
- “The lead-off hitter comes to bat only 36% of the time with a runner on base, versus 44% of the time for the next lowest spot in the lineup, so why waste homeruns? The lead-off hitter also comes to the plate the most times per game, so why give away outs? As for speed, stealing bases is most valuable in front of singles hitters, and since the top of the order is going to be full of power hitters, they’re not as important. The lead-off hitter is one of the best three hitters on the team, the guy without homerun power. Speed is nice, as this batter will have plenty of chances to run the bases with good hitters behind him.”
- My favorite current baseball chats:
- Klawchat (Keith Law of ESPN insider)
- August Fagerstrom chat (Fangraphs)
- Dave Cameron chat (Fangraphs)
- Jeff Sullivan chat (Fangraphs)
- As we start the 2016 season with a AAA rotation loaded with prospects I want to remind everyone of the past. These were the games started leaders for the 2010 Indianapolis Indians:
- Craig Edwards at Fangraphs did an interesting article in which he determined the highest paid MLB positions. DH and 1B are surprisingly the most paid position until you think about it. 1B and DH are pretty much the oldest players on most teams and have matriculated from other positions and thus have received the most access to free agent contracts. This is why we have a hard time finding a cheap 1B.
- Speaking of 1B, during the 2013-14 offseason James Loney was everyone’s solution to the Bucs’ persistent hole at 1B. Huntington offered him a three year contract but he signed with the Rays for the same money. Since then he’s had a 1.4 and -0.6 WAR seasons and hasn’t been worth the 3/$27M deal he signed.
- Most Pirate fans won’t follow Jim Benedict now that he’s gone, but I will due to one interesting prospect. Three years ago the Marlins had the #2 pick overall and bypassed NC State left-hander Carlos Rodon to draft high school pitcher Tyler Kolek. Kolek has an impressive fastball but is as raw as they come. If Benedict turns Kolek into Gerrit Cole he’ll start hearing the Searage comparsions.
- My favorite current baseball podcasts:
- Carson Cistulli and Dave Cameron (Fangraphs)
- MLB Pipeline Prospects with Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo (MLB.com)
- ESPN Fantasy Baseball podcast with Tristin Cockcroft and Eric Karabell
- Fangraphs fantasy baseball with Eno Sarris and Paul Sporer
- Effectively Wild (Baseball Prospectus)
- Baseball America
- Rinku Singh. Remember that name? He’s the Pirate prospect that won the Million Dollar Arm contest in India and was progressing up the Pirates minor league chain. Well, I hadn’t seen his name in a while, but there have been sightings of him in Bradenton so I wondered what the deal was. Here’s his last four seasons:
- 2012 – 3-1, 3.00 ERA, 72.0 IP with 8.1 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9
- 2013 – shoulder injured, missed whole season
- 2014 – Tommy John, missed whole season
- 2015 – elbow broke in 2014 fall instructs, missed whole season
- Singh does seem to be in the Pirates’ family of being a good person, so let’s hope he has a good 2016.